Scientific American presents House Call Doctor by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.

Urinary incontinence is definitely one of the most embarrassing health problems that many patients suffer from, but are afraid to ask about. It’s up there with anal itching, hirsutism, dandruff, and nipple discharge, all previous topics I’ve covered on Quick and Dirty Tips. It is so common that it is likely underestimated – research shows that 1 in 4 women over the age of 18 suffer from it. It is also thought that men suffer nearly as much as women do, but they are less likely to seek their doctor’s help or talk about it.

It always makes me so sad to hear a patient tell me that they’ve been hiding their incontinence issues for years before they finally admit to it. Because we are doctors, we know how common it is, we see it every day…so let us help. Tell us. 

We know it can be an uncomfortable topic to talk about, so that’s why today I’d like to discuss techniques that you can actually do at home on your own to help retrain your bladder and alleviate your symptoms.

What Is Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is simply the involuntary leakage of urine. Some patients may leak urine on their way to the bathroom – this is called “urgency incontinence.” And some patients may leak with coughing, sneezing, and laughing, and this is termed “stress incontinence.” The truth is, most people have what’s called “mixed incontinence,” and they suffer from a mix of both forms.

Continue reading on