What Is An Overactive Bladder Symptoms To Look For
Overactive bladder is a syndrome, or a set of symptoms, that is believed to be due to sudden contractions of the muscles in the wall of the bladder. When you have overactive bladder syndrome, the muscles controlling bladder function start acting involuntarily. This often leads to urinary incontinence or loss of bladder control. The urine leakage experienced by someone with OAB can be as little as several drops to up to several ounces. Sometimes, incontinence can be a sign of something simple like drinking way too many caffeinated beverages on a daily basis. Other times the underlying cause can be something more serious.
An overactive bladder is said to account for 40 to 70 percent of incontinence. What is incontinence? Incontinence is a lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation. When you have overactive bladder, you can experience urinary incontinence or loss of control over urination.
There are actually two different types of overactive bladder. Dry is when you have a sudden, urgent need to urinate many times during the day. Wet means you have the sudden, urgent need to urinate and you experience bladder leakage, which is also referred to as urge incontinence. Both dry and wet can occur without any underlying health condition. An estimated 60 percent of OAB patients have dry OAB while 40 percent have wet OAB .
OAB symptoms can differ on an individual case basis. Common symptoms of an overactive bladder include:
How Does A Hysterectomy Cause Incontinence
In one study , over 165,000 Swedish women who had hysterectomies were compared to over 479,000 women who didnt have a hysterectomy for a duration of 30 years. At the end of the duration, it was discovered that the women who had hysterectomies were twice as likely to develop incontinence than the women who didnt regardless of surgical technique. Why was this?
Doctors cant seem to agree on what about the hysterectomy causes a woman to experience incontinence, but they can agree that it does happen. Here are some of the most plausible theories:
Stress incontinence occurs because of pressure or stress on the pelvic floor. This causes a loss of control over bladder function. A woman may experience leaks when she coughs, laughs or sneezes because these actions place additional stress on the pelvic floor.
This is not uncommon after a hysterectomy as there is considerable trauma to the pelvic floor which can weaken it. The connective tissue, ligaments and muscles in your pelvic floor are displaced and therefore the support it gives to your bladder, vagina and rectum can be impaired.
Urge incontinenceUrge incontinence can be described as a sudden, unbearable urge to urinate without the means to suppress these feelings. In other words, urge incontinence is where you want to pee really badly, you want to hold it, but you cant long enough to go to the bathroom.
Absorbency Products Can Help
No matter how fast you can run, sometimes that bathroom is just a little bit too far in the distance. Dont let yourself get caught in an embarrassing situation There is a wide range of products available that are discreet and comfortable.
Incontinence products excel in their absorbency and wont leak or become lumpy when they get wet. They help control odor and minimize contact between urine and your skin, preventing the development of a rash or other irritation.
Many incontinence products are available, from discrete pads with little bulk that can be slipped into underwear, to disposable adult-sized underwear with in-built absorbency and easy-tear sides. Gender-specific products account for the different requirements of men and women, and there are many reusable and washable options available.
Common brands include Attends, Because, Tena, Tranquility, Depend, Prevail and Poise.
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What Foods And Drinks To Avoid
While you may want to drink less liquid so you dont have to urinate as often, you should still make sure you stay hydrated. More concentrated urine, usually darker in color, can irritate your bladder and cause more frequent urination.
Other foods and drinks can contribute to OAB symptoms, including:
- tomato-based foods
You can test which drinks or foods irritate your bladder by eliminating them from your diet. Then reincorporate them one by one every two to three days at a time. Permanently eliminate the particular food or drink that worsens your symptoms.
Add Fiber To Your Diet
Relieving constipation with a little extra fiber and three glasses of water daily ends bladder mishaps for one in four women studied. Thats because strained bowel movements can weaken your pelvic floor staying regular reduces pressure on the tiny muscles that hold your bladder shut.
With these simple tricks, youll beat that incontinence in no time!
This story originally appeared in our sister print magazine, Womans World.
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Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Also known as Kegel exercises, these exercises are especially effective for stress incontinence but may also help urge incontinence. To do pelvic floor muscle exercises, imagine that youre trying to stop your urine flow. Then:
- Tighten the muscles you would use to stop urinating and hold for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds.
- Work up to holding the contractions for 10 seconds at a time.
- Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions each day.
Natural Remedies For An Overactive Bladder
1. Kegel Exercises
If a weak pelvic floor is at the root of your OAB then kegel exercises can help a lot. These pelvic floor exercises can be done anywhere at anytime and they benefit both men and women. When done regularly, they can really help an overactive bladder.
Melody Denson, MD, a board-certified urologist with the Urology Team in Austin, TX, recommends these exercises for OAB. She says, They will trigger a reflex mechanism to relax the bladder. If you feel a tremendous urge to urinate, doing a kegel before you run to the bathroom will help settle down the bladder spasm and help you hold it until you get there.
