Ask The Doctor: What Can I Do About Fecal Leakage
Q.Sometimes I leak a small amount of feces without noticing it. It just appears in my pants. What can I do about this?
A. When feces leak accidentally from the rectum, it is called fecal incontinence. This embarrassing condition can range from mild spotting, as you have, to an inability to control solid bowel movements.
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How Do I Do Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are a simple way to build strength in your pelvic floor muscles. These exercises are done by lifting, holding and then relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. You can find these muscles by stopping the flow of urine mid-stream while youre urinating. Only do this until you learn how to find the muscles stopping the flow of urine mid-stream isnt healthy over a long period of time.
When youre doing Kegel exercises, start small. Only hold it for a few second. Over time you can slowly work your way up to longer and longer stretches of holding the muscles tight.
Unlike other types of workouts, no one can tell when youre doing Kegel exercises. Aim to do several sets of Kegel exercises twice a day.
From Leaking Urine To Sudden Urges To Go: An Ob
You dont have to suffer in silence there are many treatment options available.
Whether its a few drops of leaking urine or a complete emptying of the bladder, incontinence is a bladder control issue that women are twice as likely to have as men. And by the time a womanhas made an appointment to talk about what shes dealing with, she has had enough.
Incontinence can be embarrassing, super annoying, and costly. But you dont have to suffer in silence there are many treatment options available.
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Living With Bowel Or Bladder Incontinence
There is no single, right way to cope with bladder or bowel incontinence. The challenge is to find what is best for your situation, so you can get the help you need and return to a normal daily life. Talk with your health care team if you notice a change in bowel or bladder habits, and about the best ways to manage incontinence, if it is a problem. You might find it helpful to talk with other people who are dealing with incontinence, too. Ask a member of your cancer care team about support groups in your area.
Here are some things you can do that may help make incontinence less of a problem:
- Empty your bladder every 3 to 4 hours while awake, to avoid accidents.
- Empty your bladder before bedtime or before strenuous activity.
- Limit drinks with caffeine, or and avoid alcohol and citrus juices, which can irritate the bladder and make you have to go more often.
- Avoid hygiene products that may irritate you Women should avoid feminine spray or over-the-counter vaginal suppositories.
- Because belly fat can push on the bladder, avoiding weight gain or losing needed weight sometimes helps improve bladder control.
- Avoid tobacco use which can cause coughing and bladder irritation due to harmful substances in tobacco products.
- Talk to your doctor about all medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements youre taking. Some may affect urine control.
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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.
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How Is It Diagnosed
To diagnose urinary retention, a doctor will first ask about the history of your symptoms and perform a physical exam. The physical will include an examination of your genitals and rectum to look for any symptoms affecting those areas that may also affect the urinary tract.
Some other tests that may be used to confirm a diagnosis
likely be inserted to help quickly drain the urine. Local anesthesia will be used to make sure you dont feel pain or discomfort from the catheter.
If a catheter doesnt work or cant be used because of an injury or other condition, a doctor may insert a suprapubic catheter into the skin above your bladder to drain the urine.
When To Seek Medical Advice
See a GP if you have any type of urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a common problem and you should not feel embarrassed talking to them about your symptoms.
This can also be the first step towards finding a way to effectively manage the problem.
Urinary incontinence can usually be diagnosed after a consultation with a GP, who will ask about your symptoms and may do a pelvic or rectal examination, depending on whether you have a vagina or a penis.
The GP may also suggest you keep a diary in which you note how much fluid you drink and how often you have to urinate.
Find out about diagnosing urinary incontinence.
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Myth #: Only Ladies Of A Certain Age Get Bladder Leaks
Actually, women of all ages get bladder leaks. What causes them? Medications. Pelvic floor injuries. Exercising. Coughing. Laughing. Sneezing. Infections. Neurological damage. Surgery. The list goes on That said, the number of women who experience leaks does increase with age because of hormonal changes during menopause. During menopause, womens bodies produce less estrogen which weakens the pelvic floor and can cause urge incontinence or overactive bladder. But drips and dribbles dont only happen to women whove experienced menopause. They can happen to anyone at any age from the young and spry to the old and wise.
You Have Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths that can grow in and on your uterus, are the most common benign tumors in women of childbearing age, per the U.S. Library of Medicine. Sometimes these tumors make their unwanted presence known by forcing you to pee all the time. This usually happens when a fibroid becomes large and presses on your bladder, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If youre experiencing symptoms you think are due to fibroids, try talking to your doctor. Theres a wealth of treatment options for the symptoms, from birth control to reduce pain and bleeding to a myomectomy to a hysterectomy and more.
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How Is Chronic Urinary Retention Diagnosed
History and physical exam: During the diagnosis process, your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and how long you have had them. He or she will also ask about your medical history and your drug use. A physical exam of the lower abdomen may show the cause or give your provider additional clues. After this, certain tests may be needed. Men may have a rectal exam to check the size of their prostate.
Your urine may be saved and checked to look for infection.
Ultrasound of the bladder: The amount of urine that stays in your bladder after urinating may be measured by doing an ultrasound test of the bladder. This test is called a postvoid residual or bladder scan.
Cystoscopy: Cystoscopy is a test in which a thin tube with a tiny camera on one end is put into your urethra. This lets the doctor look at pictures of the lining of your urethra and bladder. This test may show a stricture of the urethra, blockage caused by a stone, an enlarged prostate or a tumor. It can also be used to remove stones, if found. A computed tomography scan may also help find stones or anything else blocking the flow of urine.
Urodynamic testing: Tests that use a catheter to record pressure within the bladder may be done to tell how well the bladder empties. The rate at which urine flows can also be measured by such tests. This is called urodynamic testing.
You Have An Overactive Bladder
Having an overactive bladder means youre dealing with a sudden urge to pee that you cant control. If youre constantly asking yourself that why am I peeing so much question, this could definitely be your answer. According to the Mayo Clinic, as fluids build in your bladder, nerve signals from your bladder to your brain typically trigger your pelvic floor muscles and muscles of your urethra to relax. This allows your bladder to contract and push urine out. If you have overactive bladder, the muscles in the bladder involuntarily contract, even when its not full. Some women even leak urine after this sudden urge, Dr. Dune says.
Plenty of things can cause this to happen, including having a neurological disorder like a stroke, a bladder abnormality like a tumor, or excessive caffeine or alcohol intake, among others. The underlying cause determines the treatment, which can include medications to relax the bladder or even Botox injections to partially paralyze bladder muscles, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Bladder Problems In Men After : Urinary Incontinence Overactive Bladder Enlarged Prostate And Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms
Written byDr. Victor MarchionePublished onSeptember 9, 2016
Bladder problems are usually a subject for discussion in relation to women, but bladder issues can very much affect men, too, especially those over the age of 60. With aging, the risk of bladder-related problems increases, as there is a decline in kidney weight over time. The bladder and the urethra, too, undergo changes associated with aging, which together can lead to problems in the urinary tract system.
For men, specifically, bladder problems are often linked to changes in the prostate, which can become enlarged blocking the flow of urine. If left untreated, an enlarged prostate can cause urinary retention, which can go on to harm the kidneys.
Here we will outline three common bladder problems men over the age of 60 are at risk for. These include urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, and an enlarged prostate.
Myth #: Fit And Healthy Women Dont Get Leaks
Exercise junkies beware, dont believe this myth. Women of all shapes and sizes get bladder leaks. Its true that weight gain, obesity, and being overweight play a role in bladder leaks for some women. Extra weight can put a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor and weaken it. While staying in shape is great for your overall health, exercise is actually one of the most common triggers for leaks. All the muscle strains, contractions, and physical exertion that happen during your favorite workout class put a lot of pressure on the pelvic floor and may surprise you with a leak.
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Enlarged Prostate Problems In Elderly
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. There are two prostate growth periods: one during early puberty and another around the age of 25. As it grows, the gland can press and pinch the urethra, and the bladder walls thicken. Over time, the bladder can become weaker and lose its ability to empty fully. If the urethra continues to narrow and the bladder still cant empty, complications associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia can arise.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia does not increase a mans risk of developing prostate cancer. Prostate cancer begins in the outer peripheral zone and grows outward to invade surrounding tissue. In BPH, the growth moves inward, towards the prostates core, causing the urethra to become tighter and making it difficult to urinate.
The growth dynamics of BPH and prostate cancer determines the symptoms. BPH can have annoying symptoms, such as the inability to urinate or releasing a small amount only. Prostate cancer is referred to as a silent killer because its symptoms can take months or years to appear.
Hormonal changes that occur through aging contribute to the BPH onset. Genetics, too, can be a possible cause of BPH. The prostate continues to grow from the age of 25, but when the prostate grows too much, it can cause complications in older men.
