There’s a perception that weak bladders and urinary incontinence are the sole preserve of the aged, but there’s a good proportion of younger people – even those in their late teens and early twenties – who also have problems with leaky bladders.
A survey of 1 000 young women conducted by a Monash University in Melbourne, Australia[i]revealed that 13 percent of respondents had experienced weak bladder symptoms in the month before the survey, challenging long-held beliefs that this health problem only occurs as a result of pregnancy and ageing.
Young men don’t escape either – their penchant for wearing tight skinny jeans may be doing their nether regions all manner of harm. A survey of2 000 British men in July this year, conducted by TENA Men indicated that 50 percent of men who wore skinny jeans experienced groin discomfort, more than 25 percent suffered bladder problems, and one in five men experienced a twisted testicle.
Too-tight jeans a health hazard
The message is clear – men should not put style before their health, as wearing clothes that restrict the groin area could seriously damage their health. Tight-fitting jeans can put additional pressure on the bladder as well as causing bacteria to breed and re-enter the body, resulting in urinary tract infections.
For young men, buying a bigger size of jeans might solve the problem, but if symptoms of bladder weakness persist, it’s vital they seek help. The same goes for young women. “Any involuntary leaking of urine from the bladder must be investigated,” says Johannesburg-based urologist Dr Margaret Fockema.
“There are so many options for combating the symptoms, depending on what’s causing them,” she notes. “Simple interventions like lifestyle changes and bladder training may be sufficient to sort out the problem.”
The bottom line, however, is that bladder weakness affects women and men of all ages – and help in the form of lifestyle modification, purpose-designed incontinence products medication and various other medical and surgical treatments are readily available, but the symptoms will not go away by themselves. You need to seek medical help if you experience any involuntary loss of urine – it’s not something you can sort out by yourself.
 “Urinary Incontinence in Young Nulligravid Women: A Cross-sectional Analysis” by Tessa O'Halloran; Robin J. Bell, MBBS, PhD; Penelope J. Robinson, MBiostat; and Susan R. Davis, MBBS, PhD, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, 17 July 2012.
(Press release by Tynago Communications, January 2013)