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.
What Causes Bladder Leaks
There are two main types of urinary incontinence:
If you have this type, activities that raise the pressure inside your abdomen cause urine to leak through the ring of muscle in your bladder that normally holds it in. Coughing, sneezing, jumping and lifting heavy objects could lead to a leak.
Going through childbirth, smoking or being overweight can raise the risk of stress incontinence for women, Wright says. Stress incontinence in men is rare, and when it arises, its often due to prostate cancer treatment, such as radiation or surgery.
With this type, your brain, spinal cord and bladder dont work together properly to allow you to hold and release urine at the right time. Your bladder may suddenly empty itself without warning. Or you may feel like you need to urinate frequently, a problem called overactive bladder.
Some diseases that affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis or stroke, can cause this kind of incontinence, says Wright. In men, an enlarged prostate may be the culprit. But in many cases, doctors dont know what causes urge incontinence.
It is possible to have both types of incontinence at the same time.
Tips For Keeping Your Bladder Healthy
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Manufacturer Reputation & Transparency
In some cases, several UTI and bladder control supplement companies have been producing helpful supplements for decades. Others are brand new to the game. We werent necessarily biased in favor of new businesses, but we did prefer supplement companies with a track record of producing high-quality goods.
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Who Could Benefit From Pelvic Floor Exercises
People who have faecal incontinence or bowel leakage may be helped by doing some specific exercises for the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. These exercises could help improve the strength of the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles and improve bowel control. Talk to your healthcare professional before doing these exercises to see whether they could help you.
Pelvic Floor Exercises can help both men and women gain more control over bowel movements. These exercises are also used for men and women with bladder control problems.
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How Bladder Training Can Help
After going through bladder training, you should be able to:
- Go longer periods of time between bathroom visits
- Hold more liquid in your bladder
- Have more control over the urge to go
Although you probably want to see results right away, be patient. Bladder retraining can take six to 12 weeks to be successful.
If youve been trying bladder training for several weeks and it still isnt working, check back in with your doctor. You might need to try other approaches, like medication or surgery.
Now That You Know Which Type Of Bladder Problems You Have It’s Time To Take Action To Strengthen It
About the Author:
Angela is the owner of My Pelvic Therapy, PLLC and a licensed physical therapist. Prior to starting her telehealth private practice, she worked as a senior physical therapist for 17 years at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL, specializing in helping adults of all ages overcome their pelvic floor challenges. She received her physical therapy degree from Duke University, biology degree from University of Illinois, and is a lifelong learner of all things PT.
Click here to schedule an appointment with Angela, or you can contact her at
You can also find Angela on and .
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Should I Do Kegel Exercises
Many factors, including pregnancy and childbirth, surgery, and getting older, can weaken pelvic floor muscles. If these muscles are weak, you may start to leak small amounts of urine, stool, or gas.
Kegel exercises strengthen these muscles, helping you to stop these leaks.1,2 Studies suggest that pelvic floor muscle training may also improve sexual function.3,4
Pelvic floor muscle training can help both women and men. But in some cases, practicing these exercises may not be a good option. Check with your health care professional before you begin.
Mistake : Not Emptying Fully
When youre in a rush, incomplete bladder emptying can cause issues far more problematic than taking the extra minute or so in the bathroom. Similar to urine-holding, incomplete bladder emptying allows a reservoir of urine to collect that can potentially cause urinary infections. It can also increase the odds of developing another painful problembladder stones, which are salt crystals that sometimes form when urinary concentration or stasis develops.
Incomplete emptying isnt something you are always aware youâre doing, but its a good idea to make an effort to ensure you are emptying your bladder, says Dr. Brito. He says this is a particular problem for older men with prostate issues. For them, incomplete bladder emptying can lead to a smaller functional bladder capacity and subsequent urinary frequency and urgency problems.
Often as men get older, they will not completely empty their bladder. The problem there is, if your bladderâs full and you empty it halfway and then drink fluids like you normally would, it fills up more quickly, says Dr. Brito.
