Everything about urinary incontinence is uncomfortable. Experiencing it, talking about it, and taking control of bladder leaks is embarrassing and most women try to avoid the topic altogether. While they might be embarrassing, they’re a more common problem than we may realize. Urinary Incontinence impacts over 15 million adult women in the US. But how are women supposed to find comfort while dealing with such an uncomfortable problem?
What do Light Bladder Leaks Mean?
To take control of a problem, it is best to first understand it. While there are different types of urinary incontinence such as Urge Incontinence, we’re specifically talking about Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI), a condition in which a little bit of urine is involuntarily released whenever the bladder or urinary tract is put under “stress” or pressure. The pressure could be minimal, caused by something as simple as a sneeze or a laugh. Light bladder leaks develop because of weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles, nerves, or tissue. There are various reasons and a combination of contributing factors such as trauma from surgery involving the pelvic floor, vaginal birth, medication, years of high-impact activities, hormonal changes, chronic coughing, and obesity that could be causing leaks. Women are more likely to experience stress incontinence over men due to the amount of internal and external variables women’s bodies go through over the course of life. Such things as pregnancy and menopause affect it, and because physically the urethra is shorter in female anatomy, which increase risk of leaks with damage.
Being physically uncomfortable in your environment because of bladder leaks can affect mood, behavior, and ultimately impact relationships and social life.There are several product options and solutions for women to ensure that they remain comfortable all day. To help keep women dry there are products like disposable pads and liners made especially for urinary incontinence. These liners are applied to underwear, much like menstrual pads and liners are. The difference is that incontinence pads are made to quickly absorb urine when there’s a leak, as opposed to period protection which guards against a different form of liquid with different viscosity. Often times, these disposable products contain chemicals that are meant to absorb liquid at this fast rate.
Another solution to reduce leaks and ensure comfort is incontinence underwear. These garments are designed to take the place of both the underwear and pad or liner by combining the two. Incontinence underwear comes in various sizes, cuts, colors, and patterns to make them feel as comfortable and discreet as possible. There are both washable and one-time use versions of these garments as well. One downfall of these types of products is the amount of wearability time users have to remain comfortable and clean. Incontinence pads, liners, and garments should be changed every 3-4 hours even if not soiled to maintain skin hygiene and reduce the risk of odor.
While managing physical comfort when dealing with bladder leaks is challenging and embarrassing, a lot of women feel that they’re emotionally uncomfortable because of their leaks. Some women end up isolating themselves to avoid embarrassing leaks in public or in front of friends. Self-esteem and self-image are also greatly impacted because of involuntary leaks, it’s hard to feel confident when a leak can come at any moment. Because incontinence is closely related to age, women may feel that they’re just getting older and it’s another step in the process so they don’t feel the need to discuss it. Opening up about symptoms, even to loved ones or a healthcare professional can be nearly impossible for some women, but it is vitally important to receive emotional support from these people. Although urinary incontinence is never fun to discuss, it is important to share what you’re experiencing with others so that they may help you physically and emotionally.
Women who want comfort and all-day protection now have another option, a new bladder support device called Revive. Revive is a one size pessary that is inserted by the user to help reduce leaks and stay dry. The soft silicone design was made to fit inside the vaginal canal naturally and comfortably for up to 12 hours a day. In clinical trials, 90% of participants felt that Revive was a good fit upon first use and 83% said they would recommend it to others. It’s also FDA-approved for over-the-counter use, meaning you can pick it up at your local retailer without a prescription. Once done, Revive is easy to remove, clean, and reuse to help reduce waste and minimize cost.