Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I love what it stands for, and I love the traditions. I love the warm weather, the cook-outs, and the family gatherings. And I LOVE the fireworks! Unfortunately, many people have probably experienced sudden and unexpected loss of urine with a very startling loud noise such as fireworks, or even when being tickled as a child. However, for millions of people that involuntary urine loss happens far more often. If you leak when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or exercise, you may have stress urinary incontinence (SUI), the most common type of incontinence. SUI is more common in women, but men can experience it, especially after prostate surgery. Some contributing factors to SUI in women include pregnancy, menopause, smoking, and obesity.
A few years ago I participated in a press conference with Olympic speed skater Bonnie Blair to promote Stress Urinary Incontinence Awareness Week. Bonnie Blair talked about the stress incontinence she experienced following the birth of her child. Many people wouldn’t think a young, healthy, fit woman like Bonnie Blair could experience incontinence. Yet, Bonnie found herself soaking her shorts within the first few blocks when going for a run about two months after giving birth. She was a delight to work with, and her story was really inspiring to so many young women. I really admire Bonnie for her willingness to talk so openly about such a private matter.
Hopefully Bonnie Blair’s story has reached some people. Statistics show us that nearly one quarter of women with urinary incontinence haven’t spoken about it with their healthcare professional, and yet about 80 percent of people affected by UI can be helped with some kind of treatment options. Treatment options for SUI include:
- Kegels, or Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Electrical Stimulation
- Various Types of Surgeries
- Injectable Bulking Materials
So I challenge you, this Fourth of July, to make it your own personal Independence Day! Does it seem as if your incontinence has taken charge of your life? If Bonnie Blair can go on television and speak so openly and matter-of-fact about her leaky bladder, chances are that you can manage to take back some control as well by seeing your doctor, buying some absorbent products, talking to your family or doing whatever YOU need to do to regain your independence. Happy Independence Day- enjoy those fireworks!
Published On: June 28, 2006