It can happen with an unexpected sneeze, laughing too hard, or strenuous exercise. It is estimated that over 10% of women between ages 19 and 30 experience urinary incontinence. This unintentional leakage comes in two categories: urge incontinence where you bladder empties itself before you reach the toilet and stress incontinence which are those small leaks. Of that 10% about 40% experience both types.
Why do I wet myself?
- Weak pelvic muscles – Even if you have strong abdominal pressure, the urethra should close tight enough to prevent leaks. However, if the musculature is not strong enough, it won't completely close. This could be from childbirth, age, or just the genetic makeup. To improve the issue you can strengthen your muscles by doing exercises like Kegels. Don't underestimate this relatively simple exercise plan. Just be sure to contract the pelvic floor muscles rather than buttocks or abdominals. If you are performing it correctly, you should feel the vagina pull up inside. This is something you can do at various times of the day and no one will notice. At home, take a cue from tv ads or other regular interruptions. Do them at least four times daily.
- Low Bladder Capacity – Those who are dealing with incontinence find that the bladder just doesn't wait and will release without your effort. There are medications that can help. Kegels are also a good thing to try.
- Weight – Every five unit increase in BMI increases the chance of urinary incontinence by 20% to 70%. It is probably because the excess weight puts pressure on the bladder or the weight stretches the pelvic floor muscles. A study found that women who successfully lost weight decreased stress incontinence by 65% after one year.
- Diet – There are certain foods that seem to trigger bladder habits and those include carbonated beverages, caffeine (including chocolate...I know), and citrus. Reducing these element can help. You may also restrict your liquid intake at least two or three hours before heading to bed.
Causes can be attributed to a number of factors:
- Number of pregnancies
- Being overweight
- Hormone levels
- Other medical conditions
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
For women who have been pregnant, the pelvic muscles are probably weakened or stretched. Menopausal women have a decrease in estrogen which makes many tissues less elastic, including the bladder and urethra. It can affect women of any age and in younger women and even girls, it can be from dietary irritants or simply weak muscles.
For persistent urinary incontinence, you should visit your medical professional who can perform a physical and neurologic exam. You may wish to keep a journal of fluid intake, urination patterns, and leaks, which can help with diagnosing your condition. After a urinalysis to check for infections, you may also be scheduled for a urodynamic study to measure bladder pressure and function, or for an ultrasound.
In the meantime, waterproof absorbent undergarments like ONDR can help.