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
- Cloudy urine
- 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 Is The Treatment For Urinary Incontinence
The most appropriate treatment for urinary incontinence will depend on what is causing it.
If the problem is with your pelvic floor muscles, physiotherapy can make a big difference. Medicine can help to relax the bladder muscles, which can help with urge incontinence. Talk to your doctor about whether medicine is right for you.
Some lifestyle changes may also help to treat urinary incontinence. These include:
If medicine, physiotherapy or lifestyle changes dont work, surgery to support your bladder and urethra is an option for some types of urinary incontinence.
You can also try to train your bladder to improve control and increase the amount of urine you can hold. Talk to your doctor or incontinence health professional about a bladder training program.
If you are caring for someone with incontinence, make sure they can access the toilet easily and that its clearly signposted. Make sure their clothing is easy to remove and monitor their routine so you can remind them to go to the toilet regularly. You can read more about caring for someone with incontinence on the Continence Foundation of Australia website.
How Is Incontinence Treated
There are many different factors that your healthcare provider will consider when creating a treatment plan for your incontinence. The type of incontinence and the ways it affects your life are both big considerations. Your provider will also talk to you about the type of treatment you are most comfortable with. There are three main types of treatment you can explore for incontinence medications, lifestyle changes and surgery. Each option has pros and cons that your provider will discuss with you.
Medications to treat incontinence
There are quite a few medications that can reduce leakage. Some of these drugs stabilize the muscle contractions that cause problems with an overactive bladder. Other medications actually do the opposite thing relaxing muscles to allow your bladder to empty completely. Hormone replacement therapies can often involving replacing estrogen thats decreased during menopause may also help restore normal bladder function.
In many cases, medications can work very well to return normal function to the bladder. Your provider will carefully select a medication that matches your specific needs. Often, your provider will start you on a low dose of the medication and then increase it slowly. This is done to try and reduce your risks of side effects and to keep track of how well the medication is working to treat your incontinence.
Common medications that can be used to treat incontinence include:
Lifestyle changes to manage incontinence
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What Are The Causes Of Loss Of Bladder Control
Short-term loss of bladder control may come from urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, constipation, and some medications. However, if your loss of bladder control lasts longer than a week, tell your doctor.
Long-term loss of bladder control may be caused by:
- Weak muscles in the bladder
- Overactive bladder muscles
- Damage to nerves in the bladder
- Blockage from an enlarged prostate
- Excess weight.
Bladder Leaks Are Common
“Likely you don’t know it but your friends and relatives have had to deal with one form or another,” he says.
Working with a doctor to identify the type of incontinence you have can help inform treatment, says Eilber.
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Why Am I Losing Control Of My Bladder
There are plenty of hypothetical reasons for a weak bladder and subsequent bladder leakage. It can widely vary from weakened pelvic muscles which occurs during pregnancy & childbirth to the bladder or prostate cancer. In addition, there are few potential causes that result in the weak bladder that includes
Types And Causes Of Incontinence In Aging Adults
Simply put, the bladder does two things: it stores urine and empties of urine.
When storage goes wrong, this can result in symptoms of urgency, frequency, and stress incontinence. When these symptoms are severe, like having to void more than 13 times a day, or more than twice at night, quality of life can be significantly impaired.
There can also be problems with getting the bladder to empty at the right time and place. Two types of issues that often come up for older adults are:
Heres a chart reviewing the different types of incontinence:
|A mixture of the above symptoms|
So far, Ive talked mostly about chronic incontinence, but there can be a few reasons why an older person would suddenly start losing bladder control. As a geriatrician, I always want to rule out these potentially treatable issues before embarking on a long-term continence management plan.
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What Is Urinary Retention
Urinary retention is a condition where your bladder doesnt empty all the way or at all when you urinate. Your bladder is like a storage tank for urine. Urine is made up of waste thats filtered out of your blood by your kidneys. Once filtered, the urine moves to your bladder where it waits till its time to move through the urethra and out of the body.
