INCONTINENCE: PELVIC FLOOR DISORDERS?
Survey Finds Common Condition Is Ignored
About one-in-four women has a pelvic floor disorder-such as incontinence or having a uterus that has dropped out of place-but many don't tell their doctors, a recent survey finds. "Some women are embarrassed, and some think [this is] a normal part of aging," says Victor Nitti, MD, vice chairman of urology at New York University Langone Medical Center. "Either way, it's not something women will often report spontaneously.
The survey involved about 2,000 women who were at least 20 years old experiencing moderate to severe leakage not due to laughter or sneezing. "The most important thing women need to realize is they're not alone," says study lead author Ingrid Nygaard, MD, a uro-gynecologist and professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. "Pelvic floor disorders aren't dangerous and are treatable." The research was published in the Sept. 17, 2008 issue of JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association.
First, be open with your doctor. "You shouldn't be embarrassed to bring it to the attention of your healthcare providers," says Dr. Nitti. Even a change in one of your medications might help solve the problem. Try pelvic muscle exercises known as Kegels-but be sure to get the proper instructions from a healthcare professional. Also, simple lifestyle changes-such as avoiding spicy foods, carbonated drinks, alcohol and caffeine-may help.