Literally millions upon millions of women live with the perceived shame of
frequent urination, excessive sweating, vaginal odor, gas, and other
embarrassing conditions. They just don't want to talk about it.
"The most embarrassing conditions are the toilet talk topics, meaning
anything having to do with anything that goes on in the bathroom -- including
frequent urination, bladder problems, bowel problems, period problems, and
vaginal discharge," says Donnica Moore, MD, a
women's health expert based in Far Hills, N.J. "Toilet talk is followed by body
odors, vaginal odors, and bad breath in terms of embarrassing women's health
But keeping tight-lipped about these issues does a disservice, since many
times an effective treatment is available, she tells WebMD. Here are the top
six most embarrassing conditions facing women and why you should stay silent no
more. Starting with:
Frequent urination. "We know that over 17 million American
women have problems with bladder control, and yet people are embarrassed to
talk about it because they think that once you are toilet-trained you should be
able to 'control yourself,'" says Moore. "We also see these issues as
conditions associated with aging, and nobody
wants to admit that they are getting older. But one in three women with
frequent urination is under 35.
"Leaking urine is abnormal under any circumstances once you have been toilet
trained, but the good news is that there are many different treatment options
for people with frequent urination," she says. "Health care providers have
dropped the ball and don’t necessarily ask patients straight out, 'Do you leak
urine?' or 'Do you have any bladder problems?'"
So the onus falls on the patient.
"Your doctor is not going to judge you, and potentially your doctor can help
you," she says. "Step 1, make an appointment. Step 2, go. And Step 3, be very
up-front and say 'The reason I am here today is because I have a leaky
bladder,'" she suggests.
Self-help solutions may just make frequent urination worse. "Some women with
an overactive bladder will restrict their fluid intake and that can actually
worsen the condition by increasing bladder irritability," Moore says.
Frequent urination is not normal, but it is common in the perimenopausal
years, says Jacqueline Thielen, MD, a consultant at the women's health clinic
at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. Medications, certain
dietary changes, and Kegel exercises to strengthen some of the muscles that
control the flow of urine may help, she says.
Frequent urination can also be a sign of an underlying illness and requires
evaluation, she tells WebMD. It may also be a side-effect of a medication you