Potty talk with the Doc: Bladder, bowel leaking

Amanda Aguilar Image
Tuesday, October 18, 2022
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It's an embarrassing topic to talk about - how often you go to the bathroom. However, millions of people are living with incontinence issues.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's an embarrassing topic to talk about - how often you go to the bathroom.

However, millions of people are living with incontinence issues.

"There's nothing normal about leaking your urine, again, whether you're in your teens, or whether you're 90," said Dr. Jamie DiPietro.

Whether it's from your bladder or your bowel -- leaking, known as incontinence, is nothing to be embarrassed about. It's quite common.

"One out of six Americans worldwide have it. Here in the Valley, based on our data from insurance, about 60-some-thousand people have it," explained Dr. DiPietro, a urologist at Urology Associates of Central California.

She added that it is a concern when a patient feels like they'll leak if they don't go to the bathroom right away.

"Some of the hallmark symptoms are you're obsessed with finding the bathrooms whenever you go out, you have to know where they all are. This is called bathroom mapping. Or maybe you restrict your fluids," she shared. "Another one would be 'key in lock' syndrome, where you're approaching your house, you have the key, you're about to put it in the lock, you get that sudden urgency and you start to feel the urine coming."

According to Dr. DiPietro, overactive bladder and fecal incontinence aren't diseases. They're symptoms of an underlying problem or medical condition, which is why it can impact anyone at any age.

There is good news, as there are several treatments to manage it so it doesn't disrupt an individual's life.

"That can range from, on one end, behavioral changes all the way to surgery," Dr. DiPietro said. "In the middle, we have medication, we have physical therapy, we have office treatments, office procedures."

While these conditions aren't life-threatening, Dr. DiPietro said it can lead to self-isolation and a negative impact on quality of life, if left untreated.