Urinary incontinence is not an inevitable or normal part of aging. Women are more likely to experience urinary incontinence. The problems that can occur are: Skin breakdown, embarrassment, frustration, depression, and loss of self-esteem. These secondary problems of urinary incontinence can lead to social isolation, and loss of independence.
Urinary incontinence can be successfully treated.
Be honest with your private physician. Don”t hide your problem from embarrassment and continue using peripads after menopause. Take note of how long you have been experiencing the problem and let your doctor know this fact. There can be many different causes of urinary incontinence. The most common type is “stress incontinence.” Stress incontinence occurs when small amounts of urine leak from an increase in intra-abdominal pressure. This is more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies. This might happen while coughing, laughing, sneezing and exercising. Let your doctor know if your urinary incontinence occurs during these times. It could be “stress incontinence.” You might write down the times it occurs. Keeping a journal of your symptoms and times they occur is a great resource to refer to while talking to your doctor.
You can strengthen the muscles that control urine flow by doing pelvic floor muscle exercises called Kegal exercises. Kegal exercises can be done by women and men. One way is to tighten the pubococcygeal muscle (ask your doctor how to locate this muscle). Count slowly to three, then relax. Repeat the exericse 10 times for a set, 5 times per day and gradually increase to sets of 15 to 20 done 5 times per day. Your abdominal muscles should not move if you are doing the exercise correctly.
Biofeedback therapy may also help. If these conservative therapies do not work, your doctor may prescribe an alpha-adrenergic agonist such as pseudoephedrine or a tricyclic antidepressant like imipramine might be prescribed.
Whatever the cause of your urinary incontinence problems, if you will keep a journal of your symptoms and times the problems occur, it will be much more helpful to your doctor in diagnosing your problem and prescribing an appropriate treatment.
Remember….urinary incontinence can be successfully treated and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. You just need to be honest with your doctor with your descriptions of the problem so he/she can prescribe an appropriate treatment for you. Urinary incontinence is not a normal and/or inevitable part of aging. Don”t isolate yourself and let yourself become frustrated and depressed over it. Seek help openly with your private physician, and continue to enjoy time with your shih tzu and continue those long, soulful walks without the worry of urinary incontinence.