NEW YORK — It’s uncomfortable and often untimely, but not as unusual as one might think: a recent survey finds that 61% of women regularly deal with bladder leaks.
In fact, researchers say that a third of the 2,000 women surveyed typically experience multiple leaks in a day. About one in five respondents young and old (19%) say they battle bladder leaks every day without fail. And of course it seems that the problem tends to occur at the worst times — 62% said they’ve experienced leaks in public places.
Overall, one in four respondents said their social life has suffered because of bladder leaks and fears of them occurring in public. Not surprisingly, more than half (54%) of those who deal with these experiences feels embarrassed by them, though when it occurs in public, that number jumps to 70%. About a third (34%) say they feel ashamed after a public leak, and 29% say bladder leaks make them feel old.
While 88% of respondents feel that bladder issues like minor wetting are common among women no matter the age, half still feel their quality of life has worsened because of leaks. Nearly half (47%) say they struggle with low self-esteem as a result, and 32% have never told anyone about the problem.
“It’s no secret that bladder leaks happen often, but women are still so afraid of admitting to or discussing them at all. This survey demonstrates just how common leaks with adult women are and how that impacts their lives,” says Kejal Macdonald, Vice President of Marketing for pee-proof underwear maker Icon, which commissioned the study, in a statement. “Given all of this now evident information, it’s clear we have a long way to go to reduce the stigma surrounding bladder leaking.”
The survey results also revealed that many women avoid certain activities so they don’t have to deal with leakage in public. More than a quarter (27%) regularly miss out on social events with others. Twenty-two percent simply avoid jumping at all times, and 21% avoid long car trips.
As for more comment preventative measures taken by respondents, 67% wear panty liners, 51% use the bathroom multiple times before leaving, 39% avoid drinking water, and 22 percent research various rest stop options along their travel route before going out.
“At a time when women’s health is such an important mainstream topic, we have to get rid of the shame around bladder leaks,” says Macdonald.
Researchers say nearly every woman will experience a bladder leak at some point in their lives.
The survey was carried out by market research firm OnePoll.