Overactive Bladder And Stress
You may think that your mental health is completely separate from your physical health, and you may think that your physical health is completely independent of your mental health. This view could not be further from the truth.
How you feel mentally influences how you feel physically, and since the opposite is also true, people cannot only attend to one dimension of their health. They must address their overall well-being. The case for this comes to life with the interaction between overactive bladder and stress.
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Implications For Integrated Mechanisms
As mentioned above, various studies on different chronic psychological stress models have yielded incremental pieces of evidence for stress-induced LUTDs. However, the results from them appeared to be disparate for a definite conclusion. By integrating the evidence together, we could create a reasonable picture of the pathophysiology of stress-induced LUTDs . The possible mechanisms are roughly divided into two main classes as follows.
Figure 2. Schematic drawing of the summarization of possible mechanisms underlying the chronic psychological stress-induced LUTD. The current studies demonstrate multiple central and peripheral alterations contributing to bladder dysfunction.
When To See A Doctor
If youve changed your diet or other lifestyle habits but still cant control when you urinate, you may benefit from seeing a doctor.
Its an especially good idea to see a doctor if:
- you avoid going out in public because youre afraid youll have an accident
- you dont spend time with family or friends because youre worried you smell like urine or cant control when you pee or
- youre worried or embarrassed about how often you urinate.
To schedule an appointment with a urogynecologist, call 801-213-2995.
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Overactive Bladder And Depression
An overactive bladder can lead to a loss of self-esteem and social withdrawal. You may fear leaving the security of your own home and avoid social situations at all costs. You may also limit you work life in order to avoid interaction with your workmates and questions about your frequent bathroom trips. The anxiety, distress and exhaustion that an overactive bladder may cause you, in combination with social isolation, can all lead to feelings of depression.
Anxiety Urination: An Inconvenient Symptom
- Anxiety has the ability to affect urination in many ways
- Those with severe anxiety may find they cannot control their urine
- Anxiety can be overwhelming enough to the brain that it weakens its urination response
- Relaxation exercises for anxiety can reduce some of the urges
- Often the only way to stop anxiety related urination problems is by treating anxiety
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How Anxiety Affects Your Bladder And Bowel
Anxiety can affect the body in many ways, but a lesser discussed symptom is the effect of the disorder on the bladder and bowel. The NHS has estimated that between 3 and 6 million people in the UK have some degree of urinary incontinence while 6.5 million adults in the UK suffer from a bowel problem, but these symptoms are often more prevalent in those with anxiety. Although it can be embarrassing to talk about, studies have found that anxiety is present in many people with incontinence, and it can be difficult to know what to do. To help with your anxiety bowel movements, and bladder issues, we have some information about how anxiety affects the bladder and bowel, plus advice on how to stop anxiety urination and nervous bowel movements.
Can Anxiety Play A Role In Urinary Frequency
When you are anxious you may also feel the need to pee. Unfortunately, there arent that many clinical studies looking into anxiety and urinary frequency. However, the bladders ability to contract itself is controlled by the nervous system. Emotions such as anxiety can be interpreted by the brain as the presence of a threat, which generates the bodys stress response the bladder is supplied with nerves from the same nervous system. Given all of the above, it stands to reason then you can have urinary symptoms associated with anxiety.
Studies have shown that a higher proportion of women with overactive bladder do suffer from anxiety, and those that do tend to have worse symptoms
Why this occurs is poorly understood, although some treatable conditions or factors, such as diabetes, may contribute to its development, and it is really important to ensure that any medical causes that might need treatment are ruled out before deciding that your symptoms are related to anxiety.
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What You Can Do
Its easy for someone on the outside to say just dont worry, right? However, this is definitely one of those things thats easier said than done. If you have significant anxiety or depression, please give your doctor a call. For the more common daily stressors in all of our lives, there are things you can do to help you worry less and hopefully decrease leaks too.
One option is to use absorbent products, so that the only person that knows you leaked is you. NAFC recently conducted a study that found that those who felt positively about wearing absorbent products said it was because it made them feel more protected and in control. And who doesnt want to feel more in control? Plus, Lily Bird can help take the stress out of going to the store by delivering pads and disposable underwear straight to your door.
Dont forget about trying pilates to doing Kegels or making dietary changes to see if that helps with incontinence or stress, too. Whether your stress is a symptom or a cause, getting it under control can help no matter what situation youre in.
~Written by Lily Bird, a proud Trusted Partner of NAFC
Ask A Doctor About Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapy can improve bladder control by providing a person with strategies to help manage their OAB symptoms. These strategies may include doing pelvic floor exercises and using a bladder diary to understand the triggers and patterns of OAB.
In a clinical trial involving more than 200 men with OAB symptoms, adding behavioral therapy to pharmaceutical treatment was associated with significant improvements in symptoms and quality of life compared with either behavioral therapy or medication alone.
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses specifically on the psychological aspects of OAB. CBT often involves strategies such as reshaping thinking about OAB and learning to calm the mind and body.
In a involving 10 women with drug-resistant OAB, CBT improved urinary symptoms and led to significant improvements in both anxiety and depression.
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What Are Some Of The Most Common Reasons Why A Woman May Develop Incontinence
Its common for women to develop incontinence after childbirth and as they age after menopause.
During childbirth, the muscles can become weakened and injured. In particular, experiencing an operative vaginal delivery like a vacuum or forceps assisted delivery, can lead to muscle damage. This weakening can make it harder to contract the urethra and stop the flow of urine.
With menopause, its common for women to experience vaginal atrophy, or a thinning and weakening of the vaginal tissue, due to fluctuating hormone levels. A drop in estrogen can cause a shortening of the vaginal canal, a shortening of the urethra, and a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, making loss of bladder control more common.
Is Turmeric Good For Overactive Bladder
A substance called NF kappa-B is one of the primary triggers for bladder inflammation and turmeric stops the body from making it. Not only is turmeric effective in treating bladder infections but it may also be used to combat Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis thanks to its anti-inflammatory nature.
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How Stress And Anxiety Affect Your Bladder
Have you ever felt yourself going to the toilet more frequently than usual when you are stressed? Or does your bladder play up when you are anxious?
As soon as you become anxious or stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, two stress hormones which can cause a “fight-or-flight” response.
The need to urinate when feeling panicked may be an evolutionary effect its easier to flee or fight with an empty bladder. The exact mechanisms behind this explanation are not fully understood, but when you are stressed out or feeling anxious, the nervous system operates at a higher intensity, meaning that it takes less to activate the reflex, according to Dr Alan Wein, a professor of urology at Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Another explanation could also be that your muscles tense up more, including your bladder muscles.
Research shows that there is a strong correlation between stress and anxiety and your bladder. A clinical study published in Urology investigated urinary symptoms among patients with overactive bladder syndrome who also suffered from anxiety. Those with anxiety had more frequent urination patterns than those who didnt.
A vicious cycle
Unfortunately, in those who suffer from an overactive bladder or urinary incontinence, the condition itself may spur anxiety or stress, as you are constantly worried that you may not make it to the toilet in time. This anxiety makes your bladder more reactive a vicious cycle.
Who Is At Risk For Urinary Incontinence
In adults, you are at higher risk of developing UI if you:
- Are female, especially after going through pregnancy, childbirth, and/or menopause
- Are older. As you age, your urinary tract muscles weaken, making it harder to hold in urine.
- Are a man with prostate problems
- Have certain health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, or long-lasting constipation
- Have a birth defect that affects the structure of your urinary tract
In children, bedwetting is more common in younger children, boys, and those whose parents wet the bed when they were children.
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What Is Overactive Bladder
Overactive Bladder, or OAB, is the frequent and urgent need to empty your bladder. Also sometimes called spastic bladder or irritable bladder, OAB affects an estimated 33 million people in the USA alone. And half of the people with Overactive Bladder are struggling with Urgency Urinary Incontinence , when leakage actually occurs.
Overactive bladder can be a nuisance at best, and debilitating at worst. Its frustrating to constantly be running to the bathroom, and can cause anxiety, shame and even depression when its is also accompanied by urinary incontinence.
Contrary to what many people think, overactive bladder is NOT a normal part of getting older, and isnt something you should think you have to live with. Its a real medical condition that deserves treatment.
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Types Of Urination Problems
Urination problems come in many different forms, and unfortunately, this variation is one of the reasons they can be hard to link to anxiety.
There is no denying that urination problems are linked to some very scary diseases, which is why seeing a doctor is so important. Many people with anxiety and urination problems convince themselves they have:
- Prostate Cancer
- Multiple Sclerosis
And many other significant health issues. Unfortunately, these worries can fuel anxiety further, leading to further urination problems and issues understanding other anxiety symptoms. When other health issues are ruled out, anxiety is very often the cause of urination issues.
There are several different types of urination problems as they relate to anxiety. These are analyzed below:
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Uncontrollable Urination: A Rare Anxiety Symptom
Many people struggle with feeling as though they need to urinate when they have anxiety. Luckily, even when this occurs, it is still controllable. Itâs a standard part of anxiety and anxiety attacks.
But when anxiety reaches its absolute peak, some people experience a loss of bladder control, also known as âincontinence.â Itâs one of the most distressing and embarrassing anxiety symptoms, and if it ever happens to you, it becomes something you fear for possibly the rest of your life.
The Impact Of Stress On The Gi Tract
If you havent heard the phrase I was so scared, I almost peed myself, maybe you have heard I was so scared, I almost pooped myself. Your ability to hold in urine and feces is controlled by the same muscles so it makes sense that theyd behave the same way under stress. Its true that stress and anxiety can cause diarrhea so we know that our bowels are impacted by stress.
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Can Anxiety Cause Urinary Incontinence
Incontinence. Just the word alone evokes feelings of anxiety. Those who suffer and their friends and family can attest to the mental stress associated with this uncomfortable and often embarrassing condition.That said, can anxiety be the cause of your incontinence? Or, does urinary incontinence simply cause stress? Honestly, this question is kind of like which came first, the chicken or the egg? At best, its confusing.First, it is important to point out that incontinence is often a symptom of another issue. Its causes are broad-based and can include, but are not limited to, obesity, smoking, weak muscles, and a variety of illnesses including prostate cancer, infections, and diabetes. It can also be the result of aging sometimes those who are elderly simply cannot move quickly enough to reach a restroom in a timely manner. If you suffer from incontinence, your first step should be a visit to your physician to help identify the underlying cause of your issue.Understanding this, anxiety and incontinence often go hand in hand. And, they aggravate each other. In some cases, anxiety can be the cause of your incontinence. In fact, some people actually suffer from uncontrollable urination and leaks when they become stressed. Its like their bodies lose the ability to control themselves.
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Treatment Of Urinary Retention
Treating urinary retention will depend on whether the condition is acute or chronic. For the acute form, a catheter is put into the urethra to drain the bladder. Treatment of the chronic form of urinary retention will depend on the specific cause. This can include changes in medication, physical therapy, or certain procedures.
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Dont: Go To The Bathroom Right Away
This seems like a good way to manage OAB. After all, you dont want to risk a leak, right? But heading to the bathroom every time you feel the urge isnt doing you any favors.
Your doctor might even put you on a schedule to help retrain your bladder. Instead of urinating when you feel like it, youll go regularly every hour, for example. As you build your muscles, youll wait a bit longer between trips to the bathroom. Your bladder will learn to relax, and youll find its easier to hold it.
Tips For Easing Stress And Anxiety From Overactive Bladder
Dealing with OAB? You arent alone
According to the National Association for Continence, about 17 percent of women and 16 percent of men over the age of 18 have overactive bladder . It becomes even more common with age, affecting 1 in 5 adults over the age of 40. The Urology Care Foundation emphasizes that not all people experience OAB as they age. For those that do, there is always a treatment that will help.
OAB causes a sudden urge to urinate. The urge is so strong its often difficult to control. Symptoms include:
- frequent urination
- difficulty sleeping through the night
OAB can also contribute to mental health issues, including:
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Thoughts On Anxiety And Urination
Urination from anxiety isnât something that you simply cure on its own. Drinking less water can only cause dehydration, which may lead to more anxiety.
Avoiding foods and drinks that may increase urination, like coffee and alcohol, can be helpful. It wonât make a huge difference, but diuretics do increase urination which will make water pass through your body more quickly.
You should also try to relax your muscles, especially your abdominal muscles. Try an exercise known as âProgressive Muscle Relaxation.â Progressive muscle relaxation is a stress reduction exercise that involves tiring the muscles to relax the body in a slow, orderly fashion. The idea is that by progressively eliminating muscle tension, a person will feel better both physically and mentally It involves the following:
- Stand up straight and balanced against both legs.
- Tense the muscle in your right foot as hard as you can for 10 seconds.
- Release your muscle.
- Tense the muscle in your left foot as hard as you can for 10 seconds.
- Release your muscle.
- Continue with each muscle in your body, one at a time, until youâve tensed your face muscles.
This should help to reduce your overall muscle tension. However, ultimately the best option for reducing your anxiety-related frequent urination is to work on treating the causelearning to manage your anxiety.
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Causes And Risk Factors
OAB occurs in both men and women. Its possible to have overactive bladder at any point in your life. But, its especially common in older adults. The prevalence of OAB in people younger than 50 years of age is less than 10 percent. After the age of 60, the prevalence increases to 20 to 30 percent.
The following are some of the other most common underlying causes and risk factors associated with OAB symptoms:
A healthy, normal functioning bladder holds urine until it gets full and is prompted to empty by nerve signals. However, when nerve damage occurs in the body, the muscles surrounding the urethra can be too loose. This undesirable looseness can cause someone to become incontinent. What can cause nerve damage that can then lead to bladder leakage? Some possibilities include:
- Back or pelvis surgery
Weak pelvic muscles
When a man or womans pelvic floor muscles are weak, bladder control issues can happen. The pelvic floor muscles are like a sling that holds up the uterus and bladder. For women, a pregnancy and childbirth can often lead to a stretching and weakening of the vital pelvic floor muscles. When pelvic floor muscles are compromised for this reason or another, the bladder can then sag out of place. The opening of the urethra also stretches and urine easily leaks out.
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