2. Avoid Dietary Triggers
Significantly reduce the following foods and drinks that are known to contribute to overactive bladder:
- Soda and other carbonated beverages
- Spicy foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Milk and milk products
- Sugar and high sugar foods
Caffeine, alcohol and certain medications like diuretics are known to be major causes of acute incontinence, especially in the elderly population. Cranberry juice is surprisingly another thing to avoid if you have OAB. Although cranberry juice is often recommend for bladder health, it actually acts as an irritant if you have OAB.
3. Watch Fluid Intake
5. Schedule bathroom trips
6. Delay Urination
7. Try Acupuncture
8. Stop Smoking
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Urinary Incontinence In Older Adults
Urinary incontinence means a person leaks urine by accident. While it may happen to anyone, urinary incontinence is more common in older people, especially women. Incontinence can often be cured or controlled. Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do.
What happens in the body to cause bladder control problems? The body stores urine in the bladder. During urination, muscles in the bladder tighten to move urine into a tube called the urethra. At the same time, the muscles around the urethra relax and let the urine pass out of the body. When the muscles in and around the bladder dont work the way they should, urine can leak. Incontinence typically occurs if the muscles relax without warning.
Will Urinary Incontinence Go Away On Its Own
There’s no doubt that urinary incontinence affects your quality of life. Leakages can not only irritate your skin and cause embarrassment, but constantly worrying about when one might happen next can keep you from living your life. So much so that you might plan everything you do around whether there’s a bathroom nearby.
It’s a very common problem affecting up to one in three women. If you’re experiencing urinary incontinence, you’re likely looking for answers. Specifically, what can you do to stop it?
“Urinary incontinence is a loss of urine when you’re not actively trying to urinate,” explains Dr. Fiona Lindo, urogynecologist at Houston Methodist. “It can happen without you being aware or with physical exertion, such as exercise or even when simply standing up, coughing or laughing.”
“Unfortunately, urinary incontinence isn’t likely to go away on its own. The good news, however, is that there are things that you can do on your own to improve it, and there are plenty of options for treating it,” adds Dr. Lindo.
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Kegel Exercises And Muscle Training
You can also do special pelvic floor exercises, or Kegel exercises, in addition to regular exercise. Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles to minimize involuntary contractions and improve posture. Its also one of the safest behavioral therapies without side effects and complications.
To do Kegel exercises:
You can also talk to a physical therapist to see if youre squeezing the right muscles.
Yes, Kegel exercises works for men, too »
Try To Avoid Caffeine Carbonated Drinks Sugar Alcohol And Spicy Or Acidic Foods
- Caffeine is a diuretic which makes you need to use the bathroom more often.
- Carbonated drinks and sugar are thought to stimulate the bladder.
- Alcohol switches off the ability of your body to concentrate urine. This means you tend to urinate more dilute, watery urine, which dehydrates you. Since you are dehydrated, you may drink more.
- Acidic or spicy food may aggravate your overactive bladder and worsen your symptoms. Certain acidic fruit and juices like orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime can aggravate your bladder, too.
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Do The Right Exercises
High-impact exercise and sit-ups put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and can increase leaks.
To strengthen your pelvic floor to relieve symptoms, replace high-impact exercise, such as jogging and aerobics, with strengthening exercise, such as pilates.
Pilates strengthens your core muscles, which is beneficial for stress incontinence.
Kegel Exercises For Urinary Incontinence
Strengthening the muscles that help support your bladder can help control your urinary incontinence.
You won’t really look like you’re working out. You’ll be watching television, driving in your car, working at your desk, or brushing your teeth. But you’ll also be squeezing and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises, a series of muscle contractions that can help control or prevent urinary incontinence.
Dr. Arnold Kegel created these pelvic floor exercises in 1948 as a way to help women who developed stress urinary incontinence following childbirth.
Childbirth or menopause can weaken the pelvic floor muscles that hold the bladder and urethra in place. With those muscles weak, any additional pressure on the bladder caused by a laugh, sneeze, cough, or exercise can cause urine to leak.
Kegel exercises, if done correctly and over an extended period of time, strengthen those muscles to better support your bladder. A review of studies from New Zealand found that women who regularly practiced Kegels were up to 17 times more likely to be cured of incontinence symptoms than women who did not.
Performing Kegel Exercises
The individual contractions of a Kegel workout require you to squeeze the pelvic floor muscles just as you would if you were trying to stop urine flow. Ideally, Kegel exercises should be done as follows:
Your Kegel Program
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Can A Womans Bladder Fall Out
Most of the time, the bladder is held in place by a hammock of supportive pelvic floor muscles and tissue in women. Bladder prolapse happens when these tissues are stretched and become weak, the bladder can drop and bulge through this layer and into the vagina. Bladder prolapse may also be called cystocele.