Signs and symptoms of an enlarged prostate include:
- Difficulty urinating
Am I At A Higher Risk Of Incontinence At An Older Age
Your body constantly changes throughout your life. As you age, the muscles that support your pelvic organs can weaken. This means that your bladder and urethra have less support often leading to urine leakage. Your risk for developing incontinence as you age might be higher if you have a chronic health condition, have given birth to children, went through menopause, have an enlarged prostate or have had prostate cancer surgery. Its important to talk to your healthcare provider over time about the risks of incontinence and ways you can manage it without interference to your daily life.
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You Have A Pelvic Floor Disorder
This is an umbrella term for different disorders that result from having a weakened or injured pelvic floor, according to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that form an important sling-type structure to support the various organs in your pelvis, including your bladder and urethra. There are different kinds of pelvic floor disorders, the most common having to do with pelvic organ prolapse , bowel control problems, and bladder control problems. Pelvic floor disorders that cause frequent urination can have different causes, like childbirth, which can damage the pelvic floor, or aging, which can cause bladder muscles to weaken.
If you suspect you have a pelvic floor disorder, your doctor can help you pinpoint whats going on, along with the best course of treatment, which can include working with a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor muscles or using a pessary, which is a device that goes in the vagina to help support pelvic structures, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Urinary Incontinence In Men
Bladder leakage in men can be caused by a birth defect of the urinary tract.
Men also have the risk of contracting urinary incontinence with a history of prostate cancer. The treatment from radiation and medication may result in temporary or permanent bladder leakage.
An enlarged prostate without cancer cells may lead to a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. This condition causes the prostate to expand and apply pressure to the urethra, resulting in the walls of the bladder also expanding and thickening. Over time, the bladder weakens and retains some volume after urination.
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Absorbent Pads Catheters And Medical Devices
If medical treatments cant completely eliminate your incontinence, you can try products that help ease the discomfort and inconvenience of leaking urine:
- Pads and protective garments
- Pessaries and vaginal inserts a small device inserted into the vagina to help provide support to prevent leakage
Types Of Urinary Incontinence
There are different types of incontinence:
- Stress incontinence occurs when urine leaks as pressure is put on the bladder, for example, during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. Its the most common type of bladder control problem in younger and middle-age women. It may begin around the time of menopause.
- Urge incontinence happens when people have a sudden need to urinate and cannot hold their urine long enough to get to the toilet. It may be a problem for people who have diabetes, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
- Overflow incontinence happens when small amounts of urine leak from a bladder that is always full. A man can have trouble emptying his bladder if an enlarged prostate is blocking the urethra. Diabetes and spinal cord injuries can also cause this type of incontinence.
- Functional incontinence occurs in many older people who have normal bladder control. They just have a problem getting to the toilet because of arthritis or other disorders that make it hard to move quickly.
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Managing Bladder Or Urinary Incontinence
Sometimes urinary incontinence can last a short time, depending on what’s causing it. But sometimes incontinence can be long-term and uncomfortable, making some everyday activities difficult to manage.
Your health care team will ask you questions to determine the type of bladder incontinence you might have. Then, you might need tests to verify the type and learn the cause of it which will help them know the best way to manage it.
- Pelvic floor muscle strengthening may be recommended. A physical therapist that specializes in pelvic floor muscle exercises can help. This might help muscle strength and bladder control get better by doing exercises that tighten and relax muscles that control the flow of urine.
- Bladder training canhelp manage how often you need to urinate throughout the day, by assigning certain time intervals to empty your bladder.
It Takes More Than A Few Kegels To Fix It
Instead of seeking treatment for incontinence, many women try to “deal with it” on their own by changing their exercise routines, trying Kegel exercises, even resorting to wearing sanitary napkins to absorb bladder leaks.
Unfortunately, instead of getting medical treatment a lot of women try to deal with urinary incontinence on their own. They might stop running or doing other exercises that cause bladder leaks, or otherwise modify their lifestyle. Or, women might try doing Kegels at home or just resort to wearing pads,” said Eutsler.
Half of women who have the condition never mention it to their doctors out of embarrassment, or because they think bladder leaks are a normal part of the aging process. Getting older does increase the likelihood of experiencing bladder leaks, or making it worse, in part because muscles including those in the pelvic floor lose tone as we age.
If you’ve experienced consistent bladder control issues for at least three months, you should seek medical treatment. Your primary care doctor, gynecologist or urologist can guide your incontinence care.
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