Urinary incontinence can be such a secretive topic. Well, I have a secret that I’ve never told anyone. Logically, I thought the best way to share this would be the interwebs so complete strangers on the other side of the world can know my deepest, darkest. Or better yet, my neighbors (hi Monica, Holly, Courtney and all of you lovelies!). Or maybe even my kids’ teachers (sorry, girls).
So let’s get to it!
I remember wetting my bed when I was five. When I was seven, I had a full-on bladder fail and I completely wet my clothes trying to sit on the toilet fast enough. At a public restroom. To make matters worse, we had a 45-minute drive home AND my older brother’s friend was in the car with us. I was m-o-r-t-i-f-i-e-d.
Fast forward 30 years (oh my gosh, that’s real) and I am now a pelvic floor therapist.
I just realized there might be a connection between my childhood and what I do for a living. Wow.
Anyhoo, I digress! My point is to tell you that bladder leakage happens! There is no shame in being human. Humans have a pelvis and a bladder. Sometimes they form a coup and try to overthrow your life.
It is a myth that urinary leakage is rare (myth #1). Up to 50% of women over the age of 50 will have this experience.
Wanna know some other myths?
Myth #2: Bladder leakage only happens during or after pregnancy
Nope! It is true that the stress placed on the pelvic floor during pregnancy and birth can certainly be the culprit for bladder leaks; however, athletes of any age, male or female, can also experience bladder leakage due to tension in the pelvic floor.
Myth #3: If you have urinary leakage, you have to live with it or have surgery
Um, no thank you! There are exercises you can do to both increase strength and decrease tension in the pelvic floor. With developments in technology, you can also increase vaginal collagen, which will improve the health of the tissue and mitigate symptoms of incontinence as well as hormonal changes.
Myth #4: If it were really a problem, my doctor would have told me
Your doctor is amazing and a wealth of knowledge. The truth, though, is that not even your doctor knows there are things that can be done for urinary incontinence, other than medication or surgery. It just isn’t taught in medical school.
Myth #5: I don’t have incontinence if I just have a drip every once in awhile
Weeeelllllll…I truly am sorry to bust this myth. It is two-fold 1.) even a dribble is “incontinence” and, 2.) it will get worse (again, so sorry). But I have good news!! The sooner you catch the issue, the easier it is to treat! And it can be treated!!
Bonus Myth: Kegels don’t work
This is a tricky one. This myth is false, but can be true. Kegels only work if they are being completed correctly and often. It isn’t your fault, by any means, if you aren’t doing pelvic floor exercises correctly. You simply haven’t been shown how to do them the right way. Hint: you aren’t actually squeezing your vagina with all your might, until your face turns red and you forget to breathe…it is actually a very subtle squeeze, like you don’t want to pass gas. Check out our blog about this topic.
Lemme know if you have any questions. I know these myths are ingrained and might take some time to digest. If you would like to chat and process this mental overload, just fill in the quick form below.