What To Do When Youre Leaking Urine After Hysterectomy
As if surgery wasnt enough, now you have to contend with a leaky bladder. Just great.
But youd be surprised to know how many women suffer from urinary incontinence. In this US alone, it is estimated that over 18 million women experience some degree of incontinence.
This means that you could walk past a woman with incontinence every single day without having the slightest clue that she experiences leaks. How does she do it? How does she manage to go about her daily life without embarrassing water spots or get home to soaking wet underwear?
The answers to these questions are pretty simple. Well let you on those secrets in just a sec but weve got to talk about why your hysterectomy has this annoying and sometimes embarrassing side effect.
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Urinary Incontinence Is Common And Treatable
You may have urinary incontinence . Embarrassing? Sure, sometimes. But UI is common in men, with about 1 in 4 experiencing it at some point in their lives. And there are treatments available that work. Almost everyone is a good candidate for one solution or another. But only 1 in 5 men with bladder leakage seeks medical care.
The challenge is finding the solution for you. Learn more about the causes of urinary incontinence in men, helpful solutions to ease the consequences, and treatments that can greatly reduce and in some cases eliminate accidents.
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.
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What Can You Do To Relieve Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence almost never goes away on its own. But there are steps you can take to help relieve your symptoms.
“Alleviating urinary incontinence starts with understanding which type of incontinence you’re experiencing and what’s causing it,” says Dr. Lindo. “A specialist such as a urogynecologist can help provide those answers for you, as well as help you understand which behavior modifications and other treatments will be most effective for alleviating your incontinence.”
Weight loss almost always helps relieve urinary incontinence because it reduces the amount of pressure being placed on your pelvic floor. In fact, losing just 5 percent of your weight can improve your urinary symptoms by up to 70 percent.
Similarly, pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, can help reduce symptoms of either type of incontinence. In the case of stress incontinence, pelvic floor exercises are a way to restrengthen your weakened muscles. For urge incontinence, these exercises can help calm and retrain your bladder.
“For women experiencing stress incontinence after childbirth, sometimes weight loss and postnatal pelvic floor exercises are all it takes for symptoms to resolve over time,” adds Dr. Lindo.
Depending on the type of incontinence you’re experiencing, your doctor may suggest trying additional modifications.
Behavioral modifications for stress incontinence:
- Weight loss
- The use of a vaginal insert, such as a tampon, while exercising
It Could Be A Sign Of An Underlying Condition
Naturally, later in life, people can experience incontinence because of increased production of urine related to aging kidneys. Bladder function is also heavily impacted by changing bladder capacity and chronic medical conditions like diabetes, says Fairchild. Chronic straining, coughing and/or constipation can all put stress on the bladder, she explains.
But leakage can also be sign of a more serious, underlying health condition, according to a 2018 National Poll on Healthy Aging.” For example, poor heart function could be the culprit behind frequent urination while sleeping.
If fluid is pooling in your legs during the day, when you lay down, that fluid redistributes and increases urine production, says Fairchild.
Although bladder leakage is common, discuss your particular symptoms with your doctor.
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Choices In Protective Underwear And Briefs
When it comes to UI, men have many products available for dealing with occasional leaks.
- Drip collectors wick up moisture if you have occasional leaks
- Incontinence shields go inside your usual underwear to protect against light, infrequent leaks
- Absorbent underwear is built with padding in the right places to keep leaks off your skin and clothes. These may or may not be washable, so check the label
- Pull-ups are disposable briefs pulled on and off like typical underwear and work for heavy leaks
- Diapers with tabs are disposable options that stand up to heavy leaks
What Can I Do About It
The good news about this is that it is completely manageable and treatable. Here are 7 ways to deal with urinary incontinence after having a hysterectomy.
It isnt unusual for pelvic floor muscles to be weakened after a hysterectomy and its likely that your doctor already introduced you to this treatment method.
Doing Kegels is all about finding the right muscles. One way to find them is by simply pretending to hold your urine or feces. The muscles that were used are the pelvic floor muscles. Then, contract these muscles for about in sets of 10-15 about 3 times daily.
The beauty of this exercise is that there is no need for equipment and it is very discrete. You can incorporate Kegels into your daily life , by performing standing Kegels at your counter or bathroom mirror while you get ready in the morning. You can do them sitting down while youre in bed or make them a part of your workout routine with the bird dog kegel or bridge kegel.
For more advanced Kegels, feel free to add kegel weights. There are many different weights to choose from, of different weights, sizes, shapes, and colors. Finding the right ones to do your Kegels shouldnt be difficult. When choosing Kegel weights, be sure to read the reviews since many are of poorer quality than others and can end up doing more harm than good.
2. Incontinence products
3. Lifestyle changes
4. Injectable implants
6. Sling operations
7. Closing the fistula
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