Women’s health is Bladder health
Women’s health is more than the pink ribbons that surround breast cancer prevention and treatment. Although devastating with 1 in 8 women affected by breast cancer, pelvic floor disorders affect 1 in 3 women. That is why November, Bladder Health Month is a perfect time to respond to your urge to become better educated about how vital bladder health is. Here are a few key facts not everyone knows about the bladder:
- The bladder can hold up to 500ml of urine;
- We control our bladder by contracting and releasing pelvic muscles to control urine flow;
- Nerves signal that your bladder is full in advance, providing time to locate a restroom;
- The bladder begins to signal that it is full when it is only about ¼ full;
- It is considered normal to empty your bladder 8 times a day.
Bladder Health Month is also a perfect time to have a REAL talk about incontinence.
Some form of incontinence impacts 1 in every 3 women worldwide. In the over-50 age bracket, 1 out of every 2 women – HALF – will struggle with this prevalent health issue that people are often hesitant to discuss. That is why there needs to be a focus on Women’s Health. Since pelvic health disproportionately affects women, issues don’t get heard, seen or talked about unless we bring light to it, so that we can get real solutions.
Real Issues with Poor Bladder Health
One major side effect of incontinence? Silence. Many women choose to purchase and wear daily pads and/or pretend it isn’t a problem. Others will try invasive surgeries or internal e-stim products in a quiet attempt to make the problem go away. Still, others will go through costly, time-consuming and uncomfortable physical therapy sessions. All will have moments of embarrassment, shame, and worry:
“Will my light leaks get worse?”
“Do I smell?”
“ How can I enjoy afternoons at the park or vacations poolside with my family?”
As women, we owe it to ourselves to ensure overactive bladder (OAB), urge incontinence (UUI), and stress incontinence (SUI) are no longer our best-kept secrets. We can learn so much by seeking guidance from medical professionals, but we must be our own best advocates and we need to lean on one another. We turn to each other for advice on parenthood, marriage, careers, cooking, home decorating and more. If we can start having open and honest dialogues about the kinds of leaks or urgency we are experiencing, we will feel less isolated and more hopeful.
With that in mind – we should begin by learning a little more about the various types of incontinence and available treatment options.
- Overactive Bladder (OAB): Age can be a contributing factor in this form of incontinence, more common in women. Women with OAB will experience an urge to urinate that can be difficult to control, leading to leaks and often limiting activity.
- Urge Incontinence (UUI): UUI is a strong and sudden need to urinate that one feels cannot be delayed. Women who suffer from UUI will experience leaks because the bladder muscles are contracting at the wrong time.
- Stress Incontinence (SUI): If a woman experiences even minor leaks when coughing, laughing, running, or sneezing, she has SUI. These movements essentially put pressure on the bladder, causing those embarrassing leaks.
Bladder Health Options: What is a woman to do?
OPTION 1: Nothing. So many women say nothing to friends, family, or physicians, and instead opt for avoiding special occasions, wearing pads and hoping. This is obviously not an ideal choice.
OPTION 2: Physical therapy: Pelvic floor physical therapy can be used to relieve the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction and help the muscles work the way they should. It can be useful, but can also be difficult to schedule and can be cost-prohibitive depending on individual insurance plans.
OPTION 3: Surgery: A pelvic floor reconstruction is a major surgical procedure designed to restore strength and integrity to the pelvic floor. This is invasive and expensive, and believe it or not – one of the potential side effects of this surgery is incontinence.
OPTION 4: Internal pelvic floor exercisers: Anything women can do to correctly do their Kegel exercises will be effective in strengthening the pelvic floor. But not all women are comfortable utilizing vaginal devices. In fact, some cultures prohibit the use of internal devices.
OPTION 5: External pelvic floor exerciser: Just as with any other muscle group, it’s important to stay fit so the pelvic floor muscles can do their job: support your pelvic organs (bladder, rectum, vagina). When these muscles are stretched from childbirth or weakened from lack of use as you age, they cannot support the bladder effectively. Kegel exercises should be part of every woman’s routine to maintain a healthy pelvic floor. ELITONE is an easy, effective and external option for women who want to stay toned, strengthened and leak-free.
The first external, wearable, over-the-counter incontinence treatment and the ONLY external incontinence TREATMENT that can be used discreetly while going about your daily activities, ELITONE does your Kegel exercises for you, longer and stronger than you can on your own, all while dressed and doing whatever you need to do. And 95% of women who used ELITONE successfully reduced (or eliminated) urinary leaks and pad use!
We often think of November as a time to give thanks; when we enjoy time spent with treasured family and friends. Let’s also use it as a time to open up – to talk to one another – to share our personal experiences and learn from those of others. Bladder health need not be a taboo subject and incontinence need not be a forever struggle.
“Elitone does exactly what it says and more. I went from wearing a pad everyday to not wearing one at all in 7 weeks! I am thrilled and so happy with the results I am speechless. It is worth the investment , easy to use and a life saver.” – Lori