Urinary Incontinence: More Common Than You Think
How to Stop Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is the involuntary and unintentional leaking of urine. Urinary incontinence can also be an embarrassing problem. As with many potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable symptoms, those affected may be hesitant to speak up or ask questions about their condition, even at the doctor’s office. Urinary incontinence occurs more often in women than in men, and it is a lot more common than you might expect. In fact, chances are that you know other people who have been affected by urinary incontinence.
Incontinence must not be a source of embarrassment when you speak with your physician. The fact is that this common condition is treatable by a variety of approaches, and not speaking up about the problem means that you won’t have access to effective treatments:
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Millions of women experience involuntary loss of urine called urinary incontinence . Some women may lose a few drops of urine while running or coughing. Others may feel a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine. Many women experience both symptoms. UI can be slightly bothersome or totally debilitating. For some women, the risk of public embarrassment keeps them from enjoying many activities with their family and friends. Urine loss can also occur during sexual activity and cause tremendous emotional distress.
- at night to urinate
How Can You Prevent Bladder Control Problems
The following measures can help maintain good bladder and urinary health:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Urinate regularly.
- Avoid foods that irritate your bladder.
- Maintain good health: Eat a healthy diet, maintain a health weight, and engage in some physical activity daily.
- Follow up with your doctor on a regular basis.
Avoid Excess Caffeine Intake
The effects of caffeine on the bladder are twofold. Caffeine irritates the muscles of the bladder, which can cause muscle spasms that increase the frequency and urgency of urination. Caffeine is also a mild diuretic, which means that it increases the amount of water released in urine.
It may be worth avoiding beverages that are high in caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks, or green teas. Instead, opt for beverages that are decaffeinated or contain no caffeine, such as water or herbal teas.
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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.
How Is Overactive Bladder Diagnosed
Your doctor will start by discussing your symptoms and medical history. He or she might order certain tests to help diagnose the problem. These tests might include:
- Urodynamics:During this test, your doctor will fill your bladder and then see how well it empties.
- Imaging:Your doctor may need to look inside your bladder through the use of an X-ray, CT scan , or MRI .
- EEG and EMG: Electroencephalograph and electromyograph testing looks at how well your bladder functions. Wires and pads are placed on your lower abdomen . These wires are able to test the nerves inside.
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Conditions Where A Weak Bladder Can Be A Symptom
An abnormal or constant leak of urine may be caused by abnormalities of the bladder structure which can block it from emptying properly. These may be due to a developmental problem from birth or from internal damage. Women who have experienced severe road traffic accidents can suffer from tearing of the muscles of the bladder or urethra, which can make it difficult to pass urine and to keep urine in.
Often these damages are severe and there may be damage to other surrounding organs such as the bowel and ovaries. So women may also experience leaking of faeces , constant pelvic pain from chronic scarring, and infertility if the reproductive tracts are also damaged.
What Causes Bladder Or Bowel Incontinence
Many conditions may affect the nerves and muscles that control the bladder and bowel.
Bladder incontinence can be caused by things such as:
Damage to nerves in sphincter muscles
Holding urine in too long , which can damage the bladder
Having to urinate many times during day and night, often urgently
Bowel incontinence can be caused by things such as:
Damage to the nervous system from disease or injury
Who Is At Risk For Urinary Incontinence
In adults, you are at higher risk of developing UI if you:
- Are female, especially after going through pregnancy, childbirth, and/or menopause
- Are older. As you age, your urinary tract muscles weaken, making it harder to hold in urine.
- Are a man with prostate problems
- Have certain health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, or long-lasting constipation
- Are a smoker
- Have a birth defect that affects the structure of your urinary tract
In children, bedwetting is more common in younger children, boys, and those whose parents wet the bed when they were children.
Is There Surgery For Bladder Control Problems
Surgery for urinary incontinence either corrects an anatomical problem or implants a device to alter bladder muscle function.
- Most people do not need surgery, but most of those who have surgery become dry.
