Debunking Myths About Incontinence
- Incontinence is not a disease after all, but simply a "natural"
consequence of aging. False. While incontinence
or bladder leakage is not a "disease" per se, it certainly is not natural
or normal. Incontinence can be a result of another disease, or an intrinsic
problem related to the bladder itself or the nervous system. You owe it to
yourself to see your doctor if you have any urinary leakage at all.
- Incontinence isn't serious enough for me to worry about.
False. Incontinence is potentially serious because it indicates
that the bladder, its supporting structures, or related organ systems are
not functioning properly. People with incontinence also have a higher incidence
of bladder infections and depression. In addition, people with incontinence
generally report a gradual change in their activities of daily living as a
result of the unpredictable, inconvenient, and embarrassing nature of incontinence.
It can interfere with just about everything from sleeping to intimate relations
to sports and dancing, and even laughing.
- I'm healthy and I take good care of myself. I can't be at risk.
incontinence often affects men and women with no particular risk factors and
with no particular symptoms. In addition, many people with incontinence
do have risk factors that they are not aware of.
- I'm too young to worry about incontinence now.
False. You may be too young to worry, but you're not to young to develop
bladder problems. One out of three women with stress urinary incontinence
develop symptoms before the age of 35!
- I do my Kegel exercises religiously. That will prevent
bladder problems. False. While Kegel exercises may be effective
in preventing stress urinary incontinence in some women, they do not prevent
SUI in all women and they don't have any benefit for urge incontinence or
- I'm too old to do anything about incontinence. False.
Just as you're never too young to start incontinence therapy, you're never
too old to take action to keep it from getting worse. It's never too
late to improve lifestyle habits and it's never too late to begin treatment
with one of the several medications available.
- Why bother making a diagnosis? There is no satisfactory treatment
and no hope for a cure. False. Several medicines are now available
to treat incontinence. FDA-approved medications include:
In addition, we know that the urinary tract of menopausal women benefits from
estrogen replacement therapy. While this is not a treatment for incontinence,
it may help as part of a total management strategy. Lifestyle changes such
as eliminating bladder irritants such as smoking and drinking caffeine are also
Many patients with stress incontinence also
benefit from treatment devices or minimally invasive surgical approaches.
- Only "old ladies" get incontinence. False. While
most patients with incontinence are postmenopausal women, incontinence can
affect both men and women, at any age. One third of women with stress urinary
incontinence begin having symptoms by the age of 35.
- Incontinence doesn't kill anyone. True. However,
an incontinence patient once wisely observed that while incontinence doesn't
kill you, it can "take your life."
For more information about depression or other mental health issues, click
Created: 8/5/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
All the content contained herein is copyrighted pursuant to federal law. Duplication or use without
the express written permission of DrDonnica.com subjects the violator to both civil & criminal penalties.
Copyright © 2006 DrDonnica.com. All rights reserved.
| Today on DrDonnica.com
| Meet Dr. Donnica
| TV Appearances
| Clinical Trials
Diseases & Conditions
| Celebrity Speak Out
| Guest Experts
| Women's Health Champions
| Women’s Health Resources
| Books & Tapes
| Site Certification
| Advanced Search
| What’s New?
| Press Room
| Contact Us