Leaky Plumbing? Call Your Doctor
"I have leaky plumbing," she finally confessed to her best friend.
"Have you called the plumber?" her friend asked.
"It's not that kind," she whispered, mortified.
Worry about staying independent at home, fear of having an accident while out in public, embarrassment about possible odors, concern about underlying health problems... No wonder incontinence is an underreported problem.
"One of the worst outcomes of incontinence is that people become housebound, afraid to go out and enjoy their regular pleasures, such as shopping or dining," says Denise Kramer-Levien, CURN, of the Urology Clinic of Southwest Washington. "But there comes a point when you must put aside embarrassment to take care of your health and regain your independence."
When diagnosing the cause, your doctor may ask questions about when and how often you experience involuntary bladder control. A physical exam may include your abdomen, rectum, genitals, pelvis, and general neurological status. Lab results of your urinalysis also may help provide answers.
"Your doctor may recommend Kegel exercises, localized estrogen and other medications, or surgery," Kramer-Levien continues. "Your diet, absorbent products, and skin care for these tender areas also can make a huge difference in how you feel."
"Don't give up or accept your bladder problems," Kramer-Levien concludes. "Incontinence is treatable. Call your doctor as the first step in regaining your confidence, your health, and your lifestyle."
Published Winter/Spring 2007, Southwest Woman