- Like any surgery, these procedures do not work on everyone. A small number of people are not completely dry after surgery.
- Like all surgery, these operations can have complications.
- Each of these procedures is appropriate only for a certain type or types of incontinence.
- A urogynecologist or urologist can advise you about which, if any, might work for you.
Types of operations used in people with incontinence include the following:
- Altering the position of the bladder neck, which can change how urine is released from the bladder
- Repairing or supporting severely weakened pelvic floor muscles
- Removal of a blockage
- Implantation of a “sling” around the urethra
- Implantation of a device that stimulates the nerves to increase awareness of the need to urinate
- Injection of a naturally occurring material called collagen around the urethra
- Injection of Botox into the bladder muscle using a cystoscope
- Surgical placement of an artificial urinary sphincter
- Enlargement of the bladder
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Why Do Bladder And Bowel Incontinence Happen
When the bladder and bowel function normally, nerves tell certain muscles when to tense up and when to relax. Nerves in the spinal cord send messages from the brain to the bladder. Sphincter muscles control the flow of urine. Muscles in the rectum and anus control or release stool. These nerve and muscle processes allow urine and feces to be removed when you want them to.
Complications Of Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction
Loss of bladder control is a common symptom of a pelvic floor dysfunction. Some people experience anal incontinence, which means they cant always control the passage of wind or faeces . Weak pelvic floor muscles can also cause sexual difficulties such as reduced vaginal sensation. If the muscles are weak but overactive this can cause painful sex or vulval pain and can also cause reduced bladder control.
In some cases, the internal organs supported by the pelvic floor, including the bladder and uterus, can slide down into the vagina. This is called a prolapse. A distinct bulge in the vagina and deep vaginal aching are common symptoms.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Bladder Problems After Birth
There are some simple steps you can take during pregnancy to help prevent incontinence.
- Drink 6 to 8 cups of fluid a day, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Avoid drinks containing sugar or caffeine, as these can irritate the bladder.
- Eat a high fibre diet with 2 pieces of fruit, 5 serves of vegetables and 5 serves of cereals/bread per day.
- Make sure you have a healthy weight.
- Stop smoking.
How Do You Fix A Weak Bladder
For many people with urinary incontinence, the following self-help tips and lifestyle changes are enough to relieve symptoms. Do daily pelvic floor exercises. Stop smoking. Do the right exercises. Avoid lifting. Lose excess weight. Treat constipation promptly. Cut down on caffeine. Cut down on alcohol.
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What Is Bladder Dysfunction
Bladder dysfunction is a term used for a range of problems with the way the bladder holds and releases urine. For children, there may be a problem with the way the bladder and urethra work together. A child may experience wetting accidents.
How Does the Urinary System Work?
The urinary system includes the organs that make, store and move urine out of the body. These include two kidneys, two ureters, the bladder and the urethra.
The kidneys are a pair of organs that filter waste products from the blood. Waste will then move from the kidneys to the bladder through tubes called “ureters”. The bladder holds urine until the body gets rid of it through the urethra. The urethra opens at the end of the penis in boys and in front of the vagina in girls.
A complex network of nerves sends signals from the bladder to the spinal cord and brain, and back, allowing the bladder to store and release urine in a controlled way.
Newborns and infants have a simple reflex that causes them to urinate with pressure on the bladder. As infants grow, several things allow them to gain control over the act of urinating. First, the bladder can simply hold more urine with age. By 2-3 years old, the child gains control over the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles and can hold back the flow of urine until they reach a toilet. As the brain matures, children gain more and more control over urinating. By 7 years old, 90 percent of children are able to stay dry while they sleep at night.
Spinal Lesion Or Tumor
A spinal lesion or tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue within or surround the spinal cord or column. Spinal tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous, and originate in the spine or spinal column or spread there from another site.
Back pain, which is worse at night or increases with activity, is the most common symptom. If the tumor presses on a nerve, it can cause numbness or weakness in the arms, legs, or chest.
