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Video

Dr Dawn:
There’s no question, people who suffer with urinary incontinence are embarrassed about it. They don’t tell their friends, they often avoid going out socially and some even keep it secret from their partners. Silent sufferers can spend their lives hiding the tell-tale signs that they have a bladder problem but it’s estimated that up to six million people in the UK have urinary incontinence. It’s twice as common in women as men, and affects many women who have had children.

There are different types of urinary incontinence but the most common is called stress incontinence. Sufferers find any physical activity like coughing, laughing or sneezing can trigger urine to leak. For some, even having sex of just stretching up to get something off a shelf will result in a leak.

Regular pelvic floor exercises can stop you from getting stress incontinence, and will actually cure the problem in three out of four cases. If you suffer, and are unsure how to exercise your pelvic floor muscles, your GP can refer you to a physiotherapist or incontinence advisor who will show you how to do this properly.

If after six weeks there is no improvement, they can offer you specialist techniques including vaginal cones or electrical stimulation which may help. Occasionally physiotherapy alone isn’t enough to cure incontinence in which case surgery may be an option. Recently a surgical procedure using tension-free vaginal tape has been used. It’s non-invasive and can be done under local or general anaesthetic. The operation involves placing a U-shaped piece of synthetic tape underneath the urethra, the tube leading out from your bladder. This gives the neck of the bladder and the urethra the support they’re missing so the leaks stop and recovery times are quick.

Urinary incontinence is a common problem and if you’re suffering in silence then stop, go and speak to your doctor. It’s confidential, they will have heard it all before, probably that week and most importantly, they’ll be able to help.

Read the video transcript

Quick Health Advice: Stress Incontinence

It is estimated that 6 million people in the UK suffer from urinary incontinence, and it is twice as common in women as men. In this exclusive guide, Dr Harper explains the causes of this surprisingly common, but distressing, condition and advises on the exercises, techniques and surgery that can help alleviate the problem. Suffering in silence is the only option no longer available.

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My 13 year old daughter is having problems with wetting herself without even knowing that she has done it can be just sat there not needing the toilet and she stands up and her pants are saturated at the back and not knowing she has wet herself





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I'm a 13 year old female and everytime I laugh, even if it isn't even that hard, I wet myself. I've not told anyone about it before, except when I've wet the bed before I told my mum. It's so embarrassing, I have to fake excuses. Sometimes I don't go out or try not to have fun in fear of it happening again. I hate hate hate it.





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I am 33 year old woman and I wet myself a lot. Most nights I wet myself while I am asleep and wear nappys to bed (I have worn nappies at night my whole life) and in the day time I can only hold my wee for a short time and often wet myself if I can't get to the toilet quickly. Some times it's a little bit and some times it's a lot so it's best for me to wear a nappy if I am not sure that there will be a toilet that I can get to straight away. It's nothing to do with laughing coughing or sneezing or any thing like that and I have never been pregnant or had a baby. I have seen lots of doctors and specialists for it but none of them have been able to cure my problem and none of the medicines and tablets they have given me have worked and have only given me side affects. Some doctors don't believe me and one actually accused me of wetting myself on purpose which I don't. So I've given up with doctors and just use nappys to control it.





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I am a 65 year old female, I am carrying a little extra weight, but other than that I am very healthy, but I need to pee, so frequently in the day and I can't hold it, if I don't go straight away it just pours out, I can't hold it! And I get up about 3 times a night. I have 2 kegel 8 machines for pelvic floor excercises and I use these every night and morning, have done so for 3 months, I don't know what to do!! Doctor just gave me tablets, which I didn't take because of horrible side effects





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Im 14 and its so painful for me to go to school now beacuase me and my friends like to joke around then i laugh and i just staring pissing a little dribble then i clench my muscles and my legs cramp im debating if i shoud just wear a tampon or pad to help catch some but is so bad that i feel i have to call my mom and that is embassing for me.





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I don't know how to start i got problem or maybe not I try to stop when I am in public at friend when not home I don't do pee myself but only at home I pee myself I start that when I was 15 years old now I am 41 year old I never tell nobody about this I try to think why I do that and where I start that is unknown maybe is for fun or maybe wear to said that I try to stop not work





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I have been wetting myself im on meds for mental illness and high blood pressure and diabetes. I'm thirsty a lot. I smoke. I'm tired. I don't sleep at night.





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I am 17 and have a persistent problem. I will go to the toilet fine, carry on with daily things and suddenly get a bad pain down below and lose control of my bladder. It's not just tiny drips either. It's starting to get VERY embarrassing and I'm incredibly self conscious because of it. I'm on a combined pill, and have suffered with IBS in the past. Can somebody please offer me some advice?





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Hi i am 16 and going on 17 soon and I've been drippling. I've been on antibiotics because I did have a urine infection. But the anti biotics got rid of it but i still I'm drippling in my pants frequently this is not normal for me because i didnt do this before. Please help i don't know what to do anymore





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I'm 14 and I suddenly get urges to go the toilet but can't hold it in. Even if I'm just walking to the toilet I'll start peeing myself and is try so hard to make it stop but it keeps coming. It's starting to happen more frequently. I don't know what's wrong with me.





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