When you have urinary retention, it can be acute or chronic . Acute means that it comes on quickly and it could be severe. Chronic urinary retention means that youve had the condition for a longer period of time.
The acute form of urinary retention is an emergency. In this case, youll need to see a healthcare provider right away. The chronic form happens most of the time in older men, but it can also occur in women.
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.
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Symptoms Of Oab Your Browser Does Not Support Html5 Audio Playback You May Download The Audio File Directly Here
Urgency: This is the main symptom of OAB. It is a strong need to urinate that cant be ignored. This gotta go feeling makes people afraid that theyll leak urine if they dont find a bathroom right away. OAB may also cause:
- Incontinence : Sometimes OAB causes urine to leak out before getting to the bathroom. This is called urgency incontinence. Some people may leak just a few drops, while others can have a sudden gush.
- Urinate frequently: OAB may also cause people to go to the bathroom many times during the day. Experts say that frequent urination is when you have to go to the bathroom more than eight times in 24 hours.
- Wake up at night to urinate: OAB can wake a person from sleep to go to the bathroom more than once a night. This is called nocturia by health providers.
Some foods and drinks can bother the bladder. Caffeine, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, chocolate and very spicy foods may make OAB symptoms worse.
OAB does not cause pain. If you feel pain while urinating, you may have an infection. Please talk with your health care provider about pain.
What Are The Complications Of Treatments For Urinary Retention
UTI from Catheter Use
Placement of a urinary catheter provides an opportunity for bacteria to enter the urinary tract. Bacteria may come from the patients anus and perineum or from the health workers hands. Health workers must take great care, using sterile technique, when placing a catheter. If you are performing clean intermittent catheterization, you must follow the same sterile procedures every time you handle the catheter.
Incontinence and Erectile Dysfunction After Prostate Surgery
Transurethral surgery to treat an enlarged prostate may result in loss of bladder control or erection problems in some men. These problems are usually temporary. Most men recover their bladder control in a few weeks or months, and most recover their sexual function within 1 year after the operation.
Hope through Research
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has many research programs aimed at finding and improving treatments for urinary disorders. Researchers supported by the NIDDK are working to develop methods for preventing UTIs in patients who must use urinary catheters. One team of researchers is developing a catheter that gradually releases an antiseptic agent while it stays in the urinary tract. Another team is studying the use of benign bacteria on a catheter to inhibit the growth of disease-causing bacteria.
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Fast Facts On Urinary Incontinence
- Urinary incontinence is more common in females than in males.
- There are a number of reasons why urinary incontinence can occur.
- Obesity and smoking are both risk factors for urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence is when a person cannot prevent urine from leaking out.
It can be due to stress factors, such as coughing, it can happen during and after pregnancy, and it is more common with conditions such as obesity.
The chances of it happening increase with age.
Bladder control and pelvic floor, or Kegel, exercises can help prevent or reduce it.
Treatment will depend on several factors, such as the type of incontinence, the patients age, general health, and their mental state.
Can Incontinence Be Prevented
Different events throughout your life can lead to many of the things that cause incontinence. The muscles that support your pelvic organs can weaken over time. For women, these muscles can also be weakened by big life events like pregnancy and childbirth. However, in the same way you work out to build strength in your legs or arms, you can do exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Doing exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles may not prevent you from having any issues with incontinence, but it can help you regain control of your bladder. Maintaining a healthy body weight can also help with bladder control. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best ways to maintain strong pelvic floor muscles throughout your life.
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When You Should See A Health Care Professional
You shouldnt have to wear a pad to soak up urine every day. Also ask yourself these questions:
Is the urge to urinate interfering with your work because of leaking or frequent bathroom breaks?
Do you map out where bathrooms are when you run errands?
Is incontinence interfering with your sex life or intimacy with your partner?
