Bladder Leakage and Urinary Incontinence: Facts, Treatment, and More
You shouldn’t be afraid to laugh too hard or travel far from a restroom. If so, you might experience some of the negative effects of bladder leakage or urinary incontinence. Between 25 and 45 percent of women experience some degree of incontinence. We define bladder leakage as the inability to control your bladder. Also, it is treatable.
One in three women in the United States will experience a condition that requires care from a urogynecologist. We understand it can feel embarrassing to discuss. However, speak with your doctor about any incontinence issues. This serves as the first step toward finding the right treatment. Then, you can regain control of your bladder.
Causes of incontinence
Sometimes, temporary issues can cause urinary incontinence. Many of these can include certain medications or a urinary tract infection. It’s also caused by longer-lasting issues with your bladder or pelvic muscles. Women tend to experience urinary incontinence twice as much as men. Things like pregnancy, motherhood, and menopause contribute to incontinence.
Effects that can cause incontinence include:
- Hormone changes during pregnancy or menopause
- Weight or strain on the bladder during pregnancy and childbirth
- Muscle and ligament changes after hysterectomy
- Nerves damaged by childbirth
- Neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease that affect bladder control
- Aging’s effects on the bladder and urethra
- Prolapsed or fallen bladder due to childbirth
Many of the causes of incontinence can be treated. Moreover, with treatment, you can restore your bladder to function normally.
Bladder leakage symptoms
Furthermore, the symptoms of urinary incontinence vary. They may be as mild as minor leakages to being unable to reach the bathroom in time. You might experience different types of symptoms. However, this depends on the severity of your condition.
Stress on your bladder causes your bladder to release a small amount of pee. Furthermore, stress can include laughing, sneezing, coughing, or lifting weight.
You may feel the need to use the restroom urgently throughout the day.
Since your bladder doesn’t empty completely, you experience a small stream of urine often throughout the day. If you experience any of these symptoms, consider speaking to your OB/GYN about a treatment.
Treatments for bladder leakage and incontinence
You can experience less urge incontinence by slowly training your bladder to wait. You do this by waiting longer to use the restroom after you experience an urge to go.
Drink less fluid or avoid bladder-stimulating substances. These include caffeine or alcohol. Avoiding these can give you more control over using the restroom.
New bathroom practices
Schedule a time to use the restroom every few hours instead of waiting. Also, use the restroom and wait a few minutes. Then, use it again to help control overflow incontinence.
Pelvic floor exercises
Physical therapists can help you build up stronger pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that hold up your bladder and control urination.
Medicines can help you control urges and keep your bladder relaxed.
In addition, temporary electrical stimulation of the nerves around your bladder can help you regain control. Permanent nerve stimulation devices can also help with urge incontinence.
Plus, botox injections can help relax the nerves and muscles around the bladder. Furthermore, relaxation can give you better control.
Sometimes nonsurgical treatments don’t help. You may want to try something else. Moreover, you and your physician can explore surgical incontinence treatments.
A surgeon can place a sling to hold up your urethra. Surgeons create them from your own tissue or synthetic tissue. They can also stop incontinence.
Your physician repairs any bladder prolapse or other conditions that cause incontinence.