Am I incontinent?
October 3, 2009 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Am I incontinent? [Lady-parts and bodily-functions filter]

I am a 25-year-old female. In the past month or so, I have noticed that occasionally I feel a few drops of liquid drip out of what feels like my urethral opening. Sometimes this happens when I cough, and sometimes it happens spontaneously. The obvious explanation is that I am peeing a little bit and I need to strengthen my PC muscles. But then there are a few reasons why I think that might not be right in this case:

-It doesn't smell like urine (I don't think, though maybe in such small quantities it's hard to tell)
-When it dries on my underwear, it's opaque like regular vaginal discharge (however, it seems more liquidy than regular discharge while still wet)
-It doesn't feel like I'm peeing when it happens -- I don't feel like any "valves" are opening up, if that makes sense
-Nor do I feel like I need to pee when it happens; my bladder doesn't feel noticeably full

A potentially related fact is that I have vaginismus, and my PC muscles are unbelievably tight at all times. This would lead me to believe that incontinence isn't the problem, but then again I've heard that women with vaginismus often have weak PC muscles despite their illusory strength.

Also, it is my understanding that female ejaculate comes out of the urethra; I have never had that particular experience, nor am I aroused when this (pseudo-?)incontinence occurs.

So, fellow Mefite possessors-of-lady-parts, is this some normal aspect of the female anatomy that I've never encountered before or do I need to start doing Kegels? I'm not asking for medical advice, obviously, nor am I particularly worried; I have a pelvic exam scheduled in a month and I'll ask my doctor about it then, but in the meantime I was curious about it. 25 seems a bit too young to have to start wearing Depends.

Throwaway e-mail: (would you believe 1 and 2 are already taken?)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could be incontinence. But could also be fluid from your fallopian tubes if your tubes are blocked from endometriosis or past chlamydia infection. Probably best to see a doctor. If it's urine, a physiotherapist who specialises in pelvic floors could really help.
posted by taff at 2:10 PM on October 3, 2009

I've um, heard, that this is pretty normal. My general feeling about these things is that lady parts are kinda complicated and there's a lot happening with fluids down there. If it hurts, itches, or feels bad in any way, is a sudden change from what you're used to or is of a problematically large quantity, it might be something you should see a doctor about. You should probably see a doctor anyway, but I wouldn't freak out about possible Depends at 25 prematurely. It could be a tiny bit of pee, I guess. It could be a lot if things. If it isn't causing you any particular problem other than worry, well, it seems like that's a problem you can take care of without a doctor.
posted by MadamM at 2:59 PM on October 3, 2009

Doesn't sound like urine leakage. If it was, it would usually leave a telltale ring around the stain once it dried on your underwear. You would usually also feel the tiniest sensation of peeing (or "Oops! I wet my pants!") when it happens; that is, you could sort of tell it was coming from your bladder, and you'd probably even unconsciously clench up the Kegel muscles within nanoseconds after the fact, even though it's too late. Sounds like regular female-type discharge. Of course, IAMAD.
posted by Oriole Adams at 4:23 PM on October 3, 2009

This sounds normal, and not excessive. You know why we have that double cotton layer down there? Because females have drainage regularly.
posted by eatdonuts at 5:19 PM on October 3, 2009

It could be Stress Incontinence. Or maybe a low grade UTI. Sometimes you can have a UTI and have few symptoms.
posted by 6:1 at 6:50 PM on October 3, 2009

There are docs who specialize in this kind of thing--urogynecologists. I recently saw one for a very different issue but the pre-appointment information and the intake interview made it clear that they're used to seeing a wide range of phenomena, including the scenario you describe. If your internist or gynecologist aren't able to clear up your question, you might ask about getting a referral to one of these docs.
posted by Sublimity at 7:05 PM on October 3, 2009

Where are you in your monthy cycle when this happens? If this tends to happen at the same time every month, especially mid-month when you're likely to be ovulating, I'd suspect it to be vaginal discharge. If it burns, smells odd, or is excessive, see your doctor, but otherwise it's most likely normal.
posted by zinfandel at 8:31 PM on October 3, 2009

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