Updated: Dec 2, 2021
November is Bladder Health Month! (Yes, there is a month for our bladder :) The Urology Care Foundation is highlighting different bladder conditions each week. What’s up for this week? Incontinence, specifically Stress Incontinence, Urge Incontinence and Overactive Bladder Syndrome.
What is Incontinence?
These terms can be a bit confusing, so first let's break it down: Incontinence simply refers to any involuntary loss of urine. The two most common types are stress incontinence and urge incontinence:
Stress incontinence is leakage that occurs with activity, such as coughing, sneezing, lifting, standing up from a chair or exercising
Urge incontinence is leakage that occurs when you can't make it to the bathroom in time
Mixed incontinence is if you leak in both these types of situations (quite common)
So what the heck is Overactive Bladder Syndrome? This is actually closely related to urge incontinence, and it includes bladder symptoms such as:
having to go to the bathroom frequently (more than 6-8 times in a 24 hour period)
having to rush to get to the bathroom in time
having an overly strong urge sensation when you have to go
waking up at night more than once to void
If you have these symptoms but do NOT leak, it is called overactive bladder syndrome. If you have these symptoms and DO leak, it is called urge incontinence.
Why is it so important to know what type of incontinence you have?
Simply put, if you don't know what is causing your leakage, how can you treat it? The exercises and strategies to treat stress and urge incontinence/overactive bladder syndrome can differ dramatically, so before you jump in and start doing 1000's of kegels willy-nilly, stop and figure out what is causing your leakage.
If you need guidance, take this short quiz; you will learn what may be behind your leakage, as well as some tips to try right now to help get you started on your path to better bladder control.
Remember, research shows that pelvic physical therapy is an effective first-line treatment for stress incontinence and urge incontinence/overactive bladder syndrome, so if leakage is a problem for you, this is a great place to start.
Did you know:
More than 25 million people in the United States experience bladder leakage every day. Learn more: http://bit.ly/2P0TiLR
The severity of urinary incontinence ranges from the occasional leaking of urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge or that "gotta go" feeling that's so sudden and strong, you may not make it to the bathroom in time. Learn more: http://bit.ly/2P0TiLR
Stress incontinence impacts 1 in 3 women under the age of 60 and 1 in 2 of all women age 65 and above. Learn more: http://bit.ly/2Et4ahs
Women are more likely to get stress incontinence than men. Learn more about stress incontinence: http://bit.ly/2Et4ahs
OveractiveBladder (OAB) affects +33M US adults. Don't allow symptoms to limit you! Learn more: http://bit.ly/2ymkQBw
OAB isn't a disease - it's the name given to a group of troubling urinary symptoms. Get the facts: http://bit.ly/2ymkQBw
Source: The Urology Care Foundation
Many specialists are equipped to assist you with any bladder problems you may be experiencing, including your primary care physician, OB-GYN, urogynecologist, urologist, or you can schedule a virtual appointment with me for guidance.
Take action today to tackle your bladder problems
Happy Bladder Health Month!
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About the Author:
Angela is the owner of My Pelvic Therapy, PLLC and a licensed physical therapist. Prior to starting her telehealth private practice, she worked as a senior physical therapist for 17 years at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL, specializing in helping both women and men overcome their pelvic floor challenges. She received her physical therapy degree from Duke University, biology degree from University of Illinois, and is a lifelong learner of all things PT.