It’s a rare day when people tell us their family has a known history of bladder and bowel concerns. So often, a struggle with overactive bladder is considered a rite of passage with childbirth, or an enlarged prostate is chocked up to older age. While age and the stress of childbirth are two predominant factors in both of those symptoms, it can still be very helpful for families to learn when and why their loved ones experienced struggles with continence so they can take proactive measures to avoid the same circumstances.
Two examples of how this could play out are outlined below:
· A woman experiences leakage and stress incontinence after having a baby, only to hear from their mothers that they experienced the same thing.
· A man tells his parents about his latest test result only to hear his father say, “Oh yea. I struggled with an enlarged prostate before I finally went to the doctor last year.”
In the examples above, both individuals with new bladder health concerns could have taken preventative measures to lessen the chances of them getting to the point they are now.
The woman could’ve talked to her yoga or Pilates instructor and asked for tips to build her pelvic floor before labor and delivery. Or, when she built her birthing plan with her Doctor, she could’ve stressed consideration her Mother’s past experiences.
If the man had known his father’s situation, he could’ve talked to his doctor about his family history during his yearly check up months earlier. Maybe his father’s experience would’ve spurred him to take note of his prostate health much sooner.
We encourage an open dialogue about bladder and bowel concerns for two reasons: being transparent can help future generations learn how to best care for their bodies and being honest about a health concern can foster a community of family and friends who keep you accountable to a treatment plan.
When’s the last time you spoke to your family about bladder health? Share your experience below.