If you always feel like you have to pee—say, sometimes, you can’t quite make it to the bathroom before it starts trickling out—or you experience some leakage whenever you let out a loud laugh, you may be dealing with a loss of bladder control, also known as urinary incontinence. But if you're still not sure if urinary incontinence is plaguing you, here are some signs it’s time to bring up your bladder control with a doctor.
1. You pee when you laugh, sneeze, or cough
This is a classic sign of stress incontinence: A little bit of pee comes out when you laugh, cough, or sneeze because these actions put excess pressure on the abdomen and a weakened pelvic floor.
2. You pee when you run, jump or exercise
Heavy lifting and high-impact movements, like running and jumping, also put pressure on your bladder and the surrounding muscles. If you notice that you pee a little, say, during intense workouts or even when you’re rushing out the door to get to the office quickly, that’s a good indication you may be experiencing stress incontinence.
3. You carry around extra underwear or extra panty liners
If you carry extra underwear, pads, or panty liners with you at all times “just in case,” that means urinary incontinence is making a big enough impact in your day to be top of mind. If it’s come to this, it's time to consider talking to your doctor about your options.
4. Your worry is starting to take over your life.
If worrying about leaking or always making sure that you’re close to a bathroom weighs on you and stops you from going to the gym, jumping on the trampoline with your kids, or dussuades you from going out in public, call your doctor. If the incontinence is keeping you from doing things that you want to do, that’s absolutely a reason to get help.
Living with urinary incontinence can cause a lot of stress and worry, which can understandably take a toll on your day-to-day life. In general, incontinence is something that women typically don’t like to talk about, but reaching out to a health care provider for guidance gives you a chance to treat the issue and stop it from wreaking havoc on your body and mind.