Local News

Doctors Urge Women With Incontinence To Speak Up

Posted November 13, 2002 8:33 a.m. EST

— Doctors say overactive bladders are something people rarely talk about, but it affects more people than asthma and Parkinson's. Incontinence affects more women than men.

Lil Bezgela is extremely active. She says her problems with incontinence are creating a nuisance in her life.

Experts say incontinence is more common than most people realize. It affects one in five women under the age of 65. Doctors say more than half of those women keep it a secret.

"It's not a problem that a woman has to live with," said Bezgela.

Jean Kincade, a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studies behavioral therapies for incontinence through the

Wake & Nash Women's Project

. She said one part of her research focuses on lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine and increasing fluid intake.

"A lot of women do think it's sort of less in, less out. But if a woman doesn't drink enough fluids, then the urine becomes more concentrated and irritating," said Kincade.

Doctors said Kegel exercises strengthen the bladder. When Bezgela participated in the study, she said the exercises worked for her.

"I'm sitting here and can do it right now," said Bezgela.

Bezgela said she is glad she told her doctor about her incontinence and hopes other women will do the same.

"It's not necessary to handicap yourself like that," said Bezgela. "It's a very easy process."

Other treatment options include medication and surgery. For more information on these studies, call (877) 695-9545.