Real Talk Episode 1: How common is incontinence?

One in three women have incontinence… so why does it happen? Join Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz as she discusses the different types of incontinence and what causes them in episode one of Real Talk.

Transcript of Real Talk Episode 1
One in three women have incontinence, and nearly half of us will experience it at some point episodically during our lives. So what are the reasons?

I mean, everybody has been to a sleepover party where they laugh so hard that they lost urine and if you haven't, I'll invite you over. But the big times in life developmentally that this happens are during pregnancy, I mean, I have almost no patients who are pregnant who don't lose some urine involuntarily during the pregnancy.

For most women that will resolve after the pregnancy but not for all. And that can be a very big time because the pelvic floor, this is like my favorite, I love to show this, the pelvic floor, which is a sling of muscles, it's a network of muscles that runs all the way across the bottom. That support system gets a little bit damaged, it gets weakened, it gets worked. And if we are not aware of those muscles and how to work those muscles and strengthen them, the pregnancy itself is putting pressure and changes the way the relationship of the muscles, the urethra, and the bladder coexist.

The next time where we really see a big bump, a big increase in urinary incontinence, is during menopause.

And as we age, for similar reasons, the muscles are changing, our strength is changing, perhaps our posture, our gate is changing.

And these represent big times in women's lives where they start to have more involuntary loss of urine and it can be very distressing, embarrassing, people are ashamed, and it can be really, really disruptive.

The other thing we know is that as our weight increases, our risk of having urinary incontinence increases as well and that's for a similar physiologic reason. We're putting more pressure on those muscles most likely.

 So these are things that affect almost all women at some point. How can we have something so common and so shied away from? I mean, we’ve got to shed some light on this.