Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

Ending the Embarrassment

Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

Ending the Embarrassment

Article excerpt

More than 13 million Americans " suffer from the frequently incapacitating medical condition, known as urinary incontinence. Defined as the loss of bladder control, urinary incontinence results in the uncontrolled leakage of urine, often interfering with a productive and active person's lifestyle and overall sense of well-being.

Hundreds of Post readers have written letters, expressing feelings of isolation and embarrassment about the condition. Fortunately, help is available. As celebrities and community leaders publicly share their own experiences with urinary incontinence, people no longer need to suffer the social stigma of shame and secrecy, once associated with the common problem.

There are different types of incontinence, caused by a wide variety of conditions. Some people suffer from more than just one. According to the Bladder Health Council, 15 to 30 percent of people over the age of 60 who live at home experience some form of incontinence with women twice as likely as men to suffer from the condition. People with urge incontinence lose urine as soon as they feel a strong need to go to the bathroom. Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder is allowed to become so full that it simply overflows; people with this type may feel that they never completely empty their bladder.

Urinary tract or vaginal infections, side effects of medications or constipation may cause temporary incontinence. Weakness of certain muscles, an enlarged prostate, stroke, and injury to the bladder or urethra may cause longer-lasting or permanent loss of bladder control. In almost every case, these conditions can be treated.

Today, more than ever before, effective treatments are available for urinary incontinence. Leaking urine is not a normal result of aging. Don't be embarrassed or upset to ask for help.

* Bladder training and pelvic muscle exercises may help improve bladder control. …

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