Leaking urine involuntarily, or stress incontinence, is a common problem for many women, especially after childbirth and with aging. But you don’t need to live with this discomfort, BCH OBGYN Dr. Jeremiah McNamara recently told Denver 7’s Nicole Brady.

“Stress incontinence is a problem that too many women are familiar with, where they lose control of their bladder when they laugh, sneeze, jump, exercise or do other normal everyday activities. It’s an issue where they feel like they don’t have the strength to hold that urine back,” said Dr. McNamara, an OBGYN at Boulder Women’s Care.

Stress incontinence is caused by lack of strength and coordination of the muscles of the pelvic floor. Although it does occur in men, it’s much more common in women, especially after childbirth. It is much more prevalent than people realize, and its incidence also increases with age: 30% of women over 30 have it, 40% of women over 40, and 50% of women over 50. Being overweight or smoking also increase risk for this condition.

When Dr. McNamara sees women for this problem, he explains that there are effective same-day surgical procedures that can eliminate this problem forever--and shares some good tips and tricks in terms of lifestyle changes that can help as a first step.

Watch your fluid intake. Many women assume that more water throughout the day is always better, but too much water drinking can make this issue worse.

Minimize caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol. All of these substances are known bladder irritants that can make things worse.

Plan regular bathroom breaks. You’re more likely to avoid leakage if you don’t allow your bladder to get too full.

Strengthen your pelvic floor. Skilled physical therapists (PTs) specialize in these problems and can work with you to address your individual situation and to help strengthen muscles. You can also do some research and start doing daily Kegel exercises at home. There are several app-based devices on the market that help your track your progress.

Ultimately if it’s a problem that’s starting to really affect your life, Dr. McNamara recommends coming in for a consultation, where you can get referrals to pelvic-floor PTs and other resources, and learn about range of treatment options, including effective permanent solutions.

To schedule an appointment, call Boulder Women’s Care at 303-441-0587.