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Don’t Let Urinary Incontinence Stop You!

By Elizabeth Chase, MD, Garrison Women's Health Center in Dover

Chase_Elizabeth.jpgI love to run, love to kick box, love to swing kettlebells, and I really love jumping on trampolines. At 54, I still love jumping rope.  I’m terrible at most sports, but on those rare occasions when I actually hit a softball out in the field, I love the exhilarating feeling of sprinting past first base. A few years ago, I went with one of my sons to Costa Rica, and we rode through the jungle and past a beautiful lake on horses that only seemed to understand trot and gallop. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Or did you just have to cross your legs and squeeze even imagining doing any one of those activities?

Every day in my practice, I encourage women to get out there and move to achieve or maintain a healthy weight and simply enjoy life. I always praise their efforts because their efforts deserve to be praised. We display pictures of women climbing their 40th 4,000 footer, running Tough Mudders, and dancing in Tanzania, because all these activities deserve positive reinforcement.

But if every time you pull yourself out of bed early, or make that extra stop on the way home to exercise, you are instead annoyed by the warm feeling generated by the first jumping jack, mortified by a stream of pee going down your leg, or slowed down on your run by yet another trip to the bathroom, you are not getting the positive reinforcement you deserve.

Right now, I want to praise every single woman who gets out there every day to exercise despite facing the annoying and embarrassing obstacle of urinary leakage.

But I also want to tell you that you do not have to live with this. If you don’t exercise or are not active because of leakage, there are steps you can take to fix the leakage. The absolutely most rewarding part of my job as a urogynecologist is to hear what women ARE doing ever since they got their incontinence problem treated. Or got that super uncomfortable issue of pelvic organ prolapse fixed.   

Nothing makes me happier than hearing about a dry home run in softball, a pee-free pass in soccer, or a run during which a woman’s pelvis did not weigh her down with that “uncomfortable bulge”. I love the delightfully warming story of a grandmother who could pick up her grandchild without fear or the mom who climbs onto the trampoline with her kids. 

When you do seek care for your incontinence or pelvic prolapse, no one can honestly guarantee that you will be dry, but your chances for successful treatment and cure are very high. So much higher than they will be if you just shrug and learn to live with it. 

Urinary leakage is not a normal consequence of aging nor is it a necessary cost of childbearing. I encourage you to discuss this problem with your healthcare provider today and get yourself some of that positive reinforcement that will put a little skip in your step - a DRY skip!

Dr. Elizabeth Chase is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has a special interest in urinary leakageand pelvic organ prolapse, robotic surgery, advanced laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, women’s sexual health, and vaginitis.To make an appointment, call (603) 742-0101. 

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