There is still a lot of stigma attached with discussing a pelvic health issue as opposed to discussing, say, a back problem. But both should be given attention if they are becoming bothersome, and both should be subjects you regularly discuss with your doctor.
Before you go see your doctor, so you know what symptoms are serious, it’s good to look further into the various issues that can crop up “below the belt.” Or, perhaps you’re back from the doctor and would like a recap of everything that you discussed there. There can be a lot of information to remember!
Urinary incontinence can be an indicator of other pelvic health issues. Keep in mind that incontinence is not a diagnosis in and of itself: it is a symptom of a larger issue that should be addressed. Stress can sometimes cause incontinence, and the way to treat it is to treat the stress, not just the incontinence (and stress in this case doesn’t only mean mental stress – it can be physical stress as well). If you find yourself having leaks, even if they are small, on a somewhat regular basis, you should see your doctor. There may be exercises or lifestyle changes you can make to stop these leaks. In the meantime, you may find pads, liners or protective underwear helpful.
Another type of incontinence that may not actually result in leaks is called “urge incontinence,” and it can be described as the need to urinate, even if you have just done so. This can also have various diagnoses, and while it may not require the same incontinence supplies, it can be extremely inconvenient.
There is another type of pelvic health issue that women should be aware of: pelvic organ prolapse (POP). What happens during a prolapse is that the muscles and tissues holding various pelvic organs in place can become weak or stretched. This may result in an organ moving from its original position, or prolapse. This can cause not only incontinence, but pain or bulges in the pelvic area. A doctor should be able to diagnosis this condition and discuss treatment options with you.