Common Bladder Problems And When To Seek Help
Bladder problems can disrupt day-to-day life. When people have bladder problems, they may avoid social settings and have a harder time getting tasks done at home or at work. Common bladder problems include urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary retention.
Some signs of a bladder problem may include:
- Inability to hold urine or leaking urine
- Needing to urinate more frequently or urgently
- Pain or burning before, during, or after urinating
- Trouble starting or having a weak stream while urinating
- Trouble emptying the bladder
If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your health care provider.
Treatment for bladder problems may include behavioral and lifestyle changes, exercises, medications, surgery, or a combination of these treatments and others. For more information on treatment and management of urinary incontinence, visit Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults.
What Medications Are Used To Treat Overactive Bladder
As youre retraining your bladder, a healthcare provider may prescribe medication. Medications can help restore normal bladder function. Commonly prescribed medications for overactive bladder include:
Beta-3 adrenergic medication
Beta-3 adrenergic medications cause the detrusor muscles in your bladder to relax so your bladder can store more pee. A healthcare provider may prescribe:
Other Causes Of Oab In Men
An enlarged prostate is the cause of OAB in most men, but there are numerous other factors that can lead to symptoms. An infection in the bladder, bladder stones, or bladder cancer can all cause OAB. Neurological conditions, such as a stroke or Parkinsons disease, can also lead to OAB because of nerve damage that results in sending incorrect signals to the bladder.
Its also possible for temporary factors to cause symptoms of OAB. If you drink a lot of fluids, especially those that are caffeinated or contain alcohol, if you take medications that increase urine output, or if you are constipated, you might experience an increased need to urinate.
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Supplements For Adequate Nutrition
Developing a diet free of irritants can take some trial and error. During this time, its important to get the recommended amount of daily nutrients.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about your individual nutritional needs. They can help determine the appropriate supplements for you.
You may find it beneficial to supplement your diet with a daily multivitamin or nutrition drinks. Popular nutrition drinks include shakes, such as Boost or Ensure, and formulas, such as ProNourish.
Check in with your doctor before adding a supplement or nutrition drink to your regimen. Certain ingredients may interfere with your medications or otherwise negatively impact your overall health.
What Behavioral Changes Can I Make To Help With Overactive Bladder
There are many techniques and changes to your typical behavior that you can try to help with an overactive bladder. These can include:
Keeping a log: During a typical day, write down your fluid intake, the number of times you urinate, the number of accidents and when they occur. Make a note about what happened when the accident happened, like when you:
- Were unable to reach the bathroom in time.
Monitoring your diet: Eliminate or decrease foods or beverages that may worsen your bladder symptoms. These could include:
- Spicy and acidic foods and drinks.
- Foods and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners.
Maintaining bowel regularity: Constipation can place added pressure on the bladder and have a negative effect on your bladder function. By keeping healthy bowel habits, you may be able to avoid constipation and help to lessen bladder symptoms. The following are some suggestions for maintaining bowel regularity:
- Increase your fiber intake by eating foods like beans, pasta, oatmeal, bran cereal, whole wheat bread, and fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Every morning, take 2 tablespoons of this mixture: 1 cup apple sauce, 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran, and Â¾ cup prune juice.
- Exercise regularly to maintain regular bowel movements.
Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight can add pressure on your bladder, which may contribute to bladder control problems. If you are overweight, weight loss can reduce the pressure on your bladder.
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Evaluation Of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence usually does not indicate a disorder that is life threatening nevertheless, incontinence may cause embarrassment or lead people to restrict their activities unnecessarily, contributing to a decline in quality of life. Also, rarely, sudden incontinence can be a symptom of a spinal cord disorder. The following information can help people decide when a doctor’s evaluation is needed and help them know what to expect during the evaluation.
Urinary Incontinence And Odor Control
Most incontinence pads, liners, and disposable underwear feature some type of odor control. Often, the materials are treated with a natural odor-absorbing compound such as baking soda. Sometimes, though, manufacturers add fragrance to the pad, liner, or garment. Some people find this pleasant, but for others it causes skin irritation. If you have sensitive skin, odor control compounds may cause you problems. If so, look for products that are fragrance-free and contain no chemicals for odor control.
