How Does The Urinary System Work
Urination, or voiding, is a complex activity. The bladder is a balloon-like organ that lies in the lowest part of the abdomen. The bladder stores urine, then releases it through the urethra, the canal that carries urine to the outside of the body. Controlling this activity involves nerves, muscles, the spinal cord, and the brain. The bladder is composed of two types of muscles: the detrusor, a muscular sac that stores urine and squeezes to empty and the sphincter, a circular group of muscles at the bottom or neck of the bladder that automatically stay contracted to hold the urine in and automatically relax when the detrusor contracts to let the urine into the urethra. A third group of muscles below the bladder can contract to keep urine back. A babys bladder fills to a set point, then automatically contracts and empties. As the child gets older, the nervous system matures. The childs brain begins to get messages from the filling bladder and begins to send messages to the bladder to keep it from automatically emptying until the child decides it is the time and place to void. Incontinence happens less often after age 5: About 10 percent of 5-year-olds, 5 percent of 10-year-olds, and 1 percent of 18-year-olds experience episodes of incontinence. It is twice as common in boys as in girls. Failures in this control mechanism result in incontinence. Reasons for this failure range from simple to complex.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Also known as Kegel exercises, these exercises are especially effective for stress incontinence but may also help urge incontinence. To do pelvic floor muscle exercises, imagine that youre trying to stop your urine flow. Then:
- Tighten the muscles you would use to stop urinating and hold for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds.
- Work up to holding the contractions for 10 seconds at a time.
- Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions each day.
It Could Be A Sign Of An Underlying Condition
Naturally, later in life, people can experience incontinence because of increased production of urine related to aging kidneys. Bladder function is also heavily impacted by changing bladder capacity and chronic medical conditions like diabetes, says Fairchild. Chronic straining, coughing and/or constipation can all put stress on the bladder, she explains.
But leakage can also be sign of a more serious, underlying health condition, according to a 2018 National Poll on Healthy Aging.” For example, poor heart function could be the culprit behind frequent urination while sleeping.
If fluid is pooling in your legs during the day, when you lay down, that fluid redistributes and increases urine production, says Fairchild.
Although bladder leakage is common, discuss your particular symptoms with your doctor.
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Seek Help From A Qualified Physical Therapist
If you experience any incontinence or pain that persists after giving birth, talk to your doctor, who may recommend getting treatment from a licensed physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor therapy. Starting a thorough rehabilitation program immediately after giving birth may prevent you from experiencing later, more gynecological severe issues.
How Can A Man Strengthen His Bladder Sphincter
Men: Insert a finger into your rectum. Tighten the muscles as if you are holding in your urine, then let go. You should feel the muscles tighten and move up and down. These are the same muscles you would tighten if you were trying to prevent yourself from passing gas.
Why has my bladder become so weak?
Causes can include weak muscles, nerve damage, use of medications, alcohol or caffeine, infection, and being overweight. Lifestyle changes may help.
How do I make my bladder muscles stronger?
How to do Kegel Exercises
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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 ÃÂ¾ 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.
Types Of Urinary Incontinence
While UI in men is primarily associated with prostate enlargement, women are affected by three major types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence, urge incontinence, and overactive bladder. Many women have a combination of two or three of these, which is referred to as mixed incontinence. To understand the types of incontinence, and their underlying causes, we must briefly review the bladder and its muscles.
The balloon-like bladder stores urine after delivery from the kidneys . The bladder is surrounded by a muscular wall. Normally, leakage from the bladder is prevented by sphincter muscles that keep the urethra the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body shut at either end. When we urinate, the bladder muscle contracts and the two sphincters relax, so that urine is squeezed out through the urethra. Incontinence occurs when the bladder muscle contracts suddenly and inappropriately and/or the sphincters are too weak to hold back the urine.
- Stress Incontinence is typically associated with coughing, laughing, exercise, or other movements that put pressure on the bladder. It commonly occurs as a result of physical changes following pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause that weaken the sphincters.
- Overactive Bladder is a result of the bladder muscle squeezing at the wrong time without warning and too frequently. Symptoms include high urinary frequency urinary urgency and urge incontinence.
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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.
What You Can Do: Pelvic Floor Exercises
Your pelvic floor goes from your genital area to the base of your spine. Itâs made of muscles that help control your bladder. To make them stronger, pretend you want to stop yourself from going to the bathroom you should feel a pull in your genital area and your backside when you squeeze. Try to hold it and build up to 10 seconds, or do 8 to 10 quick squeezes. Over time, this may help keep those muscles working like they should.
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Control Your Urge To Urinate
You may be able to control, or suppress, the strong urge to urinate, which is called urge or urgency suppression. With this type of bladder training, you can worry less about finding a bathroom in a hurry. Some people distract themselves to take their minds off needing to urinate. Other people find that long, relaxing breaths or holding still can help. Doing pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor also can help control the urge to urinate. Quick, strong squeezes of the pelvic floor muscles can help suppress urgency when it occurs, which may help you get to the toilet before you leak.
Ways To Treat Bladder Leakage
With so many bladder leakage products and treatment options, how do you know what is the best one for you?
