8 Most Common Questions About Fistulas - Answered!

8 Common Questions About Fistulas - Answered!

If you’ve been diagnosed with a fistula, you may have some questions about what it is, why you have it, and what can be done. Keep reading below for answers to some of the most common questions we receive about fistulas.

1. What is a fistula?

The definition of a fistula is an abnormal passageway that connects two organs or vessels that do not usually connect. The most common type of fistula is around the anus. 

2. What causes a fistula?

 Within the anus, there are glands that create fluid. Sometimes these can become blocked and infected, creating what is called an abscess. This is the most common cause of a fistula, although fistulas can sometimes be caused by other conditions as well, such as Crohn’s disease, sexually transmitted diseases, or cancer.

3. What are symptoms of a Fistula?

Fistulas can be very embarrassing, as well as uncomfortable. Pain is a frequent symptom, as well as frequent abscesses, foul-smelling discharge, and painful bowel movements. Skin irritation can also develop due to infections and excess fluid being discharged.

4. How serious is a fistula?

Fistulas can cause a lot of discomfort, and if left untreated, may cause serious complications. Some fistulas can cause a bacteria infection, which may result in sepsis, a dangerous condition that can lead to low blood pressure, organ damage or even death. Luckily there are many treatments available for fistulas so that more serious complications don’t occur.

5. How is a fistula diagnosed?

If you are noticing any symptoms of a fistula – abdominal pain, discharge, a change in your bowel habits, severe diarrhea – talk to your doctor right away.  Diagnosing an external fistula is relatively simple since the doctor is able to see it. He or she may send any discharge that occurs to a lab for analysis, and may also perform blood tests to help confirm the diagnosis. 

If the fistula is internal, diagnosis may be harder. Your doctor may perform an endoscope to see inside, or perform ultrasounds, CTs, or X-rays to find the fistula.

6. Is a fistula a sign of cancer?

An anal fistula is a very rare sign of cancer. However, if left untreated for a long time, a fistula may lead to cancer. A fistula may also develop as a result of radiation therapy.

7. Can a fistula heal on its own?  

In some cases, fistulas may close up, but then reopen. Typically, fistulas do not heal on their own without treatment.

8. How is a fistula treated?

There are different options when treating a fistula, depending on the severity.  For small fistulas, your doctor may perform an in office procedure. A fistulotomy may be done to open and drain the fistula. Your doctor may also be able to use stitches to seal the fistula, allowing it to heal.

Larger fistulas will require surgery to close them properly.  Post surgery, you may be prescribed pain killers, antibiotics to prevent infections, and stool softeners to make bowel movements easier while healing. 

The healing process may take just a few days or weeks if the fistula was small, but larger fistulas can take a longer time to heal, and may even require additional surgeries.  Be sure to keep the area clean, especially after bowel movements. Moist pads may help this process. Taking warm baths can also be soothing and can help the treated area clean.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a fistula, don’t wait to talk to your doctor. Seek treatment and learn the options available to you – treatment may be easier than you think, and in most every case, is better than letting it go untreated.

 

Ask The Expert: Will Losing Weight Fix My Incontinence?

Ask The Expert

Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question:  I am overweight and my doctor told me that if I lose some extra pounds it would help with my bladder leakage. Is this true?

Answer: Your doctor is right. Carrying around extra weight puts extra pressure on the bladder, making incontinence more likely, especially if it’s already something you struggle with. One study that looked at weight loss intervention among incontinent women showed that women who lost weight were able to reduce the frequency of their stress urinary incontinence episodes through 12 months, and saw improved patient satisfaction with changes in incontinence through 18 months. (Click here to read the study on weight loss and incontinence.

Losing weight may not stop the leaks completely, but it can definitely help, and is probably a good idea anyway, since obesity carries all sorts of extra health risks (on top of incontinence).

If you’re overweight, small changes can make a big difference. Below are a few things you can do to get the process started.

Watch your diet and try to work in more fruits and vegetables while cutting out sugary foods. 

It may help to keep a food journal so that you see exactly what’s going into your body. Many of us eat mindlessly and sometimes as a result of our emotions. Learn to recognize your emotions when you reach for that extra cookie or bag of chips. Are you bored, sad, angry? Try dealing with it in different way – call a friend, take a walk around the block, watch a movie. You may find that the reasons you eat don’t always have to do with hunger.

See a nutritionist.

There are so many fad diets these days that it’s hard to know what you should and shouldn’t eat. A nutritionist can teach you about food and the different foods that are good for you body. They can also help devise a meal plan for you to make it easier for you to stay on track.

Start adding more exercise into your daily routine.

Not sure where to begin? Walking is a great exercise that requires no equipment. Biking is another great option that gets you outside. Most gyms have lots of great classes you can try that will help guide you through different workout routines, and some even offer personal trainers, providing you with a more custom and individual approach. If you’re just not ready to venture outside of the house yet, try a workout video, or subscribe to online video classes.

Make it a social affair and invite a friend to join you.

You’ll pass the time more quickly and also have an ally who can help motivate you to keep going.

 

Sneak in extra movements throughout your day.

Park your car a little bit further from the entry of your office/grocery store, etc. Do short bouts of weight bearing exercises like lunges, squats or pushups when you’re waiting for dinner to warm up. Take a 5-minute break every hour at work to just walk around the office. Every movement counts – your body doesn’t know if you’re in the gym or not and it doesn’t always have to be during a designated workout time. You’ll still be burning extra calories.

 

Track it.

We’re all motivated by progress so tracking your stats somewhere where you can see your improvements can help. Get a pedometer to track the steps you take and try to set a goal of reaching a certain number each day. Weigh yourself every week and mark down your progress in a journal. Stay motivated by celebrating your victories! 

Weight loss can be hard, but with some motivation and perseverance, you can do it. Keep at it and not only will your incontinence symptoms be improved, but you’ll find yourself much healthier too.

The NAFC Expert Panel is made up of some of the top medical professionals in the fields of urology, urogynecology, physical therapy, and surgery. Each month, the experts weigh in on important topics and answers to your questions.  To have one of your questions featured in our Ask an Expert series, send it to us here.

Secrets For Aging Gracefully

Secrets For Aging Gracefully

It happens to all of us – one minute we’re prancing around in our 20s and the next we look in the mirror and wonder where the time went. Aging is a fact of life, and one that no one can avoid.

But there are ways to ensure that you sail into your golden years. 

Read on for our best tips on aging gracefully.

Think Young.

