The Manual: Products To Help You Deal With Leaking Urine
Urinary incontinence is a common side effect for men after prostate cancer surgery . For some men, lifestyle changes, bladder retraining and pelvic floor muscle exercises will help to reduce or stop the leaking within six to 12 months after surgery. But if not, there are products and treatments available to help. Here Specialist Nurse, Sophie answers some common questions about ways you can manage your incontinence so you can get on with life.
Urinary Incontinence A Guide To Coping With A Leaky Bladder
- Sun, Sep 26, 2021
Around 3 million people in the UK regularly experience urinary incontinence and have to struggle with the discomfort it can cause.
Dr Rhianna McClymont, Lead GP at Livi, explains how common bladder problems in women are and how easy some can be to treat or in most cases, see a significant improvement from treatment.
We know that as many as 1 in 5 women over the age of 40 have some kind of urinary incontinence, but unfortunately many do not ask for help – possibly due to embarrassment, says Dr Rhianna McClymont.
Treatment will depend on the type of female incontinence from simple lifestyle changes, daily exercises to medication and so its a good idea to speak to a GP about your symptoms as soon as you can.
What Is Urinary Incontinence And How Is It Related To Prostate Cancer Surgery
If youve had prostate cancer surgery, you might experience stress incontinence, which means you might leak urine when you cough, sneeze or lift something that is heavy. This happens because of stress or pressure on the bladder. There is also a type of incontinence that is called urge incontinence. When this happens, you are hit with a sudden need to urinate right away and have leakage before you can make it to the bathroom.
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Medications For Urinary Incontinence
If medications are used, this is usually in combination with other techniques or exercises.
The following medications are prescribed to treat urinary incontinence:
- Anticholinergics calm overactive bladders and may help patients with urge incontinence.
- Topical estrogen may reinforce tissue in the urethra and vaginal areas and lessen some of the symptoms.
- Imipramine is a tricyclic antidepressant.
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 Is Urinary Incontinence
Very simply, urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control. A leaky bladder is anytime you discharge a small amount of urine when you arent intending to urinate. A lot of women have experienced peeing themselves while laughing, sneezing, coughing, or exercising. Worrying about these things during everyday life can cause us to avoid social situations or certain activities that could trigger a leaky bladder. Other symptoms can include waking up several times during the night to pee, or urinating during sleep.
How To Stop A Leaky Bladder
Saturday, July 26, 20143 CommentsShare This:
A new CDC report puts the percentage of seniors living independently who experience some degree of urinary incontinence at four in ten and looking at women alone, at more than half. If youre not among them, you can do something now to minimize your risk of springing a leak as you age if you are, you can do something, too. Thats why were republishing this article about insurance-covered programs and home exercises that work. Its worth a read.
Tell the truth: Have you ever leaked urine when you sneezed or laughed too hard? Bet you have.
As many as 29 percent of people ages 60 to 70, most of them women, have the problem known as stress urinary incontinence. And as we age, it can grow more troubling.
If youre like most people with SUI, youre probably too embarrassed to talk about it with your doctor much less a spouse or friend.
According to the National Association for Continence, women typically wait more than six years after their first symptoms appear before getting a diagnosis for a condition that can be managed at home or with the help of a professional.
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What Causes Bladder Leakage In Women
The three types of urinary incontinence and main causes of bladder leaking are:
- Stress incontinence
- Urge incontinence
- Overflow incontinence
Stress incontinence is the most common cause of bladder leakage in women and is the result of a weakened pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is the system of muscles and ligaments that form a basket of support for your bladder and uterus. The pelvic floor helps regulate the urinary sphincter, which controls the flow of urine out of the bladder. The pelvic floor can be weakened by life events such as pregnancy, childbirth or being overweight. Once weakened, any pressure â or stress â placed on the pelvic floor causes a small amount of urine to leave the bladder. This can be from coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or lifting objects.
Urge incontinence , also known as overactive bladder or OAB, is the result of nerve damage to the nerves in and around the bladder, either as a result of a neurological disease like multiple sclerosis or Parkinsonâs or due to previous pelvic surgery or injury. This nerve damage means that the nerves and muscles in your bladder spasm and fire off too often, sending you on a mad dash to the bathroom. This means that your bladder signals that itâs time to go even when itâs not full. The urge to urinate then comes on suddenly and intensely, to the point that you often may not make it to the toilet in time to urinate.
Incontinence And Alzheimers Disease
People in the later stages of Alzheimers disease often have problems with urinary incontinence. This can be a result of not realizing they need to urinate, forgetting to go to the bathroom, or not being able to find the toilet. To minimize the chance of accidents, the caregiver can:
- Avoid giving drinks like caffeinated coffee, tea, and sodas, which may increase urination. But dont limit water.
- Keep pathways clear and the bathroom clutter-free, with a light on at all times.
- Make sure you provide regular bathroom breaks.
- Supply underwear that is easy to get on and off.
- Use absorbent underclothes for trips away from home.
For more ways to deal with incontinence and other common medical problems in someone with Alzheimers, visit Alzheimers Disease: Common Medical Problems.
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Home Exercises For Leaky Bladders
Visualization for Bladder Control
As well as biofeedback, Kleinhandler also teaches visualization, which patients do at home.
Imagine your pelvic floor muscles and then visualize pulling up, as if you were using a zipper. Visualize drawing in those muscles as you pull the zipper up, but not pulling in your abdominals. Or, she suggests, visualize pulling the strings of a drawstring purse at its neck.
If you practice Kegels lying in bed or on the floor, you can put your hands on your abdominals youll feel them pull in if youre not doing it right.
Some women are told to do Kegels in the bathroom, trying to stop the flow of urine. But the flow and urge are stronger at the start and its hard for even a trained person to stop the flow. So its not the best place to practice, she says.
