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.
Other Types Of Urinary Incontinence
- Overflow incontinence This occurs when a person is unable to empty their bladder completely and it overflows as new urine is produced. It’s often found in people with diabetes or spinal cord injuries.
- Mixed incontinence You show evidence of more than one type.
- Functional incontinence This type of incontinence has less to do with a bladder disorder and more to do with the logistics of getting to a bathroom in time. It’s usually found in elderly or disabled people who have normal or near normal bladder control but cannot get to the toilet in time because of mobility limitations or confusion.
- Nocturia The need to urinate twice or more during the night, usually affecting men and women over the age of 60. In men, nocturia can be a symptom of an enlarged prostate.
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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Is Urine Incontinence Normal For Women
Topics in this Post
Urine incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine, is a common symptom that affects 1 in 4 women. Prevalence of this problem increases with age, as up to 75% of women above age 65 report urine leakage. A woman’s physical, social and psychological well-being is adversely impacted. Quality of life at home and in the workplace may deteriorate.
Despite being a common problem, only 45 percent of women who experience weekly urine incontinence episodes discuss the problem with their providers. Some women may find it too embarrassing to discuss symptoms, while others may think it is normal for them to experience incontinence after childbirth or with aging.
Urine incontinence is not a singular issue rather, it is caused by several factors. A myriad of factors often coexist, and increase the severity of symptoms and complexity of treatment.
The two most common types of urine incontinence are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. A combination of both also can occur and is called mixed incontinence.
What Are The Risk Factors For Leaking Urine
Each type of incontinence can happen for different reasons, but there are some universal factors that can make incontinence more likely. According to MedlinePlus, adults are more likely to develop urinary incontinence if they:
Having a birth defect that affects the structure of your urinary tract can also raise your risk. Your risk is also higher if a close family member has urinary incontinence, especially urge incontinence, per the Mayo Clinic.
Many times, people with no risk factors can experience urinary incontinence. “Almost 70% of urge incontinence is idiopathic, meaning we don’t know what causes it to happen in otherwise perfectly healthy people,” says Dr. Sheyn.
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How Can You Prevent Leaking Urine
Urinary incontinence isn’t always preventable. But there are some things you can do to reduce your risk, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol, and acidic foods
- Trying to maintain regular bowel movements, as constipation can cause urinary incontinence
- Not smoking or, if you do smoke, quitting
If you are pregnant, schedule an assessment to evaluate pelvic floor health with your ob-gyn or midwife six weeks after having a baby, advises Sapienza. If you’ve already had your baby, it’s never too late to make that visit.
Bladder Incontinence In Women
Bladder incontinence is more common in women than in men. Other than the possible causes listed above, some things that may increase risk of bladder incontinence in women are:
- Changes to urinary or vaginal tissue from hormone therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy
- Hormonal changes from menopause
- Pelvic prolapse – the bladder, uterus, and or rectum may slip backward or downward into the vaginal canal because of weak pelvic wall muscles
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Symptoms Of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence has several types but there are two notable forms. The symptoms a woman experiences can tell a lot about which type she has, as well as what can be done to manage the problem.
- Stress incontinence is the most common type of incontinence, affecting up to 88% of those with urine leakage.4 Caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles, stress incontinence is marked by leakage that occurs from increased abdominal pressure think sneezing, coughing, laughing, bending, or lifting heavy objects.
- Urge incontinence or overactive bladder is caused by overly active or irritated bladder muscles. Its characterized by sudden, frequent urges to urinate.
In addition to leakage, some women with incontinence experience other changes to the way they urinate too. Some may notice a change in the stream force or direction of their urine, as well as urinary spraying or a sensation of relaxation of the bladder or urethra, Dr. Dweck says.
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What Causes Urinary Incontinence
There are many factors that can lead to urinary incontinence:
- Structural problems with the bladder for instance, following correction of congenital conditions, such as bladder exstrophy or if the ureters connect to the bladder in the wrong place.
- As a feature of other conditions such as spina bifida, there is a problem with the nerve supply to the bladder which may cause problems in recognising the need to wee.
- Overactive bladder This is when the bladder signals the need to wee even when it is only partially full.
- Urinary tract infections These can also increase the need to wee and could also make weeing more uncomfortable.
- Constipation This can also affect urinary incontinence as the bowel expands with poo it can press on the bladder leading to incontinence.
- Some drinks can irritate the bladder such as caffeine-containing drinks such as colas or acidic drinks such as fruit juice. These can make urine more acidic so uncomfortable to pass.
- Reluctance to use the toilet Many children are uncomfortable using public toilets, such as toilets at school. If parents suspect their child is having accidents because they are not using the toilet at school, find out what is concerning them and if necessary, talk to the school.
- Problems with the muscles supporting the bladder for instance, the pelvic floor muscles form a sling around the bladder so if these are weakened, either through lack of exercise or in adults, following childbirth, they can lead to leakage.
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Which Diseases Can Cause Incontinence
Diabetes, strokes and nerve diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. These diseases can damage the nerves that control the bladder which is where urine is stored before it leaves the body. These diseases can also weaken the “sphincter,” a ring of muscle around the opening of the bladder. This ring usually keeps urine from leaking out. Men can have incontinence from problems such as overgrowth of the prostate gland or cancer of the prostate gland, both of which can block the flow of urine. In these cases, urine leaks out when the bladder becomes too full.