It may sound impossible, but research has actually shown that you can think yourself young. A number of studies have shown that we have the power to perceive time differently, and that the more we engage in “can do” thinking as we age, the better off we’ll be. Don’t fall into the mindset of thinking you can’t do something just because you’re a little older. Science shows that if you think you can’t do something, limit your life or the things you try just because of your numerical age, you might actually age faster. But the same is true of the opposite. Think yourself young and you’ll be much better off.  (This is a great article on aging and studies that have been done on perceived time and mindset.)

 

Keep Moving.

Staying young means staying active. Exercise has many benefits and is an important part of keeping your muscles toned, staving off chronic conditions, and keeping your mental state strong. And, regular exercise can actually make you look younger. It’s never too late to start. And you don’t have to suddenly become a body builder or a marathoner to see results. Find a workout you love and stick with it. Walking, swimming, yoga or biking are all great options. Just do something. As is often said, move it or lose it.

 

Eat Well.

Watching what you eat is always important. Healthy eating not only gives helps you maintain a healthy weight, it gives you good energy and helps fight off certain diseases. Many foods can even make you look better! Check out this roundup of some of the best foods you can eat to look younger.

 

Reduce Stress

It’s probably no secret that being stressed out can wreak havoc on your health on both the inside and the outside. Too much stress can lead to things like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and even diabetes. Stress can also affect your mood, create lack of motivation, cause sleeping problems, and fatigue. Stress may even lead to a higher risk of premature death.

Learn ways to alleviate stress to avoid these health pitfalls.  Meditation and yoga can help calm the mind, and regular exercise can be a great stress reliever. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep to conquer your days, and if you’re really down, give a friend a call to talk through it. It’s amazing what a short conversation with someone you care about can do.

 

Take up a new hobby.

Studies have shown that learning something new can help improve our memory and overall brain health. Not only that, it adds a bit of excitement and spark to life that can keep us fulfilled and happy during our golden years.

Learning something new gives us new perspective on life and opens us up to new experiences.

Need some ideas? Learning a new language, drawing, knitting, learning to play a new instrument, or even just trying out a new recipe are all great places to start.

 

Take proper care of your health.

One of the best ways to stay young is prevention. Take basic care of yourself by making sure to see your doctor and dentist regularly. Stay up to date on your health tests as you age. Get good sleep. Wear sunscreen. These are the little things you do every day that may not seem like much, but can make a big difference in the long term. 


Have any of your own tips on how to stay young? Share them with us in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Patient Perspective: It Doesn't Matter How Old You Are - Incontinence Is Not Normal!

Patient Perspective: Incontinence Is Not Normal

At 70 years old, you’d think that I’d have come to terms with having incontinence. But time has a way of making you see that some things you thought were normal actually weren’t at all.

The leaks started in my 50’s and at the time, I chalked it up to just growing older. I started wearing absorbent pads for protection and just went on living my life. My leaks started to get worse as I got older, and in my late 60’s I finally talked to my doctor about it. He asked me during a routine check up about my bladder habits and I told him I’d been having leaks for years. I tried to brush it off like it was no big deal (it was a bit embarrassing to talk about), but he kept pressing me, asking me more details and taking notes.

Finally, he told me that he wished I had told him about the leaks sooner, since there is so much that can be done to treat bladder leaks.  He said no one should have to live with bladder control issues and that it absolutely is NOT a normal part of aging.

I felt so foolish for having believed all those years that it was just my body breaking down, getting older. Turns out that I was able to start a medication that really helped eliminate (mostly) my accidents. And there are even more treatments besides medications that I can try if I decide to.

Now that I’ve treated my incontinence, I feel freer at 70 years old than I did when I was in my late 50’s. I only wish I had opened up about it sooner to my doctor. 

Don’t wait to talk about it. Don’t let the years pass you by living with incontinence. It’s just not worth it when so much can be done.

Abby M.,

Boston, MA

Tips For Avoiding A Sedentary Lifestyle

Tips For Avoiding A Sedentary Lifestyle

Today’s modern world moves faster than ever. And while technology has us moving at a breakneck speed in most areas of life, being active is unfortunately not one of them.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showed that only 23% of adults between 18 and 64 are getting the recommended amount of exercise. That’s bad news since lack of exercise can lead to lots of problems, including the development of chronic diseases, like diabetes, and cognitive delcline. In addition, a more sedentary lifestyle may lead to obesity, a condition that can contribute to incontinence (among many other things). 

What’s the recommended amount of movement you should be aiming for? Experts say that most people should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. It’s also recommended to add in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.

The good news is it’s never too late to start. And adding in those workouts may be easier than you think. 


Here are our 7 best ways to sneak more movement into your day:


1. Break up your workouts into chunks.

For starters, don’t feel like you have to do all your working out at once. Even breaking up your workouts into small 10-minute chunks throughout the day counts.  Have a few minutes before your next conference call? Take a walk around the block, or try going up and down the stairs a few times. Running errands? Park your car in the furthest spot from the door to force yourself to walk even just a few more steps. Waiting for the microwave to heat up your dinner? Do 30-60 second bursts of squats or pushups. These activities may not seem like much on their own, but when you add them all up they can really make a difference.

 

2. Start a walking group.

Walking is one of the best low-impact workouts you can do. It’s easy, since you can do it pretty much anywhere, and you don’t really need any equipment – just grab your sneakers and get started. What’s more, walking with a buddy keeps you more engaged throughout the exercise and will make your “workout” as easy as catching up with a friend. (Plus, you’ll get the emotional boost of some good social interaction!). Click here for tips on how to set up a walking group.

 

3. Find an active hobby you love.

Going to the gym not your thing? You don’t have to commit to a grueling workout that you hate. Try something different! Take up a tennis class, try your hand at golfing, or invest in a new bike. There are no hard rules for how you get your workout in, just find a way to move. Bonus:  if you love doing it, you’ll be more inclined to continue.

 

4. Try an alternative workout.

Maybe you’re bored with your normal gym. Or you’re starting to feel unchallenged or unmotivated by what you’ve been doing. There are tons of new gyms out there that focus on new types of workout. Orange Theory, CorePower Yoga, Barre Workouts, Crossfit, Boxing Gyms, or even Dance Centers (tap dancing anyone?) are all different types of workouts that you might consider trying.  Do a google search for what exists in your area and give one of them a call. Many of these gyms offer a free trial period so that you’re able to check it out a few times before committing.