Sometimes educating patients to take their time in the bathroom and ensure their bladder is as empty as possible can help, says Dr. Brito. Other times, patients may need medications or surgery to help the bladder empty better.
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Add Cruciferous Vegetables To Your Diet
Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, arugula, collard greens, turnips, and kale are known as cruciferous vegetables. Along with EVOO, these vitamin powerhouses have been shown to protect against cancer because they contain something called isothiocynates. These are potent antioxidants that fight cancer by protecting your cells from damage and fighting cancer-causing agents. They also help reduce inflammation, which can cause cancer, and they can also slow the growth of cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are good for your bladder, but also the kidney and prostate. So include lots of these vegetables in your diet. Keep in mind that they can lose their health benefits by up to 50 percent when cooked in water, so avoid boiling them. Instead, eat them raw or lightly steam them in a bit of extra virgin olive oil and garlic
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.
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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.
Get Comfy With Kegel Exercises
Your pelvic floor is a set of muscles and connective tissues that hold your pelvic organs, including your bladder, bowels, and uterus, in place, per the US National Library of Medicine. Just like any other muscle, your pelvic floor needs to be strong enough to do its various jobs properly, otherwise, weakness in the area can lead to urinary incontinence.
Kegel exercises, in which you contract and release these muscles, can help you strengthen your pelvic floor and ultimately prevent leakage. Regularly practicing these exercises can also help you more fully empty your bladder each time you go.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, heres one common way Kegel exercises are done:
- Hold the squeeze for at least three seconds, then relax the muscles for at least three seconds. Your goal is to increase your contractions by 1 second until you can hold the squeeze for 10 seconds.
Dr. Sutherland recommends performing 10 repetitions three times a day and choosing times when you can consistently do them, such as your morning and evening commutes or during your workout. Breathe normally and relax your body as you do your Kegels. If youre squeezing your stomach, thigh, or buttock muscles, you arent focusing on the right muscles.
You can expect to start feeling results in about four to six weeks of consistently practicing Kegels, but it may take several months before they truly start to help reduce incontinence episodes.
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Understanding Stress Vs Urge Incontinence
If you are struggling with holding your urine, its important to understand the main two types of incontinence. Stress incontinence is leakage caused by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or similar actions. It is a result of a weakness in the pelvic floor. Urgency is that got to go feeling. For some people, the urge may feel so strong that getting to the bathroom without leakage becomes very difficult, producing urge incontinence. Your treatment may differ depending on what type of incontinence you are experiencing. Speak with a doctor right away to learn more.
How To Exercise Your Pelvic Floor
Go slowSlowly tighten and pull up your pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can and for as long as you can, then rest for four seconds and repeat. Build up gradually until you can do 10 slow contractions at a time, holding them for 10 seconds each with rests of four seconds in between.
Quick contractionsTo get your pelvic floor muscles into shape so that they can react quickly to sudden stresses, such as coughing, laughing or exercising, practice drawing in the muscles quickly, holding them for just a second before relaxing. Build up to 10 quick contractions in succession.
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Relaxation Techniques And Exercises For Oab
Various treatment options are available to treat overactive bladder. For example, in addition to medication, lifestyle changes may help reduce the symptoms. Exercises that relax and strengthen the bladder are also useful.
Exercises that help relax the bladder muscles may help reduce symptoms of overactive bladder. In addition, performing exercises that strengthen the muscles and support the bladder may also help reduce urine leakage and incontinence.
It is best to talk with your healthcare provider to determine which exercises may be most beneficial. Below are examples of typical techniques and exercises for OAB.
1. Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the bladder. If you have an overactive bladder, weak pelvic floor muscles can contribute to urine leakage.
To perform a Kegel, squeeze the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine. Hold the squeeze for about five seconds and relax. Repeat the exercise about five times. As the muscles get stronger, increase the duration to about 10 seconds. Perform Kegels a few times a day or as instructed by your doctor.
