There are few things more embarrassing - or, truth be told, more common - than piddling in your pants. Internet pictures of celebrities prove that sometimes, a gal just has to go with the flow.
But despite the fact that it's a reported problem for 7 percent of women ages 20-39, 17 percent of women ages 40-59, 23 percent who are 60-69, and 32 percent of those over age 80 (and probably afflicts many more), no one likes to talk about it, even to a doctor. That's unfortunate.
Keeping quiet can hurt your social and love lives and keep you from exercising. But at least 80 percent of the time, opening up about it lets you resolve or at least improve the situation.
(BTW, guys: 3 percent to 11 percent of young and middle-age men and 15 percent of men 80 or older have to deal with it, so listen up.)
Whether you have stress incontinence and leak when you strain, cough, or laugh, or urge incontinence and often feel a sudden need to urinate, there are remedies. Talk to your doctor about medications, devices, and procedures.
And in the meantime, here's what you can do to ease your discomfort:
- Kegel away! Contract your pelvic (and in women, vaginal) muscles used to stop the flow of urine; don't move your butt or belly. Hold for three seconds; release for three; repeat 10-15 times, three or more times a day, every day.
- Ask your doc about biofeedback. It's effective in gaining control over muscles in your bladder and your urethra.
- Drink plenty of water; dehydration makes things worse. Really!