5. Think outside the box.

Try thinking of alternatives to your normal routine in order to work in more exercise. Do you have a standing meeting with a colleague at work? Try turning it into a walking meeting and talk while you walk. Do you live close enough to walk or bike to the grocery store? Make it a habit to schedule that into your weekly routine. Feel like you just really cant squeeze anything in? Try waking up 10 minute early in the morning to fit in a few rounds of weight-bearing exercises or to take a quick walk around the block.


6. Work up to it.

It may feel daunting to jump straight into a workout routine if you’re not used to it. But you don’t have to do it all at once. Start slowly with just a few minutes per day, then work up to more time as you’re able to.  Giving your body (and, let’s face it, your mind) time to catch on may make a regular workout routine easier to stick to.

 

7. Make it a family (or friend) affair.

Working out with a group can be motivating since you’re held more accountable than if you’re just on your own. Try getting your family involved by scheduling in regular family activities.  Start taking a nightly walk after dinner with the kids. Go for hikes on the weekends. Bike to the park and get in a good jungle gym workout. Get a group of friends together to try a new workout class or gym. The best part? By getting your loved ones involved, you’ll be helping each other live a healthier life. And if you have kids, you’ll be instilling in them the importance of exercise and staying fit – something that will hopefully stay with them their whole life.

Finding a workout you can commit to will do more than help you lose weight. Staying active may help prevent chronic conditions, will give you more energy, increase your muscle tone, and help your stability, which can be especially important as you age. And, you’ll be helping your mind stay sharp while also staving off mental conditions like depression.  We’d call those pretty good reasons to make working out a priority.

So get moving! Start small (anything is better than nothing!) and use some of the tips listed above to sneak in extra movement to your day.

(Note: It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. Need help finding a specialist? Click here to use our specialist locator tool!)

 

Traveling With Incontinence

traveling with incontinence

Traveling can be challenging for people of all ages. Finding where you need to go, packing, arriving on time, following directions, and navigating any issues along the way can be stressful and difficult. Traveling with incontinence adds an extra layer of complexity. From packing appropriately, products and extra clothes, to additional stops and locating bathrooms, traveling with incontinence takes added planning, coordination, and consideration of each part of the trip. However, with some useful tips and the right products, adults can continue to explore the world and visit people they loved while managing incontinence!

Traveling takes you out of your typical routine and your comfort zone. For adults with incontinence, finding a routine that balances managing their incontinence condition and living an ordinary life is so important.  When you are traveling and have a new ordinary, you should develop a plan to take control of your experience.

Therefore, we have compiled 6 tips for traveling with incontinence to help you find the travel routine that works for your condition and lifestyle.

6 Tips for Traveling with Incontinence

Move up in Absorbency

When taking a trip in the car or on a plane, you typically are wearing the same product for a longer time period than in your normal, at home routine. A tip for longer trips is to move up in absorbency or find a product with more absorbency. It is common for people with incontinence to have a product for daytime wear and a different product for overnight use, so it’s normal to have a product for regular wear and a product for traveling. In fact, your typical overnight product may be your travel product. Regardless, it is helpful to find a product that provides more protection than your normal, everyday product. You can even consider adding a booster pad to your regular product for a few more hours of protection. Plus, with a booster pad you can quickly change the booster pad without having to change the host garment (diaper or brief), a great tip for quick on the go changes. Using a product with extra absorbency ensures that if you do have an accident or can’t locate a bathroom, you’ll be protected.

Time your Bathroom Trips

When traveling, it is always a good idea to locate bathrooms and plan a set amount of time between trips to the bathroom. This may depend on your condition and fluid intake, but generally planning to go to the bathroom every 2-3 hours is recommended. Timing your voids will help reduce the likelihood of soiling your incontinence product while allowing you to continue drinking an adequate amount of water. On that note, monitor your fluid intake and be sure to continue to drink water. On a long car trip, it may sound tough to stop every 2 hours to go to the bathroom, but you’d rather stop every few hours for 10 minutes than have an accident and spend more time trying to clean everything up!

Absorbent products

Supplies, Supplies, Supplies

Supplies refers to absorbent products, extra clothes, and any other supplies you use (wipes. gloves, creams, etc.). Be sure to bring more than enough supplies so that you feel confident in all possible situations. Bring an extra bag of just additional supplies if you must, it will make you feel more protected just knowing you have it.

Additionally, consider sending additional absorbent products or other supplies to your destination ahead of time. If you’ll be gone for a few weeks or months, it may be easier to ship yourself supplies or place an order online and have the product delivered to your travel location. This will help cut down on the bags you have to carry and transport.

Give Yourself Extra Time

Often during trips and travel people are in a rush and are running late. So, it is helpful to give yourself plenty of time to arrive early to the airport or to the hotel or wherever your travel takes you. This will give you time to locate bathrooms, use the bathroom, find your gate or destination, and extra time for anything else that comes along. How much extra time you need is up to you and your routine but erring on the side of too much extra time is advisable.

Locate Nearby Bathrooms

It’s also important to locate the nearest bathrooms or rest stops along your trip so when you need to go you can quickly stop. If you start to feel the urge to use the bathroom, don’t try to hold it longer than necessary. Get off at the next exit or find the next bathroom in the airport and go. Trying to hold it makes you more likely to have an accident. You can also use our list of apps to help you locate a bathroom!

airplane aisle

Aisle Seats Near the Bathroom or Extra Stops

If you are traveling on a plane, it is helpful to reserve an aisle seat close to the bathroom in case you need to go during the flight. This will make it easier for you to get up without bothering any one and be close to the bathroom in case you get a sudden urge.

If you are taking a car trip, practicing timed voids and stopping every 2-3 hours helps reduce the chance of accidents. It’s much easier to stop for 15-30 minutes to use the bathroom and stretch your legs every few hours than it is to drive for 5 hours but have to change your product, clothes, and potentially clean up a mess in the car. If you’re wearing a maximum absorbency product and feel comfortable riding for 4-5 hours without stopping, you can certainly do that! But to ensure a smooth trip without a mess or changes, regular stops are a good solution.

Never Stop Exploring

Traveling with incontinence can add complexity at any age and any level of incontinence. Long trips take extra planning, considerations, time, and often money. But with the right planning and organization, and using the tips above, you can continue to travel and enjoy time in the places you love. Hopefully you can use these tips and learn your own tricks and tips that work for you as you embark on your travel adventures! Never stop exploring!

