Irish research has shown that 15% of people experience overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms but more shockingly, 90% of those people would avoid visiting the doctor to discuss the issue.
This week is World Continence Week and experts are using it as a way to encourage the public to take action.
President of the Continence Foundation of Ireland, Dr Suzanna O Sullivan is trying to break down the stigma of talking about continence issues.
“Overactive bladder symptoms, which include incontinence, are more common in both women and men than people realise.
“When you have OAB, you usually need to urinate more frequently and may have a very strong urge that makes you rush to the toilet, and can wake you up at night. It can be socially embarrassing for some people – and it shouldn’t be. Always visit your GP to find out how to manage any symptoms you have.”
But what’s worse is that people think there is nothing you can do to make improvements.
Especially women who have had children.
Often we settle in thinking ‘that’s just the way it is now’ but it doesn’t have to be.
Expert physiotherapist, Maeve Whelan had this advice for those who are experiencing OAB symptoms:
“There are some simple solutions you can try right away to curb urinary incontinence. For example, a pelvic floor exercise called a Kegel is great to do every day.
“Kegels work by squeezing pelvic floor muscles as if you’re trying to stop urinating. Get into the habit of doing them daily – about three times a day.
“They can stop leakage or significantly prevent it."
OAB is an issue that nobody likes to discuss but when 15% of us experience symptoms, we should not be ashamed.
That’s the main message behind World Continence Week says Dr Suzanna.
“World Continence Week is so important, because it’s aiming to draw attention to and increase public awareness about incontinence and bladder control issues, and give sufferers the confidence to seek help and improve their quality of life.”
You can do your own self-assessment if you’re worried by visiting oab.ie where you can get a free bladder diary, symptom tracker and avail of their helpful videos.