Female Bladder Symptoms: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Other Causes

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“I’m more sensitive now to women when they say they’ve ‘gotta go,'” says 51-year-old professional speaker, author, and prostate cancer survivor Chuck Gallagher. The Greenville, S.C., resident experienced mild bladder or the frequency of your bathroom breaks may not be fodder for Facebook updates. But more and more people are taking Rabin’s advice and doing something about their incontinence. WebMD talked to real women and men who experienced incontinence at various points in their lives. Read on for their stories.

The Personal Side of Incontinence

Meet Tasha Mulligan of Des Moines, Iowa. The physical therapist, athletic trainer, triathlete, and mother of three refused to let mild incontinence slow her down.

“The topic of incontinence isn’t one that I have always been focused on, but my own journey through pregnancy and delivery pushed me into the women’s health field of physical therapy five years ago. After my delivery, my pelvic floor just didn’t bounce back,” she tells WebMD. “Then I began to realize that a lot of my female patients would laugh and joke about wetting their pants as I asked them to perform specific exercises. My grandmother talked about her uterine prolapse, and my pregnant friends were asking a lot of questions about why they couldn’t hold their bladder. I began to realize the widespread effect of weak pelvic floor muscles.”

This revelation — that women are disproportionately affected by incontinence — spurred her to action.

“Just like after obesity. But your life doesn’t have to be ruled by your bladder.”

Depending on the severity of incontinence, doctors may prescribe a variety of treatments to patients.

Treatment options for urinary incontinence include insurance against an “accident.”

  • Wear dark clothing. If you are struggling with leakage, darker clothing can camouflage an episode. Keeping a change of underwear and/or pants can provide peace of mind.
  • Use shields or pads. They aren’t a cure, but they are useful in providing a measure of protection and confidence.