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 ¾ 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.
What Are The Specific Symptoms Of Overactive Bladder
Overactive bladder represents a collection of symptoms that can include:
- Urinary urgency: This is a failure to be able to postpone the need to urinate. When you feel you need to urinate, you have a limited amount of time to get to a bathroom.
- Frequency of urination: People who experience this symptom need to urinate very often. Typically its an increase in the number of times you urinate compared to what you previously experienced.
- Urge incontinence: In this case, there can be a leakage of urine when you get the urge to urinate.
- Nocturia: This symptom is characterized by the need to get up and urinate at least two times each night.
Treatment Of Urinary Incontinence
Treatment usually begins with bladder training and Kegel exercises. Avoiding physical stresses that cause loss of urine and losing weight may help control incontinence. Pseudoephedrine may be useful in women with bladder outlet incompetence. Imipramine may be used for mixed stress and urge incontinence Urge incontinence Urinary incontinence is involuntary loss of urine. Incontinence can occur in both men and women at any age, but it is more common among women and older people, affecting about 30% of older women read more or for either separately. Duloxetine is also used for stress incontinence. If stress incontinence is caused by atrophic urethritis or vaginitis, estrogen cream is often effective. For people with stress incontinence, urinating frequently to avoid a full bladder is often helpful.
For stress incontinence that is not relieved with drugs and behavioral measures, surgery or devices such as pessaries may be helpful. The vaginal sling procedure creates a hammock of support to help prevent the urethra from opening during coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Most commonly, a sling is created from synthetic mesh. Mesh implants are effective, but a few people with mesh implants have serious complications. Alternatively, doctors can create a sling using tissue from the abdominal wall or leg. In men with stress incontinence, a mesh sling or an artificial urinary sphincter implant may be placed around the urethra to prevent leakage of urine.
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Essentials For Older People: Urinary Incontinence
Although incontinence is more common among older people, it is not a normal part of aging.
With aging, bladder capacity decreases, ability to delay urination declines, involuntary bladder contractions occur more often, and bladder contractions weaken. Thus, urination becomes more difficult to postpone and tends to be incomplete. The muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue of the pelvis weaken, contributing to incontinence. In postmenopausal women, decreased estrogen levels lead to atrophic urethritis and atrophic vaginitis and to decreasing the strength of the urethral sphincter. In men, prostate size increases, partially obstructing the urethra and leading to incomplete bladder emptying and strain on the bladder muscle. These changes occur in many normal, continent older people and may facilitate incontinence but do not cause it.
The most effective drugs for many kinds of incontinence have anticholinergic effects . These effects, such as constipation, dry mouth, blurred vision, and sometimes even confusion, can be particularly troublesome in older people.
How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated
You and your doctor or nurse will work together to create a treatment plan. You may start with steps you can take at home. If these steps do not improve your symptoms, your doctor or nurse may recommend other treatments depending on whether you have stress incontinence or urge incontinence or both.
Be patient as you work with your doctor or nurse on a treatment plan. It may take a month or longer for different treatments to begin working.
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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.
Should I Drink Less Water Or Other Fluids If I Have Urinary Incontinence
No. Many people with urinary incontinence think they need to drink less to reduce how much urine leaks out. But you need fluids, especially water, for good health.
Women need 91 ounces of fluids a day from food and drinks.11 Getting enough fluids helps keep your kidneys and bladder healthy, prevents urinary tract infections, and prevents constipation, which may make urinary incontinence worse.
After age 60, people are less likely to get enough water, putting them at risk for dehydration and conditions that make urinary incontinence worse.12
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More Frequent Urinary Tract Infections
A weak pelvic floor can be mistaken for a UTI, but sometimes a weak pelvic floor can also increase the likelihood that you will experience UTIs, says Dr. Hesham. Signs that you may have a UTI include feeling an urge to pee, experiencing a burning sensation when you pee, and finding blood in your urine.