Contributed by Tranquility® Incontinence Products – Premium Protection for When Performance Matters Most

Patient Perspective: Having IBS Causes Me So Much Anxiety

IBS Gives Me So Much Anxiety

I am 62 years old and have been dealing with symptoms of IBS for close to 15 years.  I’ve had countless accidents in public – at events, friends houses, you name it.  The early days of having the condition were mortifying to me - I got pretty good at coming up with all sorts of excuses for why I need to leave a party or event early. But the isolation I think may be the worst. I just always felt like there was no one I could talk to about it and no one who would understand.

Luckily, my family has been supportive.  They don’t say much about it and just try to help with what they can. I know now to bring back up clothes and cleanup supplies everywhere I go.  I’ve also worked a lot with my doctor to develop an evolving treatment plan and ways to manage my IBS.

This condition has been so embarrassing for me and has caused me a great deal of stress throughout my life.  I’m constantly worried about having an accident, but that just makes me even more anxious and in turn triggers more accidents. It’s a vicious cycle that is so hard to break. 

The biggest things that have helped me are exercise, watching my diet, and taking up meditation. I find that exercising daily is a great stress reliever and also helps to get things moving, if you know what I mean.  It’s been a long road of trial and error to determine a diet that works for me, but cutting out beans, gluten, and sugary foods has seemed to really help.  Keeping a diary of what you eat and drink each day, and how it affects your bowels, can be a huge help in determining triggers and patterns. (Download our free diaries here!)

Finally, meditation has been a complete game changer. I’ve taken some classes, done a lot of self study, and have even found apps that have helped guide me through the process. Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed or anxious, even just a quick 5-minute meditation can be enough to calm my nerves, and seemingly, my bowels. I encourage everyone to give it a try – what do you have to lose?   

I think the most important thing is for people to keep some perspective on life and know that while this condition is a constant struggle, it doesn’t have to be limiting unless you allow it to be. Talk with your doctor, a nutritionist, a therapist – or all three if it helps! Find ways to manage it and cope with the stress. It really makes all the difference.  

Sherri K.,

Baton Rouge, LA

 

 

What Are The First Signs Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

What Are The First Signs Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder that can cause painful stomach cramps and changes in the frequency, or type of bowel movements. IBS can be hard to diagnose since it can be triggered by a variety of things. And everyone’s trigger is different, and symptoms are not always consistent among patients. Finally, the symptoms of IBS also mimic that of other conditions, making it difficult to know for sure if you have it without talking to a doctor.  Below are some of the more common symptoms of IBS.

 

Signs And Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

 Abdominal pain or cramps.

This is one of the most common sigs of IBS, and usually occurs in the lower abdomen.  The pain typically goes away after a bowel movement. For many people, a change in diet can help with the pain. Medications also exist that can treat pain associated with IBS. 

Gas and bloating.

This is another common symptom of IBS. With IBS, extra gas is produced in the gut, and can cause bloating (which may also lead to pain mentioned above).  Again, certain changes in your diet may help reduce gas and bloating.

Diarrhea, constipation, or both. 

Some people with IBS may experience loose stools, or a sudden, immediate urge to have a bowel movement.  Others may experience constipation, which when accompanied by pain that improves following a bowel movement is a common sign of IBS. Still others may have alternating bouts of both diarrhea and constipation.

 Fatigue.

Feeling tired or a lack of energy is a common complaint in people with irritable bowel syndrome. This may be because certain vitamins that are essential to our well-being are not as readily absorbed when you have IBS. Additionally, disruptions in sleep due to increased symptoms of IBS may lead to a worsened quality of sleep, and increased tiredness throughout the day.

Food intolerance.

Different foods may trigger IBS in different people, but some common ones may include lactose and gluten, or FODMAPs, which are certain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine.  These include certain vegetables and fruits, beans, wheat and rye, some nuts, and sweeteners or artificial sweeteners.  Learn more about FODMAP diets here.

Pay attention to your diet to see what foods may be triggering your symptoms. A bowel diary can help you track this. (Download our free bowel diary here!)

Stress.

The symptoms of IBS may cause great distress and leave patients feeling overly stressed and anxious. Ironically, reactions of stress can actually lead to added IBS symptoms. Finding ways to reduce stress (like meditating or exercising regularly) may lead to less severe symptoms of IBS.

 

IBS can be a very painful and uncomfortable condition, but the good news is that it’s treatable. Not everyone with IBS will have all of these symptoms, but if you’re experiencing any of the conditions listed above, talk to your doctor. Together you can figure out a treatment plan that works for you.

 

An Easy Way To Eat More Vegetables

An Easy Way To Eat More Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a balanced diet. But most people don’t get the recommended amount. The US dietary guidelines say you should have 4-5 servings of vegetables and 3-4 servings of fruit each day.  

Still, another study has shown that eating up to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day (that’s about 28 ounces) may be effective at preventing the risk of premature death, and staving off things like heart disease, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. 

And, eating more fruits and veggies has a host of other benefits, ranging from maintaining a healthy weight, getting better sleep, having a strong immune system, and even maintaining a healthy gut.

It may feel hard to get in your daily dose of fruits and vegetables, but even 3-4 servings are better than nothing so do your best. 

Here’s an easy recipe for sneaking more fruits and veggies into your morning routine:

Green Smoothie (serves 2)

(Based off this recipe from Simple Green Smoothies)

  • 2 cups spinach or kale (remove stems if using kale)

  • 2 cups coconut water

  • 1 cup mango

  • 1 cup pineapple

  • 1 – 2 bananas

 

  • Blend your spinach and coconut water together until spinach is fully chopped.

  • Add fruit and blend to combine with the spinach until smooth.

  • Enjoy!

 

A few tips:

  • This recipe is totally customizable, so feel free to switch out the main ingredients as needed. Change up the greens, swap the fruit, sub regular water, milk or almond milk for the coconut water– your options are really endless.

  • Using frozen fruit really helps to make the smoothie nice and icy.

  • You can make your smoothie ahead of time and it should keep for a couple of days in the fridge, or you can chop up your veggies and place then into single serving baggies to quickly dump in the blender when you’re ready making this super quick and easy. 

The Best Incontinence Products For Working Out

The Best Incontinence Products For Working Out

Do you let bladder leaks keep you from working out? It’s estimated that over 20% of women have quit physical activity due to urinary incontinence. This is unfortunate though. Regular exercise should be a part of maintaining good health, and keeping a healthy weight can actually lessen the occurrence of leaks. Plus, working out can also strengthen the core muscles and the pelvic floor, which can provide more control over the bladder.  

So what can you do to protect yourself if you find yourself leaking at the gym? Fortunately there are lots of products on the market that can help you avoid an embarrassing situation.

What to look for in an exercise pad or protection.

Choose a product for incontinence, not menstruation.

