It is a taboo subject, even in 2016. We rarely talk about this… or never, actually! However, urinary incontinence is a condition estimated to affect 3.3 million Canadians. That’s a lot of people! I believe it is time that things change, and that we should shed light on this pretty common condition. To get a better understanding of the situaton, we have asked Dr. Jaques Corcos, urology professor at McGill University, director of two urology units in Montreal and spokesperson for Poise®, a few questions.
Do urinary incontinence all have the same cause or can they happen differently for everyone?
You first have to distinguish moderate bladder leakage (triggered by sneezing, coughing, exercising) from emergency leakage. These are usually linked to weak muscles in the pelvic and sphincter area (a thick muscle that controls the leakage of urine) that can be caused by aging, menopause or following birth giving. Emergency urinary leakage are usually characterized by the bladder’s hyperactivity that creates abundant leakage followed or accompanied by a pressing need to go to the bathroom, and can empty up to the entire bladder. Leakage can also be linked to the fact that the bladder cannot empty itself normally and has to “reject” the extra liquid. In certain rare cases, secondary leakage comes from a fissure between the bladder and the vagina (called the vesicovaginal fistula), that can be the result of a surgery or a traumatic birth giving experience.
Are there any nutritional habits that one should adopt for a better bladder control?
Restrictions are minimal, but it is important to keep certain things in mind. It is obvious that drinking abundantly will increase the volume and the frequency of the leakages. However, you should still stay hydrated and drink a healthy amount of water! There are people with the condition who think that drinking less will help their issue, but it is actually the opposite! Regularizing your system is essential. Adopt healthy habits (like usual!) and avoid alcohol, spices and acid foods or foods with too much fat, because they may irritate the bladder.
Are there any exercises that can “tone” the bladder?
It is possible to tone the sphincter muscles of the bladder and the pelvic floor’s muscles by doing physiotherapy exercises, specifically by trying out the biofeedback method, a perineal technique that aims to fight against urinary incontinence. It is also possible to exercise the bladder by progressively trying to hold in more and more urine by holding the buttocks together tightly, and doing it longer gradually. Kegel exercises, a sort of pelvic gymnastic, can also be very helpful!
What tips can you give on making sexual intimacy easier while dealing with urinary incontinence?
Incontinence can have a huge impact on someone’s physical, psychological and relational well being. Therefore, it can easily impact sexual intimacy. First of all, it is important to voice the situation to the partner, so you can deal with the problem together. Communication is key! Always remember to urinate before movements involving penetration. Have fun exploring different positions in order to find the ones you are more comfortable with.
How can we make dealing with urinary leakages easier on a day to day basis?
Urinary incontinence can make simple daily tasks stressful. Always having to check up on our behinds during a workout to make sure that nothing happened? Having to hold in our laughter when we are out with our friends? Not fun! Some women have to deal with this issue, and an online survey by Poise® showed that 71% of Canadian women between the ages of 18 and 44 say they suffer from light urinary incontinence, and have leakages at least once a week. Thankfully, there is help and simple solutions; the Impressa bladder supports by Poise®, a vaginal product sold on the market. Unlike pads or underwear that absord leakages, these supports help prevent them. They are used like a tampon and put pressure on the urethra, which blocks the leaking.
(The trial pouch is sold at certain retailers for $9.99)
(The one size pouches are sold for $16.99)
For emergency urinary incontinence issues, radical solutions are surgery that aim to support the urethra or the bladder. More common interventions for this condition include using natural or synthetic webbing that support and compress the urethra, and the colosuspension technique which uses the vaginal wall to support the urethra and the bladder neck.
It is by being open and honest about this feminine condition that we can make a change. And that starts now!
For more information concerning urinary incontinence, as well as information on other Poise® products, visit poise.com.
*This content was made possible thanks to Poise®.