If you accidentally leak urine onto clothing or furniture, there are several products sprays and special detergents that remove urine stains and odors. Most are sold in pharmacies. Some can be found in mail order health catalogs or online.
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Learn More About How Kegel Exercises Can Help You
Kegel exercises are a great way to get more bladder and bowel control, and even help your sex life. But they need to be done properly. At Norman Urology, weve helped many men learn to locate their pelvic floor muscles and apply the proper techniques for great results.
You can count on superior, specialized care from experienced, compassionate professionals.
Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment. We cant wait to meet you!
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Choosing Your Product Style
Pads and liners come in a variety of shapes and sizes. That makes it easier to find the right fit for your body shape and lifestyle.
Liners are generally wider and longer than pads and offer better front-to-back protection. Pads are usually curved. Theyre disposable and designed for women and men. Adhesive strips hold them inside your underwear. They trap 8 or more ounces of urine and keep it away from your skin. They also block odor and can be changed throughout the day. Many contain elastic on the sides to cradle your body and help keep leaks from rolling over the edge.
Theres also a range of disposable undergarments with built-in protection not just in the crotch, but throughout the entire garment. Styles range from pull-ons with elasticized legs and waists resembling a traditional cloth panty to underwear that slips on with Velcro or adhesive tabs for a customized fit. You can also find open-sided thong style panties held together by straps in the front and back that rest on top of the hip bone. They are reusable, washable, and typically available in a range of colors. You can get day styles as well as overnight ones, which are designed to hold more urine. Like pads, this underwear is designed to be absorbent, to keep moisture from your skin, and to control odor.
Plastic pants fit over your regular undergarments and help protect against mild to moderate leaks.
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What Can Affect Bladder Health
Many things can affect bladder health. You cant control everything that affects bladder health, but there are many bladder health behaviors that you can control. Here are some things that may affect your bladder health.
Some activities can increase the risk of urinary tract infections, including:
- Having sex. Sexual activity can move bacteria from the bowel or vaginal cavity to the urethral opening. Urinating after sex lowers the risk of infection.
- Using a catheter to urinate. A catheter is a tube placed in the urethra and bladder to help empty the bladder. The catheter can make a direct path for bacteria to reach the bladder.
- Using certain types of birth control. Diaphragms can bring bacteria with them when they are placed. Spermicides may also make UTIs more likely.
What Else Causes Bladder Control Problems In Women
- pregnancy and childbirth
Weak pelvic floor muscles can make it hard for your bladder to hold urine in during stress incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when an actioncoughing, sneezing, laughing, or physical activityputs pressure on your bladder and causes urine to leak. A weak pelvic floor can also cause fecal incontinence, or bowel control problems.
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How Soon After Treatment Will I Feel Better
Pelvic floor exercises and changes to your lifestyle may take six to eight weeks before you start to see results.
Many medications start to relax your bladder muscles after a few hours. But they may take up to a month to work fully.
Botox should start to work after one to two weeks.
Most people start to see improvement after six nerve stimulation treatments. However, it may take up to 12 treatments to see results.
What Is The Main Cause Of Overactive Bladder
Conditions or injuries that affect your detrusor muscle cause overactive bladder. Your detrusor muscle is a collection of smooth muscle fibers in the wall of your bladder. These conditions may include:
- Abdominal trauma. Pregnancy and childbirth can stretch and weaken your pelvic muscles. Your pelvic muscles are the muscles and tissues that support the organs in your lower abdomen. Your bladder may sag out of its normal position if your pelvic muscles weaken.
- Nerve damage. Sometimes your body sends signals to your brain and bladder to pee at the wrong time. Certain diseases and trauma can cause nerve damage, including pelvic or back surgery, herniated discs, radiation therapy, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis or a stroke.
- Medications, alcohol and caffeine. All of these can dull your nerves, which affect signals to your brain and cause your bladder to overflow. Diuretics and caffeine may cause your bladder to fill rapidly and potentially leak.
- Infection. An infection, such as a urinary tract infection , can irritate your bladder nerves and cause your bladder to squeeze without warning.
- Extra weight. Having overweight can put extra pressure on your bladder, which can cause urge incontinence.
- Estrogen deficiency after menopause. Hormonal changes may cause urge incontinence. Vaginal-only estrogen therapy can help.
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Smoking May Increase The Urge To Urinate
Smoking irritates the lining of the bladder, and also makes you cough, both of which are unhelpful if you have an overactive bladder.