It may seem like it would do the job, but pads made for menstruation are much different than absorbent pads made for incontinence. Incontinence pads have a greater level of absorbency, and are typically created with materials that will wick moisture away from your body.  Make sure to use a pad specifically designed for incontinence. (Hint – you can discreetly order these online and no one has to know!)

Make sure the product is breathable.

The last think you want is irritated skin because the product was too tight or kept moisture too close during a tough workout. Read the packaging and product descriptions to make sure you’re choosing one that is breathable.

 

Avoid bulk.

If you’re moving around a lot, you don’t want something that is going to feel bulky getting in the way of your workout. Nor do you want something that will cause chafing. Many of the incontinence products made for working out are very discreet. Try to find one that doesn’t add a lot of bulk to your workout wear.

 

Choose a product that will stay put.

When you workout, you want something that will stay put and not slide around. Look for a product that sticks well to your undergarments.

 

Try a pessary for support.

Leaks during workouts may be fixed simply by providing a little bit of extra support to your bladder. Pessaries are small inserts that are fitted by a doctor and help hold the bladder up a bit, providing additional support.  This may be helpful if you’re doing a lot of higher intensity moves.

 

Other tips to keep you dry:

Reduce fluids prior to working out.

Don’t cut out drinks all together. Your body needs to stay hydrated when exercising. But be mindful of what and how much you’re drinking prior to your workout. Downing 2 or 3 cups of coffee before your morning workout routine may not be the wisest choice. 

Wear dark, lose-fitting clothing.

If you do end up having an accident, darker colors will hide it better than lighter ones.  And, loose fitting shorts and workout pants can help hide absorbent products you may be wearing, and make leaks less noticeable.

 

Try different types of workouts.

If you truly love an activity, you shouldn’t have to give it up. But there’s also no rule that says you have to do a certain type of workout to get in shape. If running is causing you more stress than enjoyment, try something with less impact. High intensity exercises place a lot of pressure on our bladder, and things like running, tennis, or similar exercises that cause repeated downward pressure can weaken the pelvic floor over time. Walking, swimming or biking may be good options to sub in, at least some of the time. (Read our tips on how to start a walking group!)

Got any tips for staying dry while you exercise? Share them with us in the comments below!

Patient Perspective: How I Allowed Incontinence Steal Parts Of My Life.

How I Allowed Incontinence To Steal Parts Of My Life.

I’m 65 years old, and for years I let my incontinence control me.

I always had a bit of an overactive bladder – I’d race to the bathroom as soon as I got home, no matter where I had been or how long I’d been out. Washing dishes after dinner had me almost hopping to the toilet, for fear I’d have a leak.

It was sort of funny at first – well, as funny as we could make it. My kids would make fun of me and we’d laugh about how silly I looked. But after a while, my body just wasn’t strong enough to hold it in and I started not making it to the bathroom in time. I brushed it off for a while – I’d had five kids after all! Wasn’t this something I should expect?

But after a while, it really started to get me down. The small leaks started turning into gushes and I wasn’t able to hide my accidents. I relied on absorbent products but so many of the ones I tried leaked that I became terrified of venturing out of the house.  

I became a hermit – making my kids come to see me at home instead of meeting them out or going to their house.  I missed events – graduations, family outings, get-togethers with friends – things I used to love to do. I was a slave to my incontinence. And I felt helpless.

I finally found help through my daughter. She saw my pain and the big changes in me over the years and finally put her foot down, demanding to take me to talk to my doctor.  It was a terrifying discussion for me – what would she say? Would it make me feel even more embarrassed?

But my doctor was very kind, and started me on a medication for OAB right away, which helped a lot. 

She also referred me to a physical therapist to help strengthen my pelvic floor.  I thought it would be extremely uncomfortable, but it’s left me feeling so much stronger and empowered, I kick myself that I didn’t start it sooner.  

I’ve regained so much control over my condition and my life now. I wish I had sought help sooner.

I’m likely an extreme case – I don’t think most people – even those with incontinence – live like I did.  But here is my challenge to anyone living with incontinence – why let it dictate your life even a little? If you’re struggling with little leaks here and there, don’t put off treatment or brush it off like it’s nothing. Packing an extra change of clothes, scouting out bathrooms, making excuses – these are changes to your life that may start off small, but can snowball into something larger if you don’t seek help and take care of it now.

Find a doctor you trust, and get treatment for your leaks. Don’t let incontinence hold you back from living your life. It’s just not worth it.

Sandra F., Minneapolis, MN

Planning A Road Trip This Summer? Check Out These Tips To Keep You Dry!

Planning A Road Trip This Summer? Stay Dry With These Tips.

Traveling when you have incontinence can be scary and intimidating – especially when you know there may be times when you’re not going to be near a toilet. But by planning ahead, you’ll be able to have the road trip of your dreams! 

7 Tips For Planning A Road Trip When You Have Incontinence

Pack Wisely.

Being prepared is half the battle when you have incontinence, and it’s especially important when you’re traveling away from your comfort zone.  Be sure to pack appropriately – what types of protection do you need? If you’ll be in the car for long periods of time without the ability to stop, you may need a product that is slightly more absorbent than you’re used to at home. 

Extra pairs of clothes may feel excessive, but can be a huge relief if you have an accident. If you’ll be staying in hotels, think about overnight protection or items to protect the bedding. And, don’t forget about cleanup supplies. A couple of plastic bags, wipes, or other cleanup supplies can come in handy when you’re on the road.

Bring Extras Of Everything.

Bring more than you think you may need of absorbent protection, clothes, and clean up supplies. It may feel excessive, but you’ll be glad to have them if you need them. Pack an extra bag of supplies so that you have back ups.

Wear Dark Colors.

If you do have an accident, it’s easier to hide it when you’re wearing darker colored pants. Loose and light clothing also may be helpful when trying to hide leaks.

Scout Out Your Route.

You likely know the route you’re taking so plan ahead for bathroom stops. Research the towns you’ll be passing along the way and learn about any rest stops that exist along your route. Knowing that you have scheduled bathroom breaks set up in advance may help to calm your mind (and your bladder!) while you’re on the road.

Talk To Your Doctor Well Beforehand.

You may wish to speak with your doctor about medications that could help you while on your trip. Be sure to do this well in advance as some medications may take some time to start working, so you may need to start taking them a couple of months prior to your trip.

Use Technology To Your Advantage.

There are lots of great bathroom finder apps available that can help you out when you need it.  And, apps like Google maps can help you find stops along your journey, as well as inform you of traffic build ups and alternative routes.

