Behavioral And Lifestyle Changes
Changing your lifestyle may help with bladder problems. Losing weight, quitting smoking, saying no to alcohol, choosing water instead of other drinks, and limiting drinks before bedtime can help with some bladder problems. Preventing constipation and avoiding lifting heavy objects may also help with incontinence. Even after treatment, some people still leak urine from time to time. There are bladder control products and other solutions, including disposable briefs or underwear, furniture pads, and urine deodorizing pills that may help.
Think Of A Distraction
When your bladder is more or less half-full, nerves in the bladder will tell the brain that its time to go. This need to pee might be less urgent than it feels, so a distraction might override the urge to pee for a while. So next time, try to think about something else or scroll through your phone a bit and you will see that the feeling goes away.
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Health Risks Of Holding Urine
In most cases, holding in urine for a short period of time until there is a time and place to go is not going to be harmful. However, holding in urine is associated with a small increased risk of urinary tract infections or bladder dysfunction in the future. This is because the urine standing in the bladder can increase the bacteria growth there. Taking in a lot of fluids and voiding them regularly is the best way to avoid this bacteria overgrowth, which may lead to an infection.
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Tips To Prevent Involuntary Urine Leakage During And After Pregnancy
May 19, 2020
Friends and family describe stress urinary incontinence to pregnant women as if its just a fact of life: “After you have a baby, you won’t be able to cough, sneeze, or exercise without peeing a little.”
SUI is the most common type of urinary incontinence associated with pregnancy. More than a third of pregnant women experience involuntary urine leakage during the second and third trimesters, and a third leak during the first three months after delivery.
But you dont have to just live with urinary incontinence. There are steps you can take to prevent and reduce leakage before, during, and after pregnancy. Interventions can include lifestyle modifications and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises.
Unfortunately, not all health care providers make such recommendations. Or they might suggest performing Kegels, but they don’t show patients how to do them correctly. There’s a lot going on in the pelvic region during pregnancy, and many women don’t know how to locate or engage their pelvic floor muscles.
UT Southwestern has one of the largest Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery divisions in the country. We help patients at all stages of life with strategies and therapies to prevent or treat urinary incontinence.
The first step in prevention is education.
Changes In Bladder Function With Age
Theres a perception that bladder problems are inevitable as people age, but this is not the case. While there are some small changes in bladder function that come with aging, frequent urination, pain when urinating, and leaking urine are not typical. In some cases, making some adjustments to bladder habits can help compensate for the changes that occur in bladder health with age. However, extreme discomfort or difficulty in urinating should be discussed with a physician to make sure theres not a more serious condition thats causing the symptoms.
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Bladder Leakage 3 Things Women Should Know About Urinary Incontinence
To dispel misconceptions, a urogynecologist discusses the surprisingly common, lingering issue many women experience.
Bladder leakage. For some women, the condition runs their life from the inside, preventing them from playing outside with their kids, going to a workout class or staying the night with family or friends.
And theyre not alone. Living with some degree of urinary incontinence, defined as an uncontrolled leakage of urine, is actually common, according to Pamela Fairchild, M.D., a urogynecologist at Von Voigtlander Womans Hospital at Michigan Medicine.
She says that approximately half of all women over the age of 20 experience some degree of incontinence. This means urinary incontinence isnt just an issue that affects elderly or postpartum women, although aging and childbirth are risk factors.
But if so many women experience it, then why does the topic still seem embarrassing?
Women get the sense that this is inevitable, that its a natural part of aging and they have to live with it, says Fairchild. This false perception leaves women feeling powerless, even though there are ways to greatly improve their quality of life.
To help overcome the stigma, Fairchild shared three facts about urinary incontinence that all women should know.
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According to the Urology Care Foundation, women are at greater risk for UI than men because they have a shorter urethra than men. As a result, any weakness or damage to the urethra in a woman is more likely to cause urinary incontinence. This is because there is less muscle keeping the urine in your bladder until you are ready to urinate.
