5 Misunderstood Myths about Urinary Incontinence
The word “incontinence” can spark fear in even the bravest people, conjuring up all kinds of images from soaked pants to adult diapers. Because many people are embarrassed to speak with their clinicians about bladder leaks, there’s a lot of misinformation about incontinence, including these popular myths.
1. Incontinence is an unavoidable part of aging.
Age does not directly cause incontinence. 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.
2. Only women suffer from incontinence.
Although women are more prone to incontinence because of childbirth, about 11% of men report having urinary incontinence. Of this group, there is a higher rate of urge urinary incontinence because of prostate surgery. UUI is when there’s a frequent urge to urinate, followed by an accident before the patient can reach a toilet. Causes include infection, damage from surgery, or more complicated disorders.
3. Medication can fix incontinence.
There is no available medication that is approved by the FDA to treat SUI. Some drugs can relax the bladder muscles to help with overactive bladders, but these cannot strengthen a weakened pelvic floor.
4. Surgery is the only cure for incontinence.
Pelvic mesh surgery has been controversial and is a last resort for severe incontinence. Your doctor can suggest many conservative options that are proven to help with bladder leaks. In addition to Kegel exercises, some of these treatments include Kegel weights, trainers, and noninvasive exercisers, such as ELITONE.
5. Incontinence is irreversible.
When you start noticing leaks, you may think this is the beginning of the inevitable end! But SUI can be reversible, and the earlier you address the problem, the better. As with any muscle, your pelvic muscles lose their shape and strength without proper exercise. So talk to your doctor about how to tone your pelvic floor, as well as eliminating risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, and chronic coughing.