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5 Common Myths about Incontinence

Robin Howe, BSN RN ,  www.ContinenceConnection.com

So many people really believe that incontinence is an inevitable fact of life; that nothing can be done about it. This is simply not true. Here are five of the most common misconceptions about living with incontinence and the truths that will help you strategize an effective management plan to help you live a freer, higher quality of life.

Incontinence is an inevitable part of aging.

While incontinence is more common in older people, getting old will not cause a leaky bladder. Both men and women of all ages can experience incontinence. In women, childbirth, pelvic floor muscle damage, disease or a drop in estrogen during menopause are the usual causes, not the aging process. In men, prostate problems can trigger bladder leakage. Obesity, diabetes, heavy lifting, chronic coughing or side effects from certain medications can all cause incontinence.

I stay healthy and active. It can’t happen to me.

Being fit and in good health is a plus, but unfortunately no guarantee that you won’t be affected by bladder leakage. Have you ever had a bladder infection, complicated pregnancy or delivery, pelvic surgery, diabetes? Are you a smoker, caffeine lover, or overweight by 20 lbs. or more? Do you take drugs to fight fluid retention, high blood pressure, depression or insomnia? Despite living a healthy, active life, if just one of these factors pertains to you, you at higher than average risk for bladder leakage problems. Two or more, and your risk climbs even higher.

Incontinence is an incurable disease.

For starters, incontinence is not a disease; it’s a symptom of some other problem. Studies have shown that incontinence can be cured in 50% of all cases, improved in 30% of cases, and can always be managed.

Everyone will be able to figure out that I’m incontinent.

From a protection standpoint, products on the market today are sophisticated and designed to be super- absorbent and odor controlling. Disposables and washables come in a variety of sizes, shapes and absorption levels. There are many great products on the market that will help you feel confident and capable of being discreet about your condition.

From a treatment perspective, your symptoms should not be a constant source of concern or embarrassment. If so, talk to you healthcare provider to discuss treatment options such as medication that will help ease symptoms while seeking appropriate therapy to stop your incontinence.

Surgery is the only option for dealing with incontinence.

False. Today, there are many effective, non-invasive treatment choices that will cure or significantly decrease most common types of incontinence. Pelvic Floor Muscle Rehabilitation involves a combination of core strengthening exercises, dietary modification, and sometimes the use of vaginal weights and bladder re-training. Pelvic floor biofeedback is an amazing, non-invasive therapy that will help you identify, and completely isolate, the correct pelvic floor muscles that will enhance strength, tone and continence.


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