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What Happens To The Urinary System With Aging
The urinary system includes:
- the muscles of the pelvic floor.
There are sphincters that open or close the urethra, and nerves that run to the bladder muscles and sphincters which helps to control urinary release and flow. The brain and legs are also part of the urinary system: a person has to be able to decide when its time to go to the toilet, and have the ability to get to one when the time is right.
In this article, well focus mainly on the bladder and urethra, and the bladder outlet.
With age, some of the muscle fibers in the bladder are replaced with stiffer, fibrotic tissue, and the neurological responses that we rely on to maintain normal urinary function decline slightly.
In practical terms, this means that:
- The sensation that the bladder needs to be emptied happens when the bladder is fuller than in a younger person
- The bladder muscle contracts less forcefully
- The urethral sphincter is looser in older women
- The larger prostate gland can obstruct the urethra in men
- Theres a more frequent need to pass urine
- 80% of those over 80 get up at least once in the night to pass urine
Nighttime urination or nocturia is a urinary symptom thats hard to ignore, or cope with. As Dr. Wagg told me: The magic number for nighttime frequency where it has an effect on your quality of life is two and more. And intriguingly, daytime frequency. If you look at peoples self reported quality of life and daytime frequency, the unlucky number is indeed 13.
Why Does Urinary Incontinence Occur With Pregnancy
Pregnancy and childbirth can cause incontinence in several ways:
- Your growing baby takes up a lot of room. As the uterus expands, it puts increased pressure on the bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to leakage.
- Changing progesterone levels during pregnancy can weaken the pelvic floor. Increases in this hormone loosen up your ligaments and joints so the belly can expand and so you can deliver. But it can also loosen ligaments in the pelvis that help you hold in urine.
- Childbirth, particularly vaginal delivery, can stretch and weaken the pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to pelvic organ prolapse, in which your bladder, uterus, or rectum droops into the vaginal canal. Prolapse can be associated with urinary incontinence.
- Vaginal delivery also can result in pelvic muscle and nerve injury, which can result in bladder control problems.
If you experience urinary incontinence during pregnancy, you are at higher risk of having a persistent problem after birth. Tell your health care provider about urinary incontinence symptoms as soon as you notice them during pregnancy or at your first postnatal visit.
More than 80% of postpartum women who experience SUI symptoms during pregnancy may continue to experience stress incontinence without treatment.
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When Should I See A Doctor About Incontinence
Its important to know that incontinence can be treated. Many people believe that its something that just goes along with aging and is an unavoidable issue. If you find that incontinence is disturbing your daily activities and causing you to miss out on things you typically enjoy, talk to your healthcare provider. There are a wide range of options to treat incontinence.
How Long Can You Hold Your Pee
While the human bladder typically holds between 1.5 and 2 cups of fluid, the perception of feeling full varies from person to person. How fast the bladder fills depends on a number of factors, and therefore, theres no hard and fast rule about how long people can go between bathroom trips. In most cases, however, people can go for 3 to 4 hours between bathroom visits.
Of course, this will also vary based on how much and type of liquid a person is drinking taking in a lot of water over a short period of time or drinking beverages with caffeine might cause a greater urge to pee.
Some people have an issue where they are using the bathroom often, and only actually voiding a little at a time. This could be due to a medical condition such as a urinary tract infection, especially if theres discomfort while urinating or incomplete bladder emptying due to an enlarged prostate. When there are problems going to the bathroom too much or being uncomfortable, its important to see a doctor to rule out a disease or condition that could be causing the problem.
For some people, ignoring the urge to urinate for a time could be part of a process of bladder retraining. If theres no reason found for the frequent urination, a physician might recommend holding the pee to retrain the bladder and reduce bathroom visits. In general, this might include waiting for at least 15 minutes when the urge to pee hits, to see if its truly necessary to go right away or if it can wait.
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Things That Might Help You Hold Your Pee
For those times when you need to know how to hold your pee for a short period of time, use one or more of these distraction techniques.
