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Urinary incontinence is a topic that most women shy away from talking about. But we shouldn’t. Almost half of all women in the U.S. will experience some degree of urinary incontinence.

There is no reason to endure in silence. With multiple treatment options, it is possible to restore your bladder function.

Women are especially prone to bladder control problems because after menopause your body stops making estrogen. Aside from controlling your monthly periods, estrogen also helps keep the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy. Also, as you age, the muscles of your pelvic floor weaken due to damage during pregnancy, childbirth and weight gain.

There are different types of bladder control problems — each having its own variety of options for treatment. Symptoms vary from feeling the urge to “go” all the time; to leakage when you sneeze, cough or otherwise stress the abdomen; or when you can’t completely empty your bladder. It’s important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms so he or she can best identify the cause of your incontinence and recommend appropriate treatment.

Many women see improvement by making lifestyle modifications. These include avoiding bladder irritants such as caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages; and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises. If that does not work, your doctor may prescribe medication, recommend devices that can help, or even consider surgery.

It’s important to recognize that urinary incontinence is common and treatable. Let your doctor know what symptoms you are experiencing so he or she can help you.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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