Is Urinary Incontinence a Normal Part of Aging?

dreamstime_s_49436335We’re accustomed to hearing that as we grow older our bodies will change, with new symptoms to match these changes. More often than not, the changes associated with aging are common, even expected.

In a way, this is fortunate, as it means that even with unpleasant symptoms there are likely effective treatment options available and your quality of life won’t suffer. However, one symptom is difficult for patients to discuss and some even find embarrassing to admit: urinary incontinence.

Do all women have urinary incontinence after menopause?

Now, it’s important to note that not every person will experience urinary incontinence just because they are aging, but it is very common. Up to 95 percent of women will experience some loss of bladder control during their lifetime, most frequently after childbirth or during and after menopause. For older women, however, weaker pelvic muscles are a normal part of aging.

Just because something is a part of growing older doesn’t mean you need to live with it. So many of us simply accept that we have incontinence because we have reached an age where everyone we know seems to have it as well. Women will buy bladder support products and change their normal daily routines in order to accommodate for incontinence instead of seeking treatment. Imagine canceling events you were looking forward to or avoiding important responsibilities because you fear not making it to a bathroom in time or what will happen if you start to leak without a change of clothing. It’s a reality for many women who suffer with incontinence.

I have urinary incontinence. What can I do?

Please remember that urinary incontinence is a real medical condition, not a casual nuisance. It can be treated through a few different methods, starting with a non-invasive approach like lifestyle changes and exercises to the more advanced physical therapies, medication, pessaries, nerve stimulation or possibly surgery. Depending on your individual diagnosis, your doctor may begin treatment with a non-invasive approach and gradually build to a more advanced method if symptoms do not subside.

We encourage women who believe that are experiencing urinary incontinence to contact Dr. Wittenberg of UGCSF today in order to discuss symptoms and plan a consultation.