Debunking the Myths Surrounding Urinary Incontinence in Women
Ever heard the saying “I laugh so hard that tears roll down my legs”? I hear from a lot of women that they could never jump on a trampoline or keep their legs uncrossed when they laugh, or they always need to know where a bathroom is because they are worried about urinary leakage. It is estimated that one in every four women in Canada experience some form of urinary incontinence, whether that’s leakage with stress (increased pressure on the pelvic floor), or leakage with urgency. Even though many women experience incontinence over their lifetimes, the topic of incontinence isn’t discussed often, so there seem to be many myths out there surrounding the problem.
Here are just a few myths that I have heard:
“Leakage is normal after pregnancy”- NOT true! Common does not equal normal. It is common to experience incontinence after childbirth, due to the pressure the baby puts on the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue. Urinary leakage is a result of pelvic floor dysfunction, and can be treated!
“Only old women have that”- NOT true! In Canada, nearly a million women under the age of 40 are incontinent. Many women who have had children experience incontinence after childbirth. As you age, your tissues do get weaker (due to hormonal changes associated with menopause) and therefore the prevalence of urinary incontinence does increase with age.
“Drinking less water will help prevent leaks”- NOT true! Drinking fewer fluids throughout the day will not help with your bladder control. With less water intake, urine becomes more concentrated. This concentrated urine actually irritates the bladder lining, making you need to take more frequent trips to the bathroom.
“Things will get better over time”- NOT true! Most women report that their symptoms get worse over time if they do not seek treatment. Generally, symptoms will not improve unless appropriate action is taken.
“There’s nothing you can do about it”- NOT true! Pelvic floor physiotherapy can help improve symptoms and get you back in control. Pelvic muscle training helps ~80% of women experiencing stress incontinence. You can also train your pelvic floor to help reduce urgency and frequency of urination.Experiencing incontinence and want to do something about it? Call the clinic today to book your appointment today!