Women over 50 often have leaky bladders, rarely seek help
Nearly half of the women over age 50 in the US report bladder leakage and many say it’s a major problem, show the data of a new U.S. National Poll on Healthy Aging report.
More than 1000 women ages 50 to 80 participated in the survey, Reuters reports.
- 43 percent of 50 - to 64-year-olds said they suffered from incontinence
- 51 percent of those 65 and older complained they had the same problem
- Two-thirds of the women who experience leakage haven’t spoken to a doctor about the problem
- And just 38 percent say they’ve been doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles that can help hold urine in.
Most common triggers
Many women simply rely on coping strategies like using pads, wearing special underwear, limiting fluid consumption and wearing dark clothing to disguise signs of leakage.
The most common triggers for leakage were coughing and sneezing - reported by 79 percent, and not having enough time to reach the bathroom - experienced by 64 percent. Those symptoms are signs of two different types of incontinence, explained said Dr. Carolyn Swenson of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor:
Women with stress incontinence have leakage when they are laughing, coughing, sneezing or exercising
The other type - urge incontinence, is a bladder issue - when you’re on your way to the bathroom but can’t make it.
The important thing to realize, Swenson said, is that both types of incontinence can be treated.
We have so many options now that while I would hesitate to say we can get everybody 100 percent dry, we can definitely help improve symptoms for all women with urinary incontinence,” she added.