Am I At A Higher Risk Of Incontinence At An Older Age
Your body constantly changes throughout your life. As you age, the muscles that support your pelvic organs can weaken. This means that your bladder and urethra have less support often leading to urine leakage. Your risk for developing incontinence as you age might be higher if you have a chronic health condition, have given birth to children, went through menopause, have an enlarged prostate or have had prostate cancer surgery. Its important to talk to your healthcare provider over time about the risks of incontinence and ways you can manage it without interference to your daily life.
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How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated
You and your doctor or nurse will work together to create a treatment plan. You may start with steps you can take at home. If these steps do not improve your symptoms, your doctor or nurse may recommend other treatments depending on whether you have stress incontinence or urge incontinence or both.
Be patient as you work with your doctor or nurse on a treatment plan. It may take a month or longer for different treatments to begin working.
What Is Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic bladder problem. About 750,000 Americans have interstitial cystitis. Most of them are women. People with interstitial cystitis have a bladder wall that is inflamed and irritated . This inflammation can scar the bladder or make it stiff. A stiff bladder can’t expand as urine fills it. There may be pinpoint bleeding from the walls of the bladder. A few people get sores in the bladder lining.
People with interstitial cystitis may have many of the following symptoms:
An urgent need to urinate, both in the daytime and during the night
Pressure, pain and tenderness around the bladder, pelvis and perineum . This pain and pressure may increase as the bladder fills and decrease as it empties in urination.
A bladder that won’t hold as much urine as it did before
Pain during sexual intercourse
In many women, the symptoms get worse before their menstrual period. Stress may also make the symptoms worse, but it doesn’t cause them.
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Amping Up Your Treatment: Medications And Surgery
When more conservative measures have failed, medications – then surgery – are the alternatives, says Galloway.
Medications: No drug helps with stress incontinence, but a class called anticholinergics does help with urge incontinence.
A transdermal patch called Oxytrol has also been effective, says Galloway, who adds that skin irritation at the patch site does occur in some patients.
Surgery: There are 300 surgical options to treat incontinence, says Brubaker.
“The hard part is picking the surgery that has the best chance of working well for that woman long-term,” he says. “Surgery can create problems. It can cause difficulty in urinating, worsen an urge incontinence problem, or it can do nothing to solve the problem.”
“It helps the urethral sphincter remain closed when abdominal pressure tries to open it. At least, we think that’s how it works,” he says. “We have only five-year outcomes on one group of these devices. But they look promising.”
“Before having any surgery, ask your doctor for names of other patients who have had the procedure in question,” says Galloway.
“Talk to them, find out how it worked. You’ll be in a much better position to decide what to do.”
What Steps Can I Take At Home To Treat Urinary Incontinence
Your doctor or nurse may suggest some things you can do at home to help treat urinary incontinence. Some people do not think that such simple actions can treat urinary incontinence. But for many women, these steps make urinary incontinence go away entirely, or help leak less urine. These steps may include:
You can also buy pads or protective underwear while you take other steps to treat urinary incontinence. These are sold in many stores that also sell feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads.
Conditions That Cause Urinary Incontinence
There are several health and lifestyle issues that can make you start to leak urine. They can include:
Problems with your prostate. Itâs common for prostate issues to cause urinary incontinence. Your prostate may be larger due to a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia . Your prostate may also be bigger than usual because of cancer. An enlarged prostate can block your urethra. When your urethra is blocked, your bladder has to work harder to squeeze pee out. This makes its walls thicker and weaker. That makes it hard for your bladder to empty all the urine in it.
You can also struggle with urinary incontinence with prostate cancer or after having certain treatments for it such as radiation treatment or surgery to remove your prostate. The surgery may cause problems with the nerves that control your bladder.
Certain diseases. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that can damage the nerves that tell the bladder when to empty and can also lead to bladder spasms. Some other conditions that can damage your nerves and keep your bladder from sending or receiving the signals it needs to work correctly are: