Got Light Bladder Leakage? Check Out This Expert Advice From Dr. Jessica Shepherd, OBGYN
Light Bladder Leakage is preventing women over 40 from having the courage to live a healthy lifestyle. Mostly due to a multitude of myths surrounding the condition.
Ahead of National Women’s Health Week (May 14-21), Poise commissioned a NEW survey of 1,000 women over age 40 and found many of them make lifestyle concessions to remedy light bladder leaks – a very common women’s health issue.
Facts About Light Bladder Leakage (LBL):
One in three women have LBL at some point in their lives.
Simply put, LBL is frequent involuntary leakage of urine. There is no single reason why LBL happens.
The condition is very common among women of all ages and increases as women get older.
Apart from aging, other factors include childbirth, obesity or some form of a pelvic floor disorder.
Women who live with LBL are aware of the chances of urine leaking out during normal daily activities. So when does LBL strike? According to research, a whopping 72% of women have accidentally leaked when coughing, sneezing, laughing and even walking, with coughing being the most common. Workouts can be affected too! In fact, nearly 1 in 4 women surveyed would be hesitant to participate in a class like yoga, spin or Zumba due to possible bladder leaks.
Beyond exercise, we all know that drinking water and staying hydrated is vital to healthy aging. However, nearly half of respondents believe that water increases the chances of bladder leaks, and 35% even admitted to having purposely limited water intake to avoid surprise leaks. These stats alone reveal why it’s important to raise awareness around LBL, normalize the conversation and find better solutions.
So how can women improve their life-long health and wellness when it comes to living with bladder leaks?
Women’s health expert, Dr. Jessica Shepard, OBGYN, joined me to share more about the survey findings and what they mean for woman living with light bladder leakage. During our chat, she also debunked the two most common myths surrounding LBL and revealed a variety of solutions available for women with this condition.
On the details of the survey findings and what they tell us about women’s perceptions of bladder health.
Just like you said, there’s a huge misperception of light bladder leakage. From the survey that we were just discussing, 72% of women experience leaks in public. That’s when you have coughing, laughing, sneezing, jumping up and down. Women really are experiencing this. So up to 72%. When you look at daily activities, 23% of women are hesitant to do some type of group exercise activity just due to leaks. And 35% of women would maybe forgo a date just because of light bladder leakage.
On the misconception that drinking water increases bladder leakage, and the importance of working out and staying hydrated for women as we age.
Yeah. Overall, health and hydration are really important for quality of life, for making sure we’re at our best. And so, we really encourage women of the healthcare professional to stay hydrated because what we found in the study is that 50% of women felt that decreasing their water intake would improve their light bladder leakage. And really, it’s quite the opposite. We want women to be hydrated. We want anyone to be hydrated because that’s improving your health, it’s helpful for the kidney, it’s helpful for the heart and it’s also good for the skin.
But what we do know is that it’s not contributing towards light bladder leakage. And the reason that we know that is because it’s really a pelvic anatomical and physiologic issue of why you might have light bladder leakage. Whether that’s due to, again, intense exercises that women might go through or activities, also from any pelvic surgery. If someone had a hysterectomy or if someone had pelvic surgery, that might also lead to some light bladder leakage issues.
And then also, menopause. As we look further on into life when women go through menopause, there’s a decrease in estrogen. And when you have that decrease in estrogen, you’ll find that again, that’s going to decrease the quality of the collagen in the pelvis and also the pelvic muscles. That’s when it’s going to lead to things such as light bladder leakage.
On how women who experience LBL can maintain a healthy lifestyle without avoiding exercise and water
Some of the ways that you can again, avoid light bladder leakage is through the products that you use. Poise has a plethora of products that are geared towards light bladder leakage, whether that’s with the pads that help absorb urine. And then also, Poise Impressa, which is a newer product on the market. And that’s actually geared just towards helping to decrease leaks. And the way that helps prevent leaks is that it places gentle pressure against the urethra. If you were to look at Poise Impressa, it’s shaped just like a tampon. But with that insert is that you have a flexible little insert. I could show you here and it is flexible, insert it into the vagina and that’s again, placing gentle pressure against the urethra, so that’s going to help decrease your leaks.
On additional medical options available for women with light bladder leaks and consulting their healthcare provider
It’s starting that conversation, making sure that they’re talking to the healthcare provider about some of these things that are affecting and interfering with their daily activities. And some of the things that are great for addressing light bladder leakage is that you can have a work with a pelvic physical therapist. And those are great advocates for pelvic health. And the way that they help is by helping you isolate those muscles that are in the pelvis and helping tone, and keep those tight. And just like you work out any other part of your body, you really wanna focus on pelvic muscles as well.
There’s medications that you can take that you can discuss with your doctor and find out which one would be the best one for you if you’re having light bladder leakage. And then also looking into our more invasive like surgical or procedures. When you talk about light bladder leakage or urinary incontinence, there really are really great procedures out there such as the bladder sling. And some call that a transobturator tape and that also helps with urinary incontinence as well.
On what women can incorporate into their daily routine to help manage those bladder leaks
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the key things that we like women to be empowered by because that’s really going to affect their daily activity. And in this instance, decrease light bladder leakage. Whether that’s with exercising, so you can decrease obesity, working with actual pelvic physical therapists, but also incorporating exercise such as yoga and Pilates into your daily activities because that really does focus on your core and your pelvic muscles.
And also watching the food that you intake, food that sometimes can contribute to increasing light bladder leakage and urinary incontinence issues. So having a clean diet, exercising, and also having a great relationship with your healthcare provider and doctor to make sure that you’re doing everything that you can to help maintain healthy lifestyle and decreasing light bladder leakage.
For more information on LBL and everything that we discussed today, you can visit poise.com. There you’ll find an entire section dedicated to LBL advice, including education and awareness videos; as well as Poise products and their special offerings.
About Jessica Shepherd MD, MBA:
Dr. Shepherd is an OB/GYN and women’s health expert and the founder of Her Viewpoint, an online women’s health forum that focuses on addressing taboo topics in a comfortable setting. As an OB/GYN, she practices at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX. As a health care expert, she strives to educate women on their bodies and how to address their physical, emotional health in addition to the incorporation of wellness. Dr. Shepherd is also seen regularly as an expert on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Dr. Oz, Steve Harvey, CBS News, and FOX news.