These are all signs of a problem, and that it may be time for you to talk with a gynecologist.
Causes Of Urge Incontinence
The urgent and frequent need to pass urine can be caused by a problem with the detrusor muscle in the wall of the bladder. The detrusor muscles relax to allow the bladder to fill with urine, then contract when you go to the toilet to let the urine out.
Sometimes the detrusor muscle contract too often, creating an urgent need to go to the toilet. This is known as having an ‘overactive bladder’. The reason your detrusor muscle contracts too often may not be clear, but possible causes include:
- drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
- poor fluid intake this can cause strong, concentrated urine to collect in your bladder, which can irritate your bladder and cause symptoms of overactivity
Stopping these medications, if advised to do so by a doctor, may help resolve your incontinence.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes
According to the Urology Care Foundation, women are at greater risk for UI than men because they have a shorter urethra than men. As a result, any weakness or damage to the urethra in a woman is more likely to cause urinary incontinence. This is because there is less muscle keeping the urine in your bladder until you are ready to urinate.
How Can I Manage Incontinence At Home
Incontinence can be uncomfortable and disruptive. It can cause sleeping problems, make you feel ashamed or angry, or affect your daily life in other ways. In addition to working with your health care team to find the best treatment, there are things you can do at home to help make incontinence better or more comfortable.
Limit how much you drink, especially coffee and alcohol. Avoid foods that can irritate the bladder, including dairy products, citrus fruits, sugar, chocolate, soda, tea, and vinegar.
Go to the bathroom right before bedtime and any vigorous activity.
Wear an absorbent pad inside your underwear or disposable incontinence underwear.
Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can put pressure on the bladder and muscles that support it.
Go to the bathroom regularly each day. Do not wait too long or put off going.
Quit smoking. Nicotine can irritate the bladder. It can also make you cough and leak urine.
Do Kegel exercises. Ask your health care team about doing Kegel exercises at home. They can make your bladder stronger. To do Kegel exercises, first tighten the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine. Then, relax those muscles. Repeat the exercise several times. During this exercise, relax the muscles in your belly, buttocks, and thigh.
Finally, it can help to find support. Talk with your health care team or join a support group for people with bladder problems. It can help you feel better to know that other people are also dealing with incontinence.
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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.
Why Do I Feel Like I Still Have To Pee After Peeing
If a person has a constant urge to pee but little comes out when they go, they may have an infection or other health condition. If a person frequently needs to pee but little comes out when they try to go, it can be due to a urinary tract infection , pregnancy, an overactive bladder, or an enlarged prostate.
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How To Get Help For Female Urinary Incontinence
Still feeling unsure about your first step? Remember, incontinence doesnt have to stop you from enjoying daily life on your terms. Getting the right diagnosis and treatment can be a life changer.
If you think that you might have urinary incontinence, reach out to one of our primary care doctors. Well answer any questions you may have and guide you to treatment that will work for you. If specialty care is needed, well refer you to our team of compassionate urogynecology specialists.
Common Causes Of Urinary Incontinence In Men
Urinary incontinence in meninvoluntary leakage of urine is not an uncommon problem. As estimated 3.4 million men in the United States currently experience UI, making life difficult both physically and emotionally. While often related to prostate problems, urinary incontinence has a variety of causes and can also be brought on by medical conditions such as diabetes and Parkinsons disease, and by pelvic surgical procedures including prostatectomy.
However, like many conditions that were once thought to be an inevitable fact of aging, UI in men is often due to underlying conditions that are treatable. Urologists are experts in the evaluation and treatment of UI with an array of evolving and cutting-edge techniques.
Treatment is an important consideration for any man affected. The healthcare community has lately begun to take a closer look at inequities in medical treatment, and although there is limited data on urinary incontinence in those of different races, in one study African-American men had the highest prevalence of incontinence. Hispanic men are also widely impacted. The study concluded that ethnicity appears to be a contributing risk factor for UI.