Twenty-five million Americans suffer from bladder control problems. Are you one of them? If so, why not make a New Year’s resolution to take control! Over the years you may have heard many myths about incontinence. Well, now it’s time you heard the cold hard facts and to take action. Here are the top 10:
1. I don’t know anyone who is incontinent.
Fact: One in four women between the ages of 30 and 59 and one-third over the age of 65 experience incontinence.
2. Nothing can be done to prevent incontinence.
Fact: The U.S. Public Health Service estimates that effective prevention programs using behavior techniques and pelvic muscle exercises would reduce incontinence in women by 50,000 a year.
3. If I become incontinent, it’s OK to wait and hope it will go away by itself.
Fact: It’s best to treat the problem immediately. The longer someone waits, the weaker the pelvic muscles become and the more difficult it is to cure.
4. Men don’t have to worry about incontinence.
Fact: Of the 500,000 men who have prostate surgery each year, an estimated one in three will become incontinent.
5. Treating incontinence is never simple or easy.
Fact: Incontinence can be treated easily when treatment begins early.
6. Drinking less water will alleviate the problem.
Fact: Fluids help the urinary system function more efficiently. Older adults are more susceptible to dehydration and urinary tract infections and should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
7. Active young women are less likely to become incontinent.
Fact: High-impact physical activity, such as aerobics or tennis, is a risk factor for stress incontinence. One study found that 28 percent of women ages 18 to 21 that exercised regularly, experienced at least one episode of urine leakage.
8. Most health care professionals know how to identify and treat incontinence.
Fact: In a survey sent to 50,000 incontinence sufferers, more than 50 percent indicated that visiting their physician was of no help at all. Few physicians are knowledgeable about urinary incontinence and many do not ask the question during the visit. Patients are uncomfortable to bring the subject up on their own.
9. Kegel exercises are difficult and they don’t work.
Fact: When an experienced physical therapist uses biofeedback (interactive visual training techniques) to help someone feel the difference between the abdominal and pelvic muscles, the exercises become easier to do and the success rate tops 85 percent.
10. The worse part of being incontinent is having to wear pads or diapers.
Fact: What’s worse is how incontinence controls every aspect of your life and takes away your freedom to enjoy its simple pleasures.
Talk to your physician about your incontinence and take control in 2015!