How Is Urinary Incontinence Diagnosed
Urinary incontinence is easy to recognize. The primary symptom most people experience is an involuntary release of urine. But the type and cause of the incontinence can be more difficult to determine and may require a variety of exams and tests. Most physicians will use the following:
A bladder diary Your doctor may have you track your fluid intake and output over several days. This may include any episodes of incontinence or urgency issues. To help you measure the amount of urine you pass during an episode of incontinence, you may be asked to use a calibrated container that fits over your toilet to collect the urine.
Urinalysis A urine sample can be checked for infections, traces of blood, or other abnormalities, such as the presence of cancer cells. A urine culture can assess for infection urine cytology looks for cancer cells.
Blood tests Blood tests can look for chemicals and substances that may relate to conditions causing the incontinence.
Pelvic ultrasound In this imaging test, an ultrasound device is used to create an image of the bladder or other parts of the urinary tract to check for problems.
Postvoid residual measurement In this procedure, the patient empties the bladder completely and the physician uses a device to measure how much urine, if any, remains in the bladder. A large amount of residual urine in the bladder suggests overflow incontinence.
UI is usually curable, and if not, then controllable.
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What Medications Can I Use For Overactive Bladder
Your doctor may suggest trying behavioral techniques before having you use a medication to treat overactive bladder. However, medications can work very well to return normal function to the bladder. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of using the following commonly prescribed medications:
These medications control muscle spasms in the bladder:
- Oxybutynin , oxybutynin XL , oxybutynin TDDS .
- Tolterodine .
- Mirabegron .
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.
Vaginal pessery is a flexible ring of silicone that is inserted into the vagina in women where it pushes up on the wall of the vagina and urethra so as to help in supporting the bladder as well as the urethra. You doctor can fit one for you however, you will require regular checkups so as to ensure that it does not cause irritation in your vagina.
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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Treatment For Stress Urinary Incontinence
It is important to have your symptoms assessed by a health professional who will assess your bladder behaviour and pelvic floor and confirm that you have stress urinary incontinence.
The main treatment for stress incontinence is pelvic floor exercises. Surgery to tighten or support the bladder outlet can also help. Medication may be used in addition to exercises if you do not want, or are not suitable for surgery.
There is medication available for treating women with moderate to severe stress urinary incontinence, along with pelvic floor muscle exercises. Older people with other problems in addition to their bladder may benefit from seeing a specialist in medicine for older people.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is not an inevitable result of aging, but it is particularly common in older people. It is often caused by specific changes in body function that may result from diseases, use of medications and/or the onset of an illness. Sometimes it is the first and only symptom of a urinary tract infection. Women are most likely to develop urinary incontinence during pregnancy and after childbirth, or after the hormonal changes of menopause.
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Encourage Them To Stay Social
Seniors with weak bladders need to stay social. Urinary incontinence can cause them to feel embarrassed and ashamed, leading to social isolation. You need to encourage your loved ones to continue participating in their usual activities and social engagements.
There are several ways to help your loved one feel more comfortable. You can help them choose clothing that is less likely to show wet spots. You can also suggest activities that are not as physically demanding, such as watching a movie or going for a walk. If your loved one is uncomfortable discussing their condition with others, you can be the one to talk on their behalf.
Duration Of Urinary Incontinence
Most cases of UI are chronic, and will remain so until treated. Depending on the cause, however, not all UI cases are chronic. If the cause is temporary, such as a vaginal infection or a urinary tract infection, the UI will stop once the issue is addressed.
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What Are Some Of The Different Types Of Urinary Incontinence
The following are some of the different types of urinary incontinence:
Urgency incontinence: This is the inability to hold urine long enough to reach a restroom. It can be associated with having to urinate often and feeling a strong, sudden urge to urinate. It can be a separate condition, but it may also be an indication of other diseases or conditions that would also warrant medical attention.
Stress incontinence: This is the leakage of urine during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects or performing other body movements that put pressure on the bladder.