What Steps Can I Take At Home To Treat Urinary Incontinence
Your doctor or nurse may suggest some things you can do at home to help treat urinary incontinence. Some people do not think that such simple actions can treat urinary incontinence. But for many women, these steps make urinary incontinence go away entirely, or help leak less urine. These steps may include:
You can also buy pads or protective underwear while you take other steps to treat urinary incontinence. These are sold in many stores that also sell feminine hygiene products like tampons and pads.
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What Are The Treatments For Urinary Incontinence
Treatment depends on the type and cause of your UI. You may need a combination of treatments. Your provider may first suggest self-care treatments, including:
- Lifestyle changes to reduce leaks:
- Drinking the right amount of liquid at the right time
- Being physically active
- Staying at a healthy weigh
- Avoiding constipation
If these treatments do not work, your provider may suggest other options such as:
- Medicines, which can be used to
- Relax the bladder muscles, to help prevent bladder spasms
- Block nerve signals that cause urinary frequency and urgency
- In men, shrink the prostate and improve urine flow
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.
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Conditions That Cause Urinary Incontinence
There are several health and lifestyle issues that can make you start to leak urine. They can include:
Problems with your prostate. Itâs common for prostate issues to cause urinary incontinence. Your prostate may be larger due to a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia . Your prostate may also be bigger than usual because of cancer. An enlarged prostate can block your urethra. When your urethra is blocked, your bladder has to work harder to squeeze pee out. This makes its walls thicker and weaker. That makes it hard for your bladder to empty all the urine in it.
You can also struggle with urinary incontinence with prostate cancer or after having certain treatments for it — such as radiation treatment or surgery to remove your prostate. The surgery may cause problems with the nerves that control your bladder.
Certain diseases. Multiple sclerosis is a disease that can damage the nerves that tell the bladder when to empty and can also lead to bladder spasms. Some other conditions that can damage your nerves and keep your bladder from sending or receiving the signals it needs to work correctly are:
- Parkinsonâs disease
Surgery. Major bowel surgery, lower back surgery, and prostate surgery can all cause problems with your bladder. This is usually because some of the nerves in your urinary tract have been damaged during surgery.
Treatment Of Excessive Or Frequent Urination
The best way to treat excessive urination is to treat the underlying disorder. For example, diabetes mellitus is treated with diet and exercise plus insulin injections and/or drugs taken by mouth. In some cases, people can reduce excessive urination by decreasing their intake of coffee or alcohol. People troubled by awakening at night to urinate may need to reduce fluids before bedtime.
Children with nighttime urination can also be managed with motivational therapy, in which they are rewarded for practicing behaviors that reduce bedwetting . If motivational therapy does not work, urination alarms may then be tried. If other measures fail, doctors may prescribe oral desmopressin to control excessive thirst and urination
Doctors may also adjust the dosage of diuretics that may contribute to excessive urination. Adults with nocturia can be treated with bladder relaxants and medications to prevent bladder spasms. Resistant cases can also be treated with desmopressin.
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Bladder Control Is A Common Problem
You probably aren’t the only person in your book club or gym class that worries about bladder leaks. That’s because one in four women between 18 and 59 years of age have involuntary leakage.
“Urinary incontinence is not an inevitable result of childbearing or menopause,” said Sarah Randolph-Kaminski, a physical therapist at Franciscan Health Indianapolis. “Even high school or college women athletes may have issues.”
Experiencing leakage during activities that put pressure on your bladder is called stress incontinence, and it’s the most common type of incontinence in young and middle-age women. Stress incontinence is often the result of scar tissue in the perineum from an episiotomy or prolonged pushing during childbirth. Other causes include pelvic radiation treatment, chronic constipation that leads to frequent straining and recurrent urinary tract infections.
Another type of incontinence is when you feel like you need to urinate all the time . That’s called urge incontinence or overactive bladder.
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.
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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.
How To Talk To Your Doctor About Bladder Leaks
How do you bring up urinary incontinence to your doctor? And what do you say? Hereâs a helpful guide to get the conversation going!
An easy way to begin the conversation is describing the bladder issues you are experiencing. For example, you could start by saying, âI pee a little when I laugh or cough,â or, âI wake up with wet sheets,â or even simply, âMy bladder leaks.â
Every healthcare professional will tell you that the more information, the better. A good diagnosis depends largely on the information you can give your doctor when you talk. The questions listed below can help facilitate a productive conversation about your sensitive bladder with your doctor that will allow you to start discussing next steps.
- When do you experience urinary losses?
- How often do you urinate each day?
- How often do you get up during the night to use the restroom?
- How much liquid do you drink daily?
- Do you experience unexpected leaks? Do you leak when you sneeze, cough or exercise?
- Do bladder leaks prevent you from participating at work or in your social life?
Your healthcare professional may also decide to perform a physical examination. They may be looking to inspect the way your abdomen contracts. They may also check the firmness of your pelvic floor when you cough.
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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.