You Dont Have To Live With It Really You Really Really Dont
If you are leaking urine with sexual activity, definitely see a qualified healthcare provider who specializes in pelvic health to fully assess you and guide you towards the best treatment moving forward. This may be a pelvic floor physical therapist, urogynecologist, or your OBgyn. These doctors can listen to your unique story and determine what lifestyle changes and treatments you need to make long-term improvement in your quality of life.
Behavioral And Lifestyle Changes
Changing your lifestyle may help with bladder problems. Losing weight, quitting smoking, saying no to alcohol, choosing water instead of other drinks, and limiting drinks before bedtime can help with some bladder problems. Preventing constipation and avoiding lifting heavy objects may also help with incontinence. Even after treatment, some people still leak urine from time to time. There are bladder control products and other solutions, including disposable briefs or underwear, furniture pads, and urine deodorizing pills that may help.
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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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Causes And Risk Factors
OAB occurs in both men and women. Its possible to have overactive bladder at any point in your life. But, its especially common in older adults. The prevalence of OAB in people younger than 50 years of age is less than 10 percent. After the age of 60, the prevalence increases to 20 to 30 percent.
The following are some of the other most common underlying causes and risk factors associated with OAB symptoms:
A healthy, normal functioning bladder holds urine until it gets full and is prompted to empty by nerve signals. However, when nerve damage occurs in the body, the muscles surrounding the urethra can be too loose. This undesirable looseness can cause someone to become incontinent. What can cause nerve damage that can then lead to bladder leakage? Some possibilities include:
- Back or pelvis surgery
Weak pelvic muscles
When a man or womans pelvic floor muscles are weak, bladder control issues can happen. The pelvic floor muscles are like a sling that holds up the uterus and bladder. For women, a pregnancy and childbirth can often lead to a stretching and weakening of the vital pelvic floor muscles. When pelvic floor muscles are compromised for this reason or another, the bladder can then sag out of place. The opening of the urethra also stretches and urine easily leaks out.
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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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
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.
How Do I Control Urges When Resetting My Bladder
Controlling your urges is a key step in resetting your bladder. The following strategies may help:
- Stop what youre doing and stay put. Stand quietly or sit down, if possible. Remain as still as possible. When youre still, its easier to control your urges.
- Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles quickly several times . Dont fully relax in between Kegels.
- Relax the rest of your body. Take several deep breaths to help you let go of any tension.
- Concentrate on suppressing your urge to pee.
- Wait until the urge goes away.
- Walk to the bathroom at a normal pace. Dont rush. Continue squeezing your pelvic floor muscles quickly while you walk.
Patience is important. Retraining your bladder usually takes at least six to eight weeks to see results. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have any questions or arent happy with your progress. They may prescribe medications for you to take while youre resetting your bladder to help you achieve the best outcome.
Causes Of Bladder Leaks And How To Fix Them
Bladder leaks can be embarrassing as they can strike at any time. There are numerous reasons for bladder leaks. Knowing whats causing them in your case can help you better address the issue.
Here are four common causes of bladder leaks and what you can do about each of them to reduce your risk of yet another embarrassing moment.
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Treatment For Stress Urinary Incontinence
It is important to have your symptoms assessed by a health professional who will assess your bladder behaviour and pelvic floor and confirm that you have stress urinary incontinence.
The main treatment for stress incontinence is pelvic floor exercises. Surgery to tighten or support the bladder outlet can also help. Medication may be used in addition to exercises if you do not want, or are not suitable for surgery.
There is medication available for treating women with moderate to severe stress urinary incontinence, along with pelvic floor muscle exercises. Older people with other problems in addition to their bladder may benefit from seeing a specialist in medicine for older people.
Things Every Woman Should Know About Bladder Leaks And Sex
Bladder leaks and sex?! In the realm of uncomfortable topics, this one can be pretty uncomfortable for a lot of people. And that makes sense: Leaking urine? Sex? We are often trained to avoid these topics in everyday conversation. Too often, people feel a sense of embarrassment or shame with the body and natural bodily processes.
Butthe thing is, we all have the same parts. We all go to the bathroom. Sex and intimacy is a natural part of life. So, we definitely need to be talking about this! In fact, in a study of 324 sexually active women referred to a urology clinic for bladder leaks, 24% of them experienced some type of urinary incontinence during intercourse. Thats almost 1 in 4 women with this same complaint!
Here are six things every woman should know about bladder leaks and sexual intimacy to bring back that confidence in the bedroom.
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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.
Most Common Risk Factors Of Bladder Leakages
Women are exposed to a high number of risk factors for bladder leaks, including:
- Pregnancy â The weight of carrying a fetus stresses the pelvic floor and can lead to stress incontinence during pregnancy and after.
- Childbirth â Tissue or nerve damage that occurs during childbirth can affect the pelvic floor.
- Menopause â Changing hormones during menopause contribute to the deterioration of the pelvic floor, as well as the lining of the bladder and urinary tract.
- Weight gain â Many women gain weight as they age due to hormonal changes and this can exert enough pressure on the pelvic floor to weaken it.
Other risk factors, not particular to women, include:
- Smoking â Smoking can cause chronic coughing that exerts undue pressure on the pelvic floor.
- High-impact activities like running or jumping over many years â Prolonged impact on the pelvic floor from these types of activities can weaken it.
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Botulinum Toxin A Injections
Botulinum toxin A can be injected into the sides of your bladder to treat urge incontinence and overactive bladder syndrome .
This medication can sometimes help relieve these problems by relaxing your bladder. This effect can last for several months and the injections can be repeated if they help.
Although the symptoms of incontinence may improve after the injections, you may find it difficult to fully empty your bladder. If this happens, you will need to be taught how to insert a catheter into your urethra to drain the urine from your bladder.
Botulinum toxin A is not currently licensed to treat urge incontinence or OAB, so you should be made aware of any risks before deciding to have the treatment. The long-term effects of this treatment are not yet known.
Try To Prevent Constipation
Constipation causes the colon to swell and strain because of increased abdominal muscle pressure. This can adversely affect the bladder muscles and may also increase the frequency and severity of OAB symptoms.
Eating more fiber, getting regular exercise, and staying hydrated can help prevent constipation. In addition, there are certain yoga poses including the Crescent Lunge, Cobra, and Legs up the Wall that can help relieve constipation and promote healthy bowel movements.
Those who experience chronic constipation should talk with a doctor to learn more about other ways to help manage their constipation more effectively, such as by taking medications or trying physical therapy.
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What Are Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises, also called Kegels or pelvic floor muscle training, are exercises for your pelvic floor muscles to help prevent or reduce stress urinary incontinence. Your pelvic floor muscles support your uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
Four in 10 women improved their symptoms after trying Kegels.9 Kegels can be done daily and may be especially helpful during pregnancy. They can help prevent the weakening of pelvic floor muscles, which often happens during pregnancy and childbirth. Your pelvic floor muscles may also weaken with age and less physical activity.
Some women have urinary symptoms because the pelvic floor muscles are always tightened. In this situation, Kegel exercises will not help your urinary symptoms and may cause more problems. Talk to your doctor or nurse about your urinary symptoms before doing Kegel exercises.
What Else Causes Bladder Control Problems In Women
- pregnancy and childbirth
Weak pelvic floor muscles can make it hard for your bladder to hold urine in during stress incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when an actioncoughing, sneezing, laughing, or physical activityputs pressure on your bladder and causes urine to leak. A weak pelvic floor can also cause fecal incontinence, or bowel control problems.
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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.
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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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