First, be sure to check in with your urologist or urogynecologist to see what may be causing your bladder leakage. Knowing the cause will help you and your doctor decide what treatment option will work best for you. While certain drinks, foods and medications may stimulate your bladder, there are other medical reasons that can cause your symptoms, including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Weakened pelvic floor, sometimes caused by pregnancy, childbirth, menopause or having had a hysterectomy
- Neurological disorders
Depending on what is causing your urinary incontinence, a unique treatment plan should be developed based on your personal situation, says Nina Bhatia, M.D., urogynecologist at Hackensack Meridian Health. There are several lifestyle changes, including bladder retraining techniques, dietary changes, avoiding bladder irritants, pelvic floor exercises and pelvic floor physical therapy that can help tremendously. If those fail to provide you relief, there are non-surgical and surgical options that we can offer.
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.
Causes Of Stress Incontinence
Stress incontinence occurs when the pressure inside your bladder as it fills with urine becomes greater than the strength of your urethra to stay closed .
Any sudden extra pressure on your bladder, such as laughing or sneezing, can then cause urine to leak out of your urethra.
Your urethra may not be able to stay closed if the muscles in your pelvis are weak or damaged, or your urethral sphincter is damaged.
These problems may be caused by:
- damage during childbirth, particularly if the child was born vaginally rather than by caesarean section
- increased pressure on your tummy, for example because you are pregnant or obese
- damage to the bladder or nearby area during surgery, such as the removal of the womb in women or removal of the prostate gland in men
- neurological conditions, which affect the brain and spinal cord, such as Parkinsons disease or multiple sclerosis
- certain connective tissue disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- certain medications
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Why Is Improving Bladder Control Important
Improving bladder control may seem silly. After all, arent our bladders strong enough? Werent we born with enough strength? And how are we supposed to strengthen them, anyway?
Well the answer is no, not everyone has a bladder that is strong enough. There are various reasons why OAB is experienced, such as childbirth. Childbirth weakens the muscles of pelvic girdle, making bladder control difficult.
Aside from the obvious, OAB is uncomfortable and makes life a bit more difficult due to frequent urination, it also infringes on other aspects of daily life. People with OAB tend to be less physically active for fear of incontinence. It is also uncomfortable to wear protective pads during physical activity. OAB can lead to depression and anxiety due to the emotional distress that is incurred by the symptoms. In addition, people who experience OAB often shy away from emotional intimacy because they fear urine leakage during sex. There are ways to take your life back.
Can I Prevent Pelvic Floor Or Bladder Problems Later In Life
Its not always possible to prevent pelvic floor or bladder problems especially if, for example, youve sustained damage in childbirth. But leading a healthy lifestyle can help to keep your pelvic muscles healthy. Here are some changes you can make to help prevent leaks:
- Practise daily pelvic floor exercises and keep active
- Eat a healthy diet
- Drink plenty of water as it helps to eliminate waste through the bladder and bowels
- Lose excess weight, to reduce pressure on the pelvic floor
- Stop smoking, as it can lead to coughing, which can stress pelvic floor muscles
- Avoid lifting heavy objects. If you do lift anything, always tighten your pelvic floor muscles before and after the lift
- Avoid high-impact exercise like jumping or running if you have weak pelvic floor muscles
- Take your time and make sure you empty your bladder completely each time you go to the toilet
- If youre about to cough or sneeze, tighten your pelvic floor muscles
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Kegels Or Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
Kegel exercises can strengthen your pelvic floor strength, improve bladder function, and possibly even completely eliminate leakage.
As a first step, identify the pelvic floor muscles by stopping urination midstream. You should feel a clench inside the pelvic region that is holding it in. These are the muscles you will need to target for these two forms of Kegels.5
Try and do about 3 sets of short and long contractions each with 10 repetitions per set, twice a day. The focus needs to be on accuracy rather than count. So if you cant manage so many, do fewer but do them right.6
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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.
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Do Your Exercises Daily
Stick with your workout routine and keep notes on your progress. Youll likely notice improvements within a few weeks to a month or two, depending on how regularly you do Kegels and what other strategies you employ for improved bladder control.
To see results faster, consider adding in an all-natural bladder health supplement. BetterWOMAN and BetterMAN are clinically tested supplements designed to improve bladder control. With herbs and other natural plants long used for bladder health, BetterMAN and BetterWOMAN may help ease leaky bladder symptoms and reduce urinary frequency.
Do The Right Exercises
High-impact exercise and sit-ups put pressure on your pelvic floor muscles and can increase leaks.
To strengthen your pelvic floor to relieve symptoms, replace high-impact exercise, such as jogging and aerobics, with strengthening exercise, such as pilates.
Pilates strengthens your core muscles, which is beneficial for stress incontinence.
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Learn More About How Kegel Exercises Can Help You
Kegel exercises are a great way to get more bladder and bowel control, and even help your sex life. But they need to be done properly. At Norman Urology, weve helped many men learn to locate their pelvic floor muscles and apply the proper techniques for great results.
You can count on superior, specialized care from experienced, compassionate professionals.
Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment. We cant wait to meet you!
An Extremely Common Condition
Sorry to report this, but postpartum urinary incontinence is quite common. According to the latest research, women who give birth vaginally are more likely to experience these complications afterward. In some cases, issues of urinary incontinence can last up to a year, and smaller percentages of women are still living symptoms after 5 years.
Contributing factors include the fact that the bladder and pelvis muscles are weakened during childbirth. In addition, the uterus will begin to shrink back to its normal size, which causes repeated compressions on the bladder. Rapid changes in hormones also need to be considered as the body attempts to balance its female sex hormones after a child is born. Women over the age of 35 and those who are obese are also at a greater risk for urinary incontinence following childbirth.
All together, these influential factors lead women to face a much higher risk for urinary incontinence. The good news is that most women can recover with the proper precautions and effective treatment options recommended by Dedicated to Women.