There are a few ways in which alcohol impacts overactive bladder symptoms.
2. Quick Contractions
Doing quick contractions of the pelvic floor muscles is a variation of Kegels. Squeeze the pelvic floor muscles quickly about 10 times in a row. The fast contractions signal the bladder to relax and may help with the urge to urinate.
3. Vaginal Strengthening
Do Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Strong pelvic floor muscles hold in urine better than weak muscles. You can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by doing Kegel exercises. These exercises involve tightening and relaxing the muscles that control urine flow. Researchers found that women who received pelvic floor muscle training had fewer leaks per day than women who didnt receive training.6 You should not do pelvic floor exercises while youre urinating.
Men can also benefit from pelvic floor muscle exercises. Strengthening these muscles may help a man leak urine less often, especially dribbling after urination.
A health care professional, such as a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor therapy, can help you get the most out of your Kegel exercises by helping you improve your core muscle strength. Your core includes your torso muscles, especially the lower back, pelvic floor muscles, and abdomen. These muscles keep your pelvis lined up with your spine, which helps with good posture and balance. Your physical therapist can show you how to do some exercises during daily activities, such as riding in a car or sitting at a desk.
You dont need special equipment for Kegel exercises. However, if you are unsure whether you are doing the exercises correctly, you can learn how to perform Kegel exercises properly by using biofeedback, electrical stimulation, or both. Biofeedback uses special sensors to measure muscle contractions that control urination.
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Who Does Overactive Bladder Affect
Overactive bladder is most common in people 65 and older. Women may have OAB at a younger age, usually around 45.
How common is overactive bladder?
Overactive bladder is common. It affects up to 33 million adults in the U.S., including as many as 30% of men and 40% of women. However, that number may be higher because many people may feel embarrassed and wont get help.
How does overactive bladder affect my body?
Overactive bladder symptoms can cause stress and affect your quality of life.
What Exercises Are Bad For The Pelvic Floor
Full sit-ups where there is a ton of pressure on the pelvic floor are bad for the pelvic floor. Also, avoid lifting heavy weights and/or holding your breath during lifting exercises. Until the strength improves, avoid any activity that causes urinary leakage, ie. Running, jumping, or high impact activities. Try to practice squeeze before your sneeze so you are activating your pelvic floor fully to avoid a leak until your strength is improved.
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Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Overactive bladder is one common cause of bladder control problems, especially among women. Doing regular Kegel exercises can help treat this condition. These exercises also called pelvic floor muscle exercises.
Kegel exercises are relatively easy to do. But before you can start, you need to find your pelvic floor muscles. The next time you urinate, try to stop your flow of urine midstream. The muscles you use to do that are your pelvic floor muscles.
What Is Oab And Who Gets It Your Browser Does Not Support Html5 Audio Playback You May Download The Audio File Directly Here
Overactive bladder is the name for a group of bladder symptoms. There are three main symptoms:
- A feeling that you have to go to the bathroom, urgently.
- Sometimes incontinence, which means that you leak urine with the gotta go feeling.
- Usually the need to go to the bathroom often , day and night.
With OAB, you feel that you need to empty your bladder even when its not full. This leads to the feeling that you need a bathroom quickly, right now. You cant control or ignore this feeling. If you gotta go eight or more times each day and night, or fear that urine will leak out before youre ready, you may have OAB.
OAB affects about 33 million Americans. Its not a normal part of aging. Its a health problem that can last for a long time if its not treated. Many older men and women struggle with OAB symptoms. Often people dont know about treatments that can help, or they dont ask for help.
Stress urinary incontinenceor SUI is a different bladder problem. People with SUI leak urine while sneezing, laughing or being active. It is not the same as that sudden gotta go feeling from OAB. To learn more about SUI, go to .
In this guide you will find clear information about how to manage OAB. Please ask for help, even if you feel embarrassed. Dont wait, because there are several treatments that work well for OAB. Your health care provider should be trained to talk with you and help you manage your symptoms without embarrassment.
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