Types Of Bladder Control Problems
Anyone can have bladder control problems or incontinence. Incontinence caused by cancer or cancer treatment can last a short time or a long time, and it can be mild or severe. There are different types of bladder control problems.
Stress incontinence. Urine leaks out during activities such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, or exercising.
Overflow incontinence. Urine leaks out when your bladder is full.
Urge incontinence. You feel the urge to go to the bathroom right away and urine leaks before you can get to the bathroom.
Continuous incontinence. Urine leaks out constantly, and you cannot control it.
These bladder problems can make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Sometimes, people avoid activities they enjoy because of bladder problems. That can affect your quality of life. These are reasons why it is important to tell your health care provider about your experiences. They can help you treat incontinence. The treatment of side effects is an important part of your cancer care and treatment, called palliative care or supportive care. Talk with your health care team about how to treat or manage incontinence.
Is Incontinence More Common In Women
Incontinence is much more commonly seen in women than in men. A large part of this is because of pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Each of these events in a womans life can lead to bladder control issues. Pregnancy can be a short-term cause of incontinence and the bladder control issues typically get better after the baby is born. Some women experience incontinence after delivery because of the strain childbirth takes on the pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles are weakened, youre more likely to experience leakage issues. Menopause causes your body to go through a lot of change. Your hormones change during menopause and this can alter your bladder control.
Men can also experience incontinence, but it isnt as common as it is in women.
Bladder Leakage Causes Symptoms & Treatments
Experience bladder leaks? Use this guide to understand the causes of bladder leaks, signs and symptoms, as well as tips to prevent or stop leaks.
Female bladder leakage occurs when the muscles around your bladder are weakened and canât successfully close off the bladder as they should. If youâre experiencing a leaking bladder, know that youâre not alone. You likely have many questions, which is why we put together this guide to help you understand the causes of bladder leaks, the signs and symptoms, as well as tips to prevent or stop leaks.
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How Is Urinary Incontinence Diagnosed
The first step is to visit your doctor. They will examine you and talk about your medical history. You may need to keep a diary of your bladder habits to see what type of urinary incontinence you have. For example, you might need to write down how much you drink, how many times you go to the toilet, and when you leak.
You might also have special tests to monitor what happens to your bladder when its filled with urine. This is called urodynamic testing.
Your doctor will rule out other health conditions that might be affecting your bladder.
Why Does Urinary Incontinence Happen
There are two main types of urinary incontinence:
- Stress incontinence
- Urge incontinence
“Stress incontinence occurs when your pelvic floor muscles the muscles that support your bladder and urethra weaken, either due to childbirth or over time,” says Dr. Lindo.
If you’re experiencing stress incontinence, you might find yourself leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise or lift something heavy.
“Urge incontinence, on the other hand, occurs when the bladder muscle squeezes to empty out urine when it is not supposed to. It may be due to the amount or type of fluids you drink, resulting in spasms,” explains Dr. Lindo. “Additionally, urgency incontinence can sometimes be a sign of a larger health complication, such as a bladder infection.”
With urge incontinence, you likely experience an overwhelming, sudden need to urinate and leak urine before you can make it to the bathroom.
“For many women the exact cause of their urge urinary incontinence is unknown,” adds Dr. Lindo. “However, there are many treatments that can help you manage symptoms.”
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What Causes Bladder Control Problems
Bladder control problems are mainly caused by damage to:
- pelvic floor muscles
- the tissues that support the pelvic floor muscles.
The pelvic floor muscles do a number of things. They help to:
- support the bladder
- help to hold the bladder, the uterus and bowel in their proper place.
Bladder control problems can start when the pelvic floor muscles are made weaker by:
- not keeping them active
For more information, see the brochure One in Three Women Who Ever Had a Baby Wet Themselves.
What Happens As Your Hormones Start To Decrease
Our hormones naturally decrease as we age , and for women, this decrease is what leads to menopause. The thing is, hormone decline can also result in incontinence.
The decrease in your hormones leads to your vaginal tissue becoming thinner and less elastic. On top of that, your muscles start to weaken including the pelvic floor muscles that help you control of your bladder. See the connection?
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Best Treatment For Bladder Leaks
Recent research strengthens the link between incontinence drugs and dementia risk. Here’s how to find relief.
Drugs for an overactive bladder are promised to curb frequent bathroom breaks and bladder leaks.
But is taking medicationsmost of them members of a class of drugs called anticholingericsreally the best solution for regaining control of your bladder?
Anticholinergics commonly cause mental confusion, especially in older adults, and have, in the past, been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
Now, a large analysis from the U.K., published last week in the journal BMJ, has found that anticholinergic drugs, especially those used for bladder problems, Parkinsons disease, and depression, are associated with a higher likelihood of dementia in older adults even 20 years after use.
While this class of medications has long been known to be linked to memory troubles, it was not known whether the effects were permanent, says Michael Hochman, M.D., an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. But this study suggests that the effects may not entirely reverse after stopping the medication.
