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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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Comments and Questions

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Hi there, My problem with wetting seems to happen when I'm ill. Right now I have a throat infection that has gone around. Today is my first day ill and I have the fever yet cold chills, inflamed glands and an all mighty sore throat that makes swallowing uncomfortable. I still have to go to work this week, I cannot afford to miss work so I was taking my uniform out of the washing machine I just started urinating while walking across my kitchen. I couldn't stop it and I kept going until I reached my loo. My pyjama bottoms, knickers and slippers were wet through and it's upset me greatly. I have often had a wetting problem when I've been ill but usually from vomiting forcefully. I have one child who is 18, I'm 37 by the way, and I've had the odd mishap while sneezing and coughing since then but nothing like this. Any help would be appreciated. I've recently had a trapped static nerve and slipped disc with caused uncontrolled wetting but was told that is common for the severity of my condition at the time. Thank you for looking.





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I pee my pants every time I have to hide from my boyfriends mom. Is it my kidneys or nerves. And its always soooo much more then normal. Help





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Am 34 and 3 kids wen I jump or sneeze or laugh or shout / cough I wet myself I have to wear old lady pads I can't enjoy going on the tripling WIRH the kids as I wet myself a lot I also had a 3 degree tearR after last baby I can't do pelvic floor as I can't feel it much no more





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I'm 15 and I wee myself when I laugh really hard it's not even a little, I often find it gushing down my legs! Should I go to the doctors? How do I stop this?





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Hi I had a very over active bladder and constantly had accidents si nce the age of 4. I moved around a lot and no doctor seemed to take me seriously. As I got older it got worse and more embarrassing.I could be running to the toilet up to 4times a hour and still leaking. I would try the tablets the doctors recommended but this did not help. I was doing pelvic floor muscle exercises at the age of 12 which causes problems for me now as I can get to tense. I would not recommend this to anyone so young. Finally at 22i had enough and my doctor finally refereed ome to a specialist. I had many test and 3years ago at the age of 24 had a sacral nerve stimulator fitted. This helps my bladder control itself. It's the best thing that ever happened. Please always make your doctor listen. I believe they could of done something when I was younger. Saving me years of bullying.its not a normal procedure of someone my age but was the best thing I ever done.





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Hi I'm mike, I'm new to this Facebook thing but hello to all. Most people don't understand us who wear adult diapers, hard to find a girlfriend who wears them too, most won't admit to wearing them. But I keep on looking :-)





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Hi I am 43 and have 2 children aged 17 and 22 which I had both normal delivery. I have just decided to take up running, gentle jogging around the park nothing to strenuous! I'm not to over weight just needing to loose a few lbs and tone up, my problem is I keep on peeing as I'm jogging, I have started wearing a pad now, but is this right or should I seek professional help?





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I will be 40 in a few months and i have accidents when i laugh, sneeze, cough. It happen after my third child...

I am 14 years old and I have a problem with peeing.I pee whenever I play, cough or sneeze. but I really don't feel like peeing. Now the problems is severe. I wet my bed everyday. So I have to wear a diaper.





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I'm also 14 and I have the exact same problem..it mainly happens when I laugh, cough, sneeze ect. It's really embarrassing and I just want to know what it is and how to help prevent it.. :(

Im 14 (female), and i have had this for about5 years now, when i laugh i wee and its really embarrassing. Only recently i have had it when i sneeze, but only a bit, but when i laugh hard i wee. At first i thought it was normal due to the phrase i pee'd myself laughing, (lol) But then i noticed it getting worse, im definitely not telling my mom :( It happened at school and i didnt know what to do, i mean a 14 yr old peeing herself? I thought i would look it up and i found this, can someone please give me some tips how to stop it without having to tell my parents or doctors or friends? -Thanks

Hi iam 16 and I cant stop goingvto the toilet once I go spend at least 15 minutes to an hour its really embarrassing and my parents dont take it seriously when I dont go to the toilet I dont feel comfortable and I cant concentrate once I go to the toilet I feel much better but I worry that I spend too much time in the toilet some advice please !!!!!!





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Hi, I am 23yrs and ONLY during my period i have no control over my bladder which is really really really embarrasing , i am always needing to carry extra clothes during my time of the mth, can anyone tell me what causes this and how it can be fixed??????





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Hi I'm going through exact same Hun I'm on my periods at the moment and am so miserable iv got a flu I usually only get a heavy cough but its always awful I have to change 8 times a day because even though I wear sanitary towels I wet my self realy bad and have to keep changing iv been through the incontinence clinic but all the nurse did was give me leaflets on diet and pics of different poos lol she told me I should lose weight and exercise but I already knew about pelvic exercises . I'm too embarrassed seeing my new male gp about this problem and truth is I go through so many packs of pads a week I just realy want to recieve some that nhs provide but because like you I'm young and have 4 young kids nurses want me to fix myself up . Wish they'd know how it realy feels . So if you do want to fix the problem then try pelvic exercise u dnt have to lye down for it u can even be sitting all u do is squeeze your pelvic in and count to 10 then release this will strengthen your pelvis hope it helps xx





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More Information

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