 Pay Attention To What You’re Eating and Drinking.

It goes without saying that you’ll need to watch what you’re eating and drinking. If you know something is likely to irritate your bladder, steer clear from it. And while you should never restrict your fluids too much, it’s probably wise to not gulp down a bunch before you hop in the car. 

Don’t let incontinence keep you from getting out and exploring this summer! Follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be wondering why you don’t road trip every year!

Got any great tips for staying dry while traveling? Share them with us in the comments below!

How Do I Know If I'm Drinking Enough Water?

How Do I Know If I’m Drinking Enough Water? Try Our Simple Trick.

When you live with incontinence, it’s easy to think that limiting your fluids will help you to avoid an uncomfortable bladder leak. And while in some cases that may be true, most of the time, restricting your fluids can have negative consequences, including dehydration and foul smelling urine. It may even cause you to have the problem that you are trying to avoid:  a leaky bladder.

It’s long been recommended that we need to drink 8 glasses of water a day. But really, you should drink to quench your thirst, and try to listen to your body to know the right amount of water intake for you. This can vary for everyone so it’s important to listen to your body and drink when you’re thirsty.

 Keep reading to learn more about how limiting your water intake can harm your health, and a tip for knowing if you’re drinking enough.

How Restricting Your Fluids Can Harm Your Health

  1. Dehydration. It’s a fact of life: our bodies need water to function properly. Without it, you will become dehydrated and may experience symptoms such as headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness, lack of energy, not peeing or having dark yellow pee, irritability, or even fainting. 

    The simple fix? If it’s just mild dehydration you’re suffering from drink some water or clear fluid like broth or Gatorade. 2-3 cups may do the job and having you feeling better within the hour.

  2.  However if you experience severe dehydration, you may need hospitalization and intravenous hydration for up to 24 hours to recover.

    Drinking fewer fluids throughout the day can irritate the bladder, leading to more leaks. Yes – it’s true!  What you are trying to avoid may be exactly the thing you are causing!  When you drink less water, you urine becomes very concentrated and can actually irritate the bladder, which can lead to bladder leaks.

    Concentrated urine can also lead to bladder infections or urinary tract infections, which is something we’d all probably like to avoid.

  3. When you do have leaks, they’ll smell a lot more. Remember how we just said your urine becomes more concentrated when you restrict fluids? That also makes it smell a lot more, meaning if you do leak, you’ll have a harder time covering up unpleasant odors.

How Do I Know If I’m Drinking Enough Water? 

So, what’s the right amount for you?  Here’s an easy tip to tell if your water intake is adequate.

The Skin Pinch Test

Pinch the skin on the back of your hand, then let it go. If you’re fully hydrated, your skin should bounce right back. But if it takes longer for the skin to return to normal, you may be dehydrated.   

So whatever you do, don’t skimp on your water! And if you’re finding it hard to work in the recommended 6-8 glasses a day, try some add-ins, like cucumber, berries, or citrus.  Here are some great ideas to spruce up your H2O.

 

 

Atlantic Therapeutics Debuts the First FDA-Cleared, Wearable and Non-Invasive Solution for Stress Urinary Incontinence

INNOVO For Stress Urinary Incontinence

 1-IN-3 WOMEN IN AMERICA CAN NOW PROUDLY DECLARE “I JUST FREE’D MYSELF WITH INNOVO THANKS TO REVOLUTIONARY NEW DEVICE TO TREAT ROOT CAUSE OF BLADDER WEAKNESS

Pleasanton, CA (JUNE 5, 2019)“OMG. I just free’d myself!” Today, 20 million women in America will rewrite that whispered, uncomfortable admission of bladder weakness[1] into a declarative, celebratory shout thanks to INNOVO®. As the first-in-class wearable, non-invasive solution for Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), INNOVO has the potential to positively impact the lives of one in three women.[2] These women will now be able to laugh louder, exercise harder and even sneeze with ease.

The INNOVO thigh-length, elasticized therapeutic shorts are outfitted with eight electrodes sewn in a crisscross formation across the pelvic region. When activated via its attached hand-held controller, INNOVO delivers a series of pelvic stimulations equivalent to Kegel exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor.

“INNOVO can help women declare freedom from incontinence and independence from pads,” said Dr. Nita Landry, board-certified OB/GYN and co-host of the Emmy® Award-winning television show “The Doctors.”  “These innovative, therapeutic shorts with targeted muscle stimulations empower women to treat the source for a long-term solution, rather than rely on a short-term pad to manage the problem.”

According to the Urology Care Foundation, one in three women suffer from SUI at some point in their life. Of those women, 23 percent report it negatively impacts their sex lives and 31 percent dress differently because of their symptoms.[3] Of the 33 percent of women who experience SUI after childbirth, 65 percent are still affected over the next dozen years.[3] 

What is INNOVO?

INNOVO is the first transcutaneous muscle electrical stimulator cleared by the FDA.2 Utilizing its innovative Multipath™ technology, INNOVO sends targeted and pain-free muscle stimulations through a pair of shorts, via neuromuscular electrical stimulation, to safely and effectively strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor.  In a study, 80 percent of INNOVO users saw significant improvements after four weeks and 87 percent were defined as ‘dry’ or ‘near dry’ at the end of three months.

“I’ve seen first-hand the everyday shame and pain patients endure with Stress Urinary Incontinence,” said Dr. Ruth Maher, co-inventor of INNOVO, Professor, Department of Physical Therapy Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Georgia. “With more than 2.5 million, safe and successful therapy sessions in Europe, I’m proud and happy to finally bring this prescribed treatment to women in America.”

INNOVO can be used in the privacy and comfort of one’s home while either standing, reclining or lying down. The recommended treatment is 30-minutes a day, five days a week, for three months. After the three-month period, it is recommended that INNOVO be used once a week for 30-minutes. In each 30-minute session, INNOVO delivers 180 perfect pelvic floor stimulations (or Kegels).

Turning Stress Urinary Incontinence into I’m Confident

SUI is the term used when leaks accidentally occur after pressure on the bladder from coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising. These simple movements put pressure on the bladder and, should the pelvic floor muscles be unable to tighten enough, will cause an involuntary leak. It can happen at any age, however, is most common during pregnancy, post-childbirth [i] and during stages of menopause.

 

The Prescription for a Pad-free Future

INNOVO is available only by a doctor’s prescription for a US retail price of $449.95. Women interested in treating their SUI should visit myinnovo.com for more information. While not covered by insurance, the price is almost a third less than the average $700 per year typically spent on incontinence pads each year.