The research doesnt prove that the drugs cause dementiaonly that there is an association between the two. However, this study does raise concerns, and anticholinergic medications for incontinence have several other well-established side effects, Hochman says.
How Do You Fix A Weak Bladder 18 Tips Included
The bladder is the organ that stores urine. When its full, it sends a signal to your brain telling you when to go to the bathroom.
A weak bladder can make this difficult for people who suffer from urinary incontinence or another condition, like diabetes. If you want to learn how to fix a weak bladder, read on!
There are some easy things that you can do at home that will help with fixing your weak bladder problem!
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Solutions For A Leaky Bladder
Research has found that at least half of people with urinary incontinence dont discuss the condition with a health care provider. But theres no need to feel embarrassed. If you have a leaky bladder, youre definitely not alone. Bladder leakage, or urinary incontinence, affects women and men of all ages, though it becomes more common later in life.
And its definitely worth discussing, because of the many ways it can interfere with enjoying daily lifefrom exercise and travel to social outings and romance, says E. James Wright, M.D., director of urology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
How Can You Prevent Leaking Urine
Urinary incontinence isnt always preventable. But there are some things you can do to reduce your risk, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol, and acidic foods
- Trying to maintain regular bowel movements, as constipation can cause urinary incontinence
- Not smoking or, if you do smoke, quitting
If you are pregnant, schedule an assessment to evaluate pelvic floor health with your ob-gyn or midwife six weeks after having a baby, advises Sapienza. If youve already had your baby, its never too late to make that visit.
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Should I Drink Less Water Or Other Fluids If I Have Urinary Incontinence
No. Many people with urinary incontinence think they need to drink less to reduce how much urine leaks out. But you need fluids, especially water, for good health.
Women need 91 ounces of fluids a day from food and drinks.11 Getting enough fluids helps keep your kidneys and bladder healthy, prevents urinary tract infections, and prevents constipation, which may make urinary incontinence worse.
After age 60, people are less likely to get enough water, putting them at risk for dehydration and conditions that make urinary incontinence worse.12
Nonsurgical Treatment Options For Ui
Fortunately, there are several nonsurgical treatments for urinary incontinence. From training your bladder and pelvic floor exercises to using a urethral support device, there are different options you can try to manage your symptoms. We recommend discussing your options with a doctor before deciding on the best course of action.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes to help manage and prevent the symptoms of urinary incontinence. These range from adjustments to your diet, to exercise habits to management techniques between bathroom breaks. Common nonsurgical treatments for urinary incontinence are:
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When You Should See A Health Care Professional
You shouldnt have to wear a pad to soak up urine every day. Also ask yourself these questions:
Is the urge to urinate interfering with your work because of leaking or frequent bathroom breaks?
Do you map out where bathrooms are when you run errands?
Is incontinence interfering with your sex life or intimacy with your partner?
These are all signs of a problem, and that it may be time for you to talk with a gynecologist.
Neurogenic Bladder Treatment Outcomes
The success of any treatment for neurogenic bladder depends upon the underlying problem and how severe it is.
- Behavioral therapy: Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can improve the control of urination in 56 to 95 percent of cases. Pelvic floor exercises, along with biofeedback, are successful in 54 to 87 percent of cases. Bladder training improves urine control in 75 percent of cases, with only 12 percent completely cured of urinary incontinence.
- Medication: The success of medical treatments depends upon the drug and dosage that is administered. Anticholinergic drugs were successful in treating incontinence in 13 to 90 percent of cases, and some antispasmodic drugs have been shown to cure incontinence in up to 50 percent of cases, although at times they may reduce symptoms in up to 90 percent of cases.
- Surgery: Bladder augmentation has been shown to be an effective way to increase the bladders ability to store urine. However, one study found that 41 percent of patients had at least one complication after the procedure. Use of an artificial urinary sphincter has been found to improve symptoms of incontinence in up to 95 percent of cases, with total control of urination in 86 percent of cases.
Staskin DR, Comiter CV. . Surgical procedures for sphincteric incontinence in the male: artificial genitourinary sphincter and perineal sling. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed.
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Most Common Risk Factors Of Bladder Leakages
Women are exposed to a high number of risk factors for bladder leaks, including:
- Pregnancy â The weight of carrying a fetus stresses the pelvic floor and can lead to stress incontinence during pregnancy and after.
- Childbirth â Tissue or nerve damage that occurs during childbirth can affect the pelvic floor.
- Menopause â Changing hormones during menopause contribute to the deterioration of the pelvic floor, as well as the lining of the bladder and urinary tract.
- Weight gain â Many women gain weight as they age due to hormonal changes and this can exert enough pressure on the pelvic floor to weaken it.
Other risk factors, not particular to women, include:
- Smoking â Smoking can cause chronic coughing that exerts undue pressure on the pelvic floor.
- High-impact activities like running or jumping over many years â Prolonged impact on the pelvic floor from these types of activities can weaken it.
