Did you know that one of the major predictors of admittance to a nursing home vs. aging in home for the elderly is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence, or loss of control and leaking of pee, can have profoundly limiting effects on the lives of both men and women later in life. It is linked with falls, skin breakdown, and an increased burden of care both physically and financially.
Most people if asked would prefer to avoid this situation, and while there are neurologically and degenerative conditions in which incontinence is inevitable, this can be a very treatable and preventable outcome.
But, when talking with younger women, many quickly accept a small amount of leaking to creep into their lives without too much thought or worry.
For many it starts after having children, or in their mid-life. They may at first just notice a tiny bit with laughing, coughing, or sneezing. Maybe they stop jumping on a trampoline or jumping rope.
They might start wearing a thin pantiliner just in case there's a little leak to keep their panties clean. Then it's a pad a day. Then 2... Then they're consistently taking a change of underwear and a plastic bag when they go out in case of a real accident.
Over many years, a problem that seemed minor and insignificant has become a major inhibitor to their lifestyle, comfort, and confidence.
This is why seeking help with these areas early on can be so beneficial.
There are many parts of life and the aging process that seem normal because they happen to a lot of people, but that doesn't mean we have to accept all of them. This is an area of health that we can often have and deserve much better outcomes.
Another barrier to seeking help with early urine leaking, is often embarrassment in sharing this issue with doctors or a lack of awareness that there is help available or that specialized physical therapists can assist with this.
I see many products for urine leakage being marketed to younger and younger women. Often with images of svelt 40-50 something athletic accomplished women wearing a slightly slimmer, cuter of an adult diaper. It seems that the manufacturers are suggesting that needing a product like this at a relatively young age is perfectly normal and acceptable.
What women really need are real solutions to the problem of urinary leakage, not a band-aid approach that leads to acceptance and helplessness later in life.
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