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Take Back Your Bladder (Control)

Take Back Your Bladder (Control)

10 tips from a urogynecologist specializing in female pelvic medicine to reclaim your old-self.

Getting older can be a good thing: we have stories to tell, wisdom to impart and resilience to expand. But as our age climbs, so do our number of medical ailments - some of which we didn’t even know existed - especially for women. 

We can feel like we’re stuck living in an older person’s body even though we are still young at heart. Ailments like incontinence, pelvic floor disorders, bladder and bowel control issues, sexual discomfort, and general leakage. How are we supposed to live our best lives if we’re living in the bathroom?

These 10 tips from Dr. Anne Stachowicz, a urogynecologist specializing in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at The Christ Hospital, tells us how we can take back control of our bladders. 

  1. Leave shame at the door. 

Although pelvic floor disorders in women can often be clouded in embarrassment and shame, Dr. Stachowicz wants us to remember that these disorders are commonplace. Embarrassment and guilt won’t make your symptoms disappear. 

  1. Seek help. 
Women are notoriously known for placing themselves and their issues last on the priority list. Let’s think, would you tell your friend to just suck it up and live with frustrating symptoms? You most likely wouldn’t. 
You don’t actually have to live with these bothersome symptoms. 
Symptoms like: frequent bowel or bladder control problems, urine leakage or incontinence, overactive bladder, bladder pain or frequent bladder infections, incontinence of stool, chronic constipation or difficulty evacuating your bowels. 
It is worth taking the time to seek care for these symptoms so that you can live your best life. 

  1. Remember: this is common.

According to Dr. Stachowicz, “Urinary incontinence becomes common as a woman ages. I typically tell my patients that approximately 25% or younger women, 50% of middle-aged women, and 75% of older women experience some degree of urinary leakage.” 

  1. Acknowledge these problems are normal. But living with them shouldn’t be. 

Despite being so common, these problems are not a normal part of aging you should have to live with. Seeking an incontinence and pelvic floor care plan with specialists at The Christ Hospital will always be catered towards you and your medical needs. 

  1. Breathe! There are medical specialists for this specific problem.  

The Christ Hospital pelvic floor care team always uses the most advanced technology and personalized care plans because they are passionate about returning women to their quality of life.

Dr. Stachowicz is a urogynecologist, which is a “health provider that specializes in treatment of bladder and pelvic floor disorders such as prolapse.” She moved to Cincinnati to complete her three-year female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery fellowship at The Christ Hospital and now practices Urogynecology exclusively. 

  1. Recognize the many different treatments available.

The journey to healing on your road to bladder recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.

Dr. Stachowicz says, “Treatments range from physical therapy, medications, vaginal inserts, office procedures, or brief outpatient surgical procedures.”  

  1. Manage your fluid intake.  
A first step in the right direction can start with monitoring your fluid consumption. 

“A good rule of thumb to use is to limit total daily fluid intake to 64 ounces and to limit caffeine intake to 1 serving per day,” says Dr. Stachowicz.

  1. Take small strides in the right direction.
If you are overweight, even small achievements in weight loss can make dramatic improvements in bladder symptoms.

Dr. Stachowicz adds, “Studies have shown that weight loss of as little as 8% of a woman’s baseline weight can improve urinary incontinence by up to 50%.”  

  1. Commence busyness. 

Good news. Even if conservative measures don’t work, many treatments require little to no downtime - you can jump back into your normal life soon after.

  1. Reach out.

A great first step in taking back control is to reach out. You can call your primary care provider or OBGYN for a referral to a urogynecologist. Or, to schedule an appointment with a urogynecologist at The Christ Hospital, connect with The Christ Hospital ezCare Concierge here.  

For more information on Women's Health at the Christ Hospital, check out our resource page here.

Dr. Anne Stachowicz completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Dayton in Ohio, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Medicine. She then relocated to Indiana to obtain her medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Stachowicz then began her obstetrics and gynecology residency at Mercy Hospital St. Louis, where she served as chief resident in her final year. Lastly, she moved to Cincinnati to complete her three-year Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship at the Christ Hospital and has been here ever since. 

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