When To See A Doctor For Urinary Incontinence
In most cases, UI can be treated without surgery. If left untreated, UI can lead to sleep loss, depression, anxiety and loss of interest in sex. It might be a good idea to see your doctor if your condition is causing you to:
- Feel tired from incontinence-related sleep loss
- Feel socially anxious about your urinary incontinence
- No longer participate in activities that bring you joy
- Miss out on big moments or lose productivity
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What Is The Treatment For Urinary Incontinence
The most appropriate treatment for urinary incontinence will depend on what is causing it.
If the problem is with your pelvic floor muscles, physiotherapy can make a big difference. Medicine can help to relax the bladder muscles, which can help with urge incontinence. Talk to your doctor about whether medicine is right for you.
Some lifestyle changes may also help to treat urinary incontinence. These include:
If medicine, physiotherapy or lifestyle changes dont work, surgery to support your bladder and urethra is an option for some types of urinary incontinence.
You can also try to train your bladder to improve control and increase the amount of urine you can hold. Talk to your doctor or incontinence health professional about a bladder training program.
If you are caring for someone with incontinence, make sure they can access the toilet easily and that its clearly signposted. Make sure their clothing is easy to remove and monitor their routine so you can remind them to go to the toilet regularly. You can read more about caring for someone with incontinence on the Continence Foundation of Australia website.
What Are The Risk Factors For Leaking Urine
Each type of incontinence can happen for different reasons, but there are some universal factors that can make incontinence more likely. According to MedlinePlus, adults are more likely to develop urinary incontinence if they:
Having a birth defect that affects the structure of your urinary tract can also raise your risk. Your risk is also higher if a close family member has urinary incontinence, especially urge incontinence, per the Mayo Clinic.
Many times, people with no risk factors can experience urinary incontinence. Almost 70% of urge incontinence is idiopathic, meaning we dont know what causes it to happen in otherwise perfectly healthy people, says Dr. Sheyn.
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When It Comes To Solving Something Life
You must choose the right provider for your health. If you dont, you could end up getting surgery , depending upon pills to manage of your symptoms, or risking things progressing from pads to full out Depends in the future.
Getting the least-invasive, most natural treatment is VITAL to you stopping bladder control issues and keeping it from ever coming back.To do that, you have to not just treat the symptoms, but have a provider who is willing to figure out WHY the incontinence happened in the first place. Thats when youll get a PERMANENT solution to your problems.
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Urinary Incontinence In Men
Bladder leakage in men can be caused by a birth defect of the urinary tract.
Men also have the risk of contracting urinary incontinence with a history of prostate cancer. The treatment from radiation and medication may result in temporary or permanent bladder leakage.
An enlarged prostate without cancer cells may lead to a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. This condition causes the prostate to expand and apply pressure to the urethra, resulting in the walls of the bladder also expanding and thickening. Over time, the bladder weakens and retains some volume after urination.
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When Should You See A Doctor For Leaking Urine
Incontinence is common but not normal, says Sapienza. I think suffer in silence thinking that they cant get help, but it is treatable, she says.
Some patients arent concerned with a few leaks here or there, and if its truly not bothering you, then you likely dont need to see anyone, says Dr. Sheyn.
However, if youre altering your life in order to manage symptoms, then talk to a doctor. For instance, maybe when you go to a new place, you immediately scout out a bathroom to make sure you know where to dash off to if the time comes. Or maybe you decline invitations out because you cant be sure of the bathroom situation. Maybe you live in black leggings to hide urine leaks, something that patients often tell Sapienza they do.
You should also talk to your doctor if youre leaking urine frequently. Besides the impact it can have on your social, work, and personal relationships, regular urinary incontinence can also lead to physical complications like skin problemsârashes, skin infections, and sores can develop from constantly wet skinâand urinary tract infections. Theres this too: Chronic incontinence might be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, and thats something youd want to get checked out.
Fixes For Bladder Leaks
Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes can go a long way in treating your overactive bladder. Avoid drinking fluid prior to bed and cut back on alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. You may notice some foods may also aggravate your condition, so having a bladder diary is a good way to keep track of which foods cause a reaction.
Bladder exercises: Kegel exercises can be easily completed any time or any place as they are super discreet. All you have to do is tighten your pelvic floor muscles as if you are holding in urine. Hold for a few seconds, release, and repeat. No one will know youre working on your pelvic muscles.Nerve stimulation: Doctors can stimulate the posterior tibial nerve, located just above the ankle, as a means of improving overactive bladder. A very fine needle is inserted next to the nerve for 30 minutes over the course of 12 weeks. If successful, this treatment can be carried out for additional weeks. The only downside to this treatment is the frequent doctors visits, but other than that, there are very minimal side effects reported.
Medication: If other procedures dont work, medications may offer relief for an overactive bladder. There may be some side effects, so it is up to you to decide whether these side effects are worth it if the medications help the bladder. Speak to your doctor about any possible medications you can take for your overactive bladder relief.
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