In the US alone, nearly 50% of women who are older than 50 years of age admit to having problems with incontinence. According to a new poll, these incontinence problems can range from minor irritations to significant inconveniences. However, while so many women deal with this persistent issue, most of them are too embarrassed to tell their doctor. Approximately two-thirds of women with incontinence fail to discuss their problem with a doctor while only 38% of women claim to do the daily exercises to strengthen their bladder muscles. Instead of seeking the help of a professional, women are discreetly leaning on other strategies to manage their urinary incontinence.
November 2018 Report
In the November 2018 Report: Urinary Incontinence: An Inevitable Part of Aging? from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, over 1,000 women between the ages of 50 and 80 took part in the poll. Of those women, 43% of the women in their early 50s and 60s claimed to experience bouts of incontinence while 51% of women 65 and older experienced the same. However, instead of confiding in their doctors, the polls show that these women used other strategies to manage their urinary incontinence. Here are the results:
59% use protective pads/undergarments
38% do pelvic floor exercises
16% limit their fluid intake
15% modify their wardrobe to hide accidents
Due to these results, the National Poll on Healthy Aging believes that more doctors and physicians should be asking their female patients about incontinence issues routinely. Additionally, of the women who claimed to experience issues with urinary incontinence, 41% described it as either a major or small problem. One-third of those with leakage experienced about an episode a day.
Triggers and Exercises
In the November 2018 report, researchers also looked at the triggers of urinary incontinence within women. They found that the most common triggers were usually coughing or sneezing. In fact, 79% experienced these triggers. However, approximately 49% of women claimed that their trigger was laughing, while 37% claimed that exercised triggered leaks. To help soothe the symptoms of incontinence and strengthen bladder muscles, doctors and physicians highly recommend completing kegel exercises. However, only 38% of women actually do them. If done consistently, kegels can truly be an effective form of physical therapy for incontinence.
While there are many treatment options available to help reduce the frequency of incontinence, it’s highly necessary for women–of all ages–to take the necessary steps and open up about their problems with incontinence.