 

About INNOVO

INNOVO is a first-in-class, wearable and truly non-invasive solution that treats the root cause of SUI or bladder weakness safely.1 Utilizing its innovative technology, INNOVO sends targeted and pain-free muscle stimulations through a pair of shorts, via neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), to safely and effectively strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. 

 

About Atlantic Therapeutics 

Atlantic Therapeutics develops professional and consumer medical devices, related software, apps and connected health technologies to treat all types of incontinence, sexual health dysfunctions, and other associated disorders by strengthening muscles and modulating nerves of the pelvic floor. INNOVO from Atlantic Therapeutics is an FDA cleared, externally applied, patented CE device that delivers a safe, clinically effective and comfortable therapy to treat reversible clinical conditions associated with pelvic floor weakness in the comfort of the user’s own home. Learn more at www.myinnovo.com.

 

# # #


References:

[1] Epidemiology Of Mixed, Stress, and Urgency Urinary Incontinence in Middle-aged/older Women: the Importance Of Incontinence History. Yuko Komesu-Ronald Schrader-Loren Ketai-Rebecca Rogers-Gena Dunivan - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4957945/

[2] R. Dmochowski – Novel external electrical muscle stimulation device for the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence: randomized controlled noninferiority trial versus intravaginal electrical stimulation. ICS Conference 2018

[3] Urology Care Foundation. What is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)?. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/stress-urinary-incontinence-(sui). Accessed February 2019.

 

pee when you...laugh, sneeze, cough, workout, have sex….? You’re not alone. Learn about a new option to treat Stress Urinary Incontinence.

Stress Urinary Incontinence Treatment

Stress Urinary Incontinence, the type of incontinence that happens when you exert any type of pressure on your bladder or pelvic floor, happens to millions of American women. The pesky leaks can show up unexpectedly, whether you’re laughing at your best friends joke, or doing a jumping jack in your Tuesday morning workout class.

Peeing your pants something that almost no one wants to admit to. But unfortunately it happens a to a lot of us. And, even worse, many women choose to do nothing about it, chalking it up to a normal part of getting older. 

So let’s set the record straight – bladder leakage is not a right of passage as we age, nor is it something that you should live with. It’s a medical condition that deserves to be treated, because while it might be common, wetting yourself regularly is not normal. 

There are many things that can contribute to SUI. Anytime the pelvic floor is weakened or compromised it can cause the muscles to be a bit lax, making it harder for you to hold in urine.  A common cause is, of course, childbirth – especially if you delivered vaginally.  The mere act of carrying a baby around for nine months and then delivering it can make your muscles weak and even cause some nerve or tissue damage that make you more prone to leaks.

But other things can cause damage too – being overweight puts extra pressure on the pelvic floor, causing it to weaken.  As does having a chronic cough (commonly seen in long-time smokers). And any other type of surgery that may have touched the pelvic floor may make you more susceptible.

Our pelvic floor does also naturally weaken a bit as we age. Most people don’t pay much attention to their pelvic floors, which can cause problems later in life.

The pelvic floor is a muscle, and like any other muscle in the body, it needs to be strengthened in order for it to do its job. If you’ve had damage to the pelvic floor at some point in your life, like during childbirth, you may have already put it in a state of weakness, even if you didn’t immediately have any problems like incontinence.

But without treating it, gravity can continue to weaken the pelvic floor and can lead to things like incontinence, or other types of pelvic floor disorders.

All that being said, it’s important to note that while incontinence may happen more often when we’re older, it can strike anyone at any age. New moms may be just as susceptible to experiencing bladder leaks as someone who gave birth 30 years ago. 

The good news is there are many options to treat it. One of the newest options is a product called INNOVO.

INNOVO

INNOVO: A new product for Stress Urinary Incontinence 

New to the scene is a product from Atlantic Therapeutics called INNOVO.  INNOVO is the first wearable, active and truly non-invasive solution to treat stress urinary incontinence. INNOVO is cleared by the FDA, and provides women a safe, clinically effective solution that treats the root cause, not just the symptoms of bladder weakness.

How it works.

INNOVO’s Multipath technology delivers 180 gentle pulses, strengthening the pelvic floor during each 30-minute session.

The device is cleverly hidden in a pair of easy-to-slip on shorts that deliver 180 pulses to stimulate muscle contraction. INNOVO shorts are comfortable and are made of breathable, skin-friendly material, which come in a range of sizes.

INNOVO is highly effective. It’s been proven to clinically treat SUI when used for 30 minutes a day, five days a week for 12 weeks. In fact, 80% of users found that INNOVO significantly improved their quality of life. After just 4 weeks, 80% of INNOVO users saw significant improvement and after 12 weeks of use, 87% of reported being dry or nearly dry.

The best part? You’re able to use INNOVO in the comfort of your own home.

INNOVO is now available! Talk to your doctor or PT about this innovative new product and learn how you can start using it to address Stress Urinary Incontinence.

Learn more about INNOVO here.


SIGN UP TO RECEIVE THE SUI TREATMENT TRACKER!

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What Causes Incontinence In Men

What Causes Incontinence In Men?

Bladder leaks can happen to anyone at any age. While we’ve been conditioned to think that mostly older women are affected by the condition, many men suffer from incontinence too. 

There are many conditions that can lead to urinary incontinence in men. But luckily there are also many ways to treat it. Keep reading to learn some of the reasons men develop leaky bladders, how it’s diagnosed, and ways to treat it.

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the accidental leakage of urine. Many people wrongly assume that developing urinary incontinence is something that just happens as you age. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It can develop in anyone, at anytime. And there are several possible causes for it.

First, let’s start off with learning a bit about how everything works.

The urinary system is composed of two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. The kidneys remove waste products from the blood and continuously produce urine. The muscular, tube-like ureters move urine from the kidneys to the bladder, where it is stored until it flows out of the body through the urethra. A circular muscle, called the sphincter, controls the activity of the urethra and keeps urine in the bladder until it is time to urinate.

Normally, the bladder wall is relaxed while storing (or filling with) urine and the urethra is closed off by the sphincter. Your pelvic floor muscles also help keep the bladder outlet closed by supporting the urethra.

When the bladder is working correctly, the bladder sends signals to the brain to let you know how full it is, and to the sphincter to tell it to stay closed and prevent the bladder muscle from contracting.

When the bladder is full, you allow the pelvic floor as well as muscles at the outlet of the bladder to relax and open up. As this is happening, the muscle in the wall of the bladder (detrusor muscle) begins to contract and continues contracting until the bladder is completely emptied.