Functional incontinence: This is urine leakage due to a difficulty reaching a restroom in time because of physical conditions, such as arthritis, injury or other disabilities.
Overflow incontinence. Leakage occurs when the quantity of urine produced exceeds the bladders capacity to hold it.
When Should I See A Health Care Professional
See a health care professional if you have symptoms of a bladder problem, such as trouble urinating, a loss of bladder control, waking to use the bathroom, pelvic pain, or leaking urine.
Bladder problems can affect your quality of life and cause other health problems. Your health care professional may be able to treat your UI by recommending lifestyle changes or a change in medicine.
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Types Of Urinary Incontinence
There are different types of urinary incontinence, each with different causes and treatments:
Stress incontinence: Someone leaks small amounts of urine when they cough, sneeze, laugh or play sport. This happens because increased pressure inside the tummy presses down on the bladder.
Its more common in women around the time of childbirth or after menopause. It can also happen in people who have diabetes, a chronic cough , constipation or obesity.
Urge incontinence: The person suddenly and urgently needs to wee. This condition is sometimes called an unstable or overactive bladder. People with urge incontinence feel like their bladder is fuller than it actually is. They may need to wee very often, including during the night.
Urge incontinence often gets worse with age, and can be triggered by stress or by drinking caffeine in tea, coffee and fizzy drinks or alcohol. Its also linked to stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other health conditions that interfere in the messages sent between the bladder and the brain.
Incontinence associated with chronic retention: The bladder doesnt empty properly so it leaks small amounts of urine. This can happen due to a blockage in the urethra , an enlarged prostate, a prolapse, or damage to the nerves around the bladder or pelvic floor muscles.
The condition can be caused by some medicines and is also linked to diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
How Is Overactive Bladder Diagnosed
In most cases OAB can be diagnosed by history and physical exam and a urine analysis to rule out infection or blood in the urine. An abnormal urine analysis may prompt treatment or further testing . Sometime you doctor will check to see if your bladder is emptying well. This can be done with a small ultrasound or with a catheter). Many times, treatment can be recommended based on the information obtained from these simple things.
In some cases, a bladder diary may be recommended to help understand the severity of the condition. A bladder diary is a record kept by the patient that includes fluid intake, number or urinations, and the amount of urine with each urination.
In more complex cases further testing may be done to get a better understanding of the function and anatomy of the lower urinary tract. These tests may include:
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Strengthening Weak Bladder With Lifestyle Changes Exercises Herbal Remedies Medications And Medical Treatments
There is a long list that tells how to strengthen weak bladder. You need to follow the one that works best for you. You need to choose your treatment options depending on the kind of incontinence you suffer from. But, before getting any treatment you need to know that this condition can be managed in an easy manner and there is nothing to worry about it.
Let us know how to strengthen weak bladder in the following section.
Key Points About Bladder Control Problems In Men
- Although bladder control problems are common, it is important to seek help so you can get help for your symptoms and your doctor can rule out any serious conditions.
- Bladder control problems can be due to a number of reasons such as prostate cancer or prostate enlargement.
- Symptoms are often accepted as part of the natural aging process but its important to know there are treatments out there that can help.
Image credit: Canva
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Things To Avoid To Strengthen Weak Bladder:
There are certain things which you need to avoid to strengthen weak bladder. Below are some of them.
- Avoid caffeine, caffeinated foods and drinks like tea, coffee, chocolates and most sodas.
- You also need to avoid or limit alcohol to strengthen weak bladder.
- Avoiding citrus fruits, spicy foods, and tomato based-foods, also help.
- You must also avoid or quit smoking.
- You also need to avoid constipation by consuming lots of high-fiber rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Moreover, you can also avoid constipation by drinking plenty of water and by remaining physically active.
NOTE: You also need to test the foods and drinks that can irritate your bladder and eliminate them from your daily diet. Then after, you can reincorporate them one by one in every 3 days at a time. You must eliminate the foods and drinks permanently which actually worsen your symptoms.