Urge Suppression Diet
Kleinhandler also teaches urge suppression techniques and advises women on foods to avoid, since they can irritate the bladder:
- Coffee, tea and cola drinks that contain caffeine.
- Tomatoes and tomato products
Faqs About Leaking Urine
Is incontinence a common problem? Yes! Its very common. About 1/3 of women around the world struggle with incontinence. This large statistic was part of the motivation to create an easy treatment option that could improve the quality of life for millions of women.
Will a leaking bladder get better on its own? Incontinence doesnt typically get better without treatment. Left alone, leaks will most likely worsen. Dont wait to take action because the earlier treatment starts, the easier incontinence is to treat.
How severe is my incontinence? Generally, incontinence is broken down into three levels. Mild incontinence is when you leak a couple of times a week. Leaking urine every day means you might have moderate incontinence. If you leak more than 5 times a day, you might have severe incontinence. ELITONE is made for women with mild to moderate incontinence. Unsure if ELITONE would work for you? Bring this informational printout to your healthcare provider and ask them about ELITONE.
Why should I use ELITONE? Unlike most treatments, ELITONE is completely noninvasive, meaning nothing gets inserted vaginally. Thats reason enough for most women! The unique design also allows you to make dinner, get on a conference call, or walk the dog while getting treatment. Because the device helps you do Kegel exercises longer and stronger than you could on your own, many women find it a more effective alternative than trying to do Kegels on their own.
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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 don’t know what causes it to happen in otherwise perfectly healthy people,” says Dr. Sheyn.
Gentle Exercise And Resistance Training
Building your core, leg, and pelvic muscles through gentle exercise like walking or resistance training will help you stop leaks.Since excess belly fat puts you at a higher risk of experiencing these embarrassing leaks, maintaining a healthy weight through targeted nutrition and gentle exercise is a critical piece in maintaining your health for the decades to come.
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.
Controlling The Need To Urinate
Some activities may increase leakage for some people. Things to avoid include:
- Coughing, sneezing, and straining, and other actions that put extra pressure on the pelvic muscles. Get treatment for a cold or lung problems that make you cough or sneeze.
- Very heavy lifting.
Ask your provider about things you can do to ignore urges to pass urine. After a few weeks, you should leak urine less often.
Train your bladder to wait a longer time between trips to the toilet.
- Start by trying to hold off for 10 minutes. Slowly increase this waiting time to 20 minutes.
- Learn to relax and breathe slowly. You can also do something that takes your mind off your need to urinate.
- The goal is to learn to hold the urine for up to 4 hours.
Urinate at set times, even if you do not feel the urge. Schedule yourself to urinate every 2 to 4 hours.
Empty your bladder all the way. After you go once, go again a few minutes later.
Even though you are training your bladder to hold in urine for longer periods of time, you should still empty your bladder more often during times when you might leak. Set aside specific times to train your bladder. Urinate often enough at other times when you are not actively trying to train your bladder to help prevent incontinence.
Ask your provider about medicines that may help.
Surgery may be an option for you. Ask your provider if you would be a candidate.
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How Can I Help Myself
Urinary problems can affect your self-esteem and independence, and affect your work, social and sex life.
Making some changes to your lifestyle may help, and there are some practical steps that can make things easier.
- Try to drink plenty of fluids, but cut down on fizzy drinks, alcohol, tea and coffee as these may irritate the bladder
- Do regular pelvic floor muscle exercises to help strengthen the muscles that control when you urinate.
- Try to stay a healthy weight. Being overweight can put pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles.
- If you smoke, try to stop. Smoking can cause coughing which puts pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. NHS Choices has more information about stopping smoking
- Plan ahead when you go out. For example, find out where there are public toilets before leaving home.
- Pack a bag with extra pads, underwear and wet wipes. Some men also find it useful to carry a screw-top container in case they cant find a toilet.
- Get our Urgent toilet card to help make it easier to ask for urgent access to a toilet.
- Disability Rights UK runs a National Key Scheme for anyone who needs access to locked public toilets across the UK because of a disability or health condition.
- If you often need to use the toilet at night, leave a light on in case youre in a hurry, or keep a container near your bed.
For more information look at our How to manage urinary problems guide.
What Are Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises, also called Kegels or pelvic floor muscle training, are exercises for your pelvic floor muscles to help prevent or reduce stress urinary incontinence. Your pelvic floor muscles support your uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
Four in 10 women improved their symptoms after trying Kegels.9 Kegels can be done daily and may be especially helpful during pregnancy. They can help prevent the weakening of pelvic floor muscles, which often happens during pregnancy and childbirth. Your pelvic floor muscles may also weaken with age and less physical activity.
Some women have urinary symptoms because the pelvic floor muscles are always tightened. In this situation, Kegel exercises will not help your urinary symptoms and may cause more problems. Talk to your doctor or nurse about your urinary symptoms before doing Kegel exercises.
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Diagnosis Of Urinary Incontinence
The first step in treating incontinence is to see a doctor. He or she will give you a physical exam and take your medical history. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and the medicines you use. He or she will want to know if you have been sick recently or had surgery. Your doctor also may do a number of tests. These might include:
- Urine and blood tests
- Tests that measure how well you empty your bladder
In addition, your doctor may ask you to keep a daily diary of when you urinate and when you leak urine. Your family doctor may also send you to a urologist, a doctor who specializes in urinary tract problems.
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.
TRY IT: Keep Records
Your doctor will want to know as much as possible about your bladder leakswhen they occur, how much urine comes out, and what youre doing when leaks happen. Consider keeping a diary of when you urinate and when you have leaks, recommends Wright.
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