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Published on June 14, 2016

Speak up about bladder problems

Telling your doctor that you sometimes leak urine can be a difficult conversation to start. But it’s a talk that’s likely to end with you smiling.

“Without exception, every woman who finally talks about leakage of urine is happy that they did,” says Melanie Amster, MD, Urologist at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. “Because they only get better. They never get worse.”

Leaking urine is a type of bladder control problem known as urinary incontinence (UI). It’s much more common in women than in men.

In some cases, UI can cause urine to leak when you laugh, sneeze or lift something heavy. Another kind of UI might make you feel like you have to go to the bathroom right away—but then it turns out your bladder really wasn’t that full after all.

UI can have a big effect on a woman’s life. But embarrassment often stops her from seeking help—sometimes for years.

“Don’t let that happen to you,” advises Dr. Amster. There are good treatments available. For example, changing your diet, losing some pounds if you’re overweight and doing special exercises can help.

“Those first steps are usually very effective,” Dr. Amster says.

Patients have told her they can finally leave their house again without being embarrassed.

“But the only way I can help is if you tell me about the problem,” she says. Is it time for you to start the conversation?

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