It is a good decision for both general health reasons and overactive bladder reasons to stop smoking. Work with your health care provider to start a formal “Quit Smoking” program, which may involve smoking cessation medications and group support for the most successful outcome.
Learn more: Our Quit Smoking center also has some helpful advice.
Natural Treatment For Overactive Bladder
Bladder training and pelvic floor exercises are just two natural treatments for overactive bladder. Research suggests that these nondrug remedies can be very effective for many women, and they have almost no side effects.
Another way to strengthen pelvic floor muscles is electrical stimulation, which sends a small electrical pulse to the area via electrodes placed in the or rectum.
Until you get your overactive bladder under control, wearing absorbent pads can help hide any leakage.
Other lifestyle tips for preventing incontinence include:
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How Do I Do Kegel Exercises
To do Kegels:
If you are uncomfortable or uncertain about doing Kegel exercises on your own, a doctor or nurse can also teach you how to do Kegels. A pelvic floor physical therapist or other specialist may also be available in your area to help teach you how to strengthen these muscles.
How To Strengthen Your Bladder And Urinate Less Often
This article was medically reviewed by Allison Romero, PT, DPT. Dr. Allison Romero is a Pelvic Health Specialist, Physical Therapist, and the Owner of Reclaim Pelvic Therapy in the San Francisco Bay Area. With over a decade of experience, Allison specializes in comprehensive pelvic physical therapy treatments for pelvic floor dysfunction. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Exercise Science from Sonoma State University and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California. Allison is a board certified Physical Therapist in California and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association-Section on Womens Health and the International Pelvic Pain Society.There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 972,837 times.
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When Should I See My Doctor
Most women who leak urine after childbirth find that it goes away in the first few weeks, as the stretched muscles and tissues recover.
However, for some women it can take months while other women find their pelvic floor never recovers fully.
If you are still experiencing leakage after 6 months, talk to your midwife or doctor. Dealing with it early on can reduce the risk of it becoming a life-long problem.
Stress incontinence is common, but many women are too embarrassed to talk about it. However, doctors, midwives, maternal and child health nurses and continence nurses are used to talking about it. If you are experiencing leakage, they will have suggestions that can help.
Medical Treatments To Strengthen Weak Bladder:
Electrical stimulation is actually a painless process which involves delivering of gentle electricity volts, via a vaginal probe for activating and strengthening the muscles of pelvic floor. Sometimes, there is an implantation of a device under the skin of the upper buttock so as to stimulate a nerve known as the sacral nerve, which is connected to the bladder and the pelvic floor.
Surgery is required at times for strengthening weak bladder, especially in individuals who experience severe symptoms and who do not respond to any other type of treatment. Surgery intends at improving the storing ability of the bladder and at reducing the pressure in your bladder.
You might require using a catheter for the rest of your life if you undergo the surgery to strengthen weak bladder.
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Specialized Tests To Diagnose Incontinence
Sometimes routine testing does not reveal the underlying cause, and further evaluation is required. You may be referred to a urologist or a urogynecologist for more specialized testing if your health concern is accompanied by pain, recurrent UTIs, blood or protein in the urine, neurological symptoms or muscle weakness, or pelvic organ prolapse. Women with this issue who have a history of radiation or surgery to the pelvic region may also be referred to a urologist.
Specialized testing can assess how well the bladder, urethra, and sphincters store and dispose of urine. There are many different types of instruments that can be used for urodynamic testing. Cystometry is a test that is used to help diagnose urge incontinence. It measures bladder pressure. The structures in the pelvis can be visualized with ultrasound. Uroflowometry can measure the volume of urine and flow rate. This test is used to determine the strength of related muscles and helps assess whether urine flow is blocked. There are other tests a urologist may perform depending on your symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder represents a collection of symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Urinary urgency. Urinary urgency is a sudden, uncontrollable need to pee. Once you feel the need to pee, you have a short amount of time to get to a bathroom.
- Frequent peeing. A frequent need to pee means you have to go to the bathroom more often than usual.
- Urge incontinence. Urge incontinence is a sudden, uncontrollable need to pee, and you may leak pee.
- Nocturia. Nocturia is the need to get up to pee at least two times each night.
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Promoting General Bladder Health