This process of bladder filling and emptying is obviously very complex. When any part of the urinary system or pelvic floor does not work correctly, incontinence can result.

If any of these signals don’t happen or get confused, bladder leakage can happen. 

What causes urinary incontinence in men?

Many things may contribute to bladder leakage in men.

The most common reason men experience incontinence is due to problems with the prostate. As men age, the prostate gland grows. It is estimated that 17 million men have an enlarged prostate, or symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH). The prostate gland wraps around the urethra (the bladder outlet), so an enlarged prostate can constrict or block the urethra. This is known as prostatic obstruction.

Prostatic obstruction can compromise the bladder’s ability to effectively empty, causing chronic retention of urine. This contributes to urgency and frequency because the bladder still signals that it needs emptying. If left untreated, the bladder can become distended, worsening its ability to contract and completely empty. It is possible to have prostatic obstruction even if the prostate is not enlarged.

Men may also experience Overactive Bladder (OAB) which is characterized by a sudden and urgent need to urinate, and needing to urinate frequently. This becomes urgency urinary incontinence when you are not able to reach the bathroom before losing control of the bladder.

Additionally, conditions that cause damage to the nerves, such as diabetes can cause bladder problems since it disrupts the normal signaling from the bladder to the brain to help control bladder function. Other conditions, such as stroke, can also cause incontinence, and even some medications or certain foods or drinks can contribute to urinary incontinence. 

How is urinary incontinence in men diagnosed? 

Before your appointment, take note of your symptoms so that you can relay them to your doctor. Symptoms of incontinence to look for are:

  • Diminished or interrupted urine flow

  • An urgent or sudden need to urinate

  • Increased frequency of urination

  • Inability to empty the bladder completely when urinating

  • Difficulty starting the urine flow, even when the bladder feels full

  • Getting up more than once per night to urinate (nocturia)

  • Accidental urine leakage

Talking to your doctor is the first step toward treatment.  At your appointment, your doctor will likely ask for your medical history, give you a complete physical examination, and provide a urine specimen. You may be asked to keep a bladder diary to record your symptoms.  Other tests to examine the bladder and/or prostate may also be necessary. 

Once your doctor has diagnosed your bladder condition, you can work together to decide on a treatment option that best fits your needs and works with your lifestyle.

What treatment options exist for men with urinary incontinence?

The good news is that there are lots of treatments available to men with urinary incontinence.  Your treatment path will depend on what is causing your condition.

For men with an enlarged prostate, your doctor may recommend medications to reduce symptoms and reduce the size of the prostate. Minimally invasive treatments, or even surgery is sometimes done to increase the flow of urine.  

Men with OAB may also be prescribed medications to help calm the bladder.  In cases where medication is not an option or isn’t working, minimally invasive treatments such as InterStim may be used.  This is an implanted device that helps to establish more normal function of the bladder by gently stimulating the sacral nerve. Behavioral modifications can also help with OAB. Changes in your diet, bladder training, and pelvic floor muscles are often used to help control urinary incontinence caused by OAB.

Many men also experience incontinence after prostate cancer surgery. When the prostate gland is removed, damage may occur to nerves, tissues, and the sphincter muscle that can impair the bladder's ability to store urine without leaking. This may last for just a few months during recovery, or longer. Depending on the severity of incontinence, there are several options that may help.  

Performing pelvic muscle exercises (kegels) are an important part of treating incontinence in men. Kegel exercise done before and after surgery can help to recover bladder control and are important for maintaining erectile function.  When done correctly, kegels can strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, causing fewer leaks, and improving bladder and bowel control. (Click here for a men’s guide to doing kegels.)

 If additional help is needed, other surgical options may be available. Your doctor can talk about the pros and cons of the various surgical options available.

Seeking Help Is The First Step

If you’re struggling with urinary incontinence, the most important thing to remember is that help is available. It’s not just a women’s issue – MANY men live with this condition too and there is no need to suffer in silence.  Talk with your doctor to learn the root cause of your bladder leakage and to find a treatment that works for you. 

Our Favorite Way To Improve Your Pelvic Floor Health

Our Favorite Way To Improve Your Pelvic Floor Health

Maintaining a healthy pelvic floor is so important for your overall health. Learn how standing up straight and improving your posture can help keep your pelvic floor healthy.

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Patient Perspective: My Husband Doesn't Understand My Incontinence

Patient Perspective: My Husband Doesn’t Understand My Incontinence

Are you like me? Do you live with someone who is unable to deal with your incontinence? I am sad to say that I do, and while it hasn’t always been easy, I’m starting to find ways to help my husband accept my problem. 

We’ve always been a carefree couple. Even in our early days we’d drop everything at a moments notice if a cheap flight to an exotic destination came along. We’d host impromptu parties with friends, go on vacations with other couples, and push ourselves to try new things like running marathons or participating in intense group workouts or races. 

And while we are still very much in love, and still like to be adventurous, in recent years, I’ve held back, because I suffer from incontinence.

I started noticing leaks when I was in my early 40’s. At first they were small, and didn’t happen very often. I brushed them off and still tried to do all the things we always had, without feeling the need to share this new development with my husband.

But after a while, the small leaks turned to bigger ones, and they were happening more and more frequently. I found that I couldn’t go out of the house without packing a spare change of clothes. I no longer wanted to just hop on a 5-hour flight to somewhere exotic where I wasn’t sure I’d be able to find a bathroom, or worse, have an accident on the plane.  

I had to tell my husband what was happening, and while he was supportive, he didn’t understand why I couldn’t “just hold it”.  He started to grow resentful as I declined more and more invitations, and we soon began to have fights about it, often leaving me feeling ashamed and embarrassed because of my condition.

I decided that I needed to take matters into my own hands and help my husband understand. We started doing research together online and learned more about my condition, what causes it, and ways to better manage it.  And, I’ve talked with my doctor about ways to treat my incontinence so that I can do more of the things I love. 

It hasn’t been easy, and my husband still sometimes gets frustrated at my hesitation to do some of the things we used to, but educating ourselves, together, was one of the best things we could have done to get back on track. It’s helped us both learn that this is not my fault, and that there are ways to overcome it. And, despite his frustration, I’m glad my husband is pushing me to get treatment instead of hiding behind my condition. I’m confident that with my doctor’s help, I’ll soon be able to get back to many of the things that we used to enjoy, and can’t wait to feel like my old self again. 

Sylvie R., Rockport, Massachusetts