Treatment depends on the type and location of the lesion or tumor, and whether or not its cancerous or noncancerous. Surgery to remove the tumor, or radiation therapy or chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, can usually resolve leg weakness.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is also known as Lou Gehrigs disease. Its a progressive neurological disease that damages nerve cells and often begins with muscle twitching and weakness in the legs.
Other early symptoms include:
- slurred speech
- difficulty holding up your head
Theres currently no cure for ALS, but treatments are available that can help control symptoms and complications and improve quality of life.
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What Causes Overactive Bladder
An overactive bladder can be caused by several things, or even a combination of causes. Some possible causes can include:
- Weak pelvic muscles: Pregnancy and childbirth can cause your pelvic muscles to stretch and weaken. This can cause the bladder to sag out of its normal position. All of these factors can cause leakage.
- Nerve damage: Sometimes signals are sent to the brain and bladder to empty at the wrong time. Trauma and diseases can cause this to happen. These can include:
- Pelvic or back surgery.
Often, there may be no specific explanation for why this is occurring.
How Soon After Starting Kegel Exercises Will Urinary Incontinence Get Better
It may take 4 to 6 weeks before you notice any improvement in your symptoms.10
Kegel exercises work differently for each person. Your symptoms may go away totally, you may notice an improvement in your symptoms but still have some leakage, or you may not see any improvement at all. But even if your symptoms dont get better, Kegel exercises can help prevent your incontinence from getting worse.
You may need to continue doing Kegel exercises for the rest of your life. Even if your symptoms improve, urinary incontinence can come back if you stop doing the exercises.
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Overactive Bladder In Women
Women are more likely to report symptoms of OAB to their doctor. In fact, at least 40 percent of American women experience symptoms of overactive bladder. Many more may not report the experiences to their doctor at all.
Overactive bladder consists of a series of symptoms that cause you to need to urinate more frequently. These symptoms include
- feeling a sudden need to urinate
- not being able to control urination
- urinating at least two times every night
- urinating at least eight times every day
Its not clear what causes overactive bladder, but OAB becomes more common in women after menopause. That may be the result of estrogen deficiency. However, overactive bladder can occur at any age.
Overactive bladder is a common childhood condition, but not every accident or soiled bed is the result of OAB. Children frequently grow out of overactive bladder symptoms, but treatment can help prevent frequent urination or complications.
Symptoms of OAB in children include:
- an urgent or frequent need to urinate
- accidents or leaking urine
- urinating more than eight times in a day
- not feeling as if theyve emptied their bladder despite urinating
Symptoms of OAB become less common as children get older. With age, kids learn to properly control their bladder and recognize signals that they need to urinate. If symptoms of overactive bladder dont seem to be resolving or are getting worse, talk with your childs doctor.
Causes of OAB in children include:
- urinary tract infection
Causes And Treatments For A Dogs Weak Bladder
1) Your beloved pet is consuming more water than is normal. This often leads to a weak bladder and the need to urinate often. This is often a sign the dog may have medical issues such as diabetes, kidney failure, or hyperthyroidism.
2) If the dog has had recent urinary tract infections, this can cause the bladder to weaken. This may be a temporary problem once the infection is cured, especially in younger dogs.
3) In female dogs a decrease in hormones such as estrogen can result in a weak bladder sphincter causing the dog to urinate more than normal.
4) If your dog has suffered an injury or been diagnosed with a disease to the spinal cord this is possibly the cause. Also any injury to the lumbar area is another possible cause for the incontinence.
1) If you suspect your dog might be suffering from one of these problems, there is a relatively easy procedure your local vet can perform as a way to pin down what the cause is. Have your vet do a urinalysis or urine culture at their office. In most cases this will be all that is needed to diagnose the problem properly. If this does not yield the results for correcting the problem, the vet can then do a radiograph and blood panel test to further narrow down the issue of why your dog in fact has a weak bladder.
3) There are several drugs that can be given if there is no specific cause found. According to an article on the Medi-Vet.com website:
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How Do You Strengthen A Weak Bladder
To do Kegel exercises: