What is bladder weakness?
Bladder weakness is more common than hay fever, affecting around 6 million women and men in the UK, and if one of those 6 million is you, the feeling of insecurity can be enough to get you to put your life on hold. So what is bladder weakness?
Bladder weakness, also known as urinary incontinence, describes the condition when the bladder leaks involuntarily. This can vary from the leakage of relatively small quantities to the loss of the entire bladder content at once.
The causes of bladder weakness include:
Weakened pelvic floor muscles These are the muscles that surround your bladder and urinary tract. One of their functions is to make sure that the urine stays in the bladder. If these muscles get stretched and lose their flexibility, urine can escape when you simply cough or laugh.
Pregnancy About one in three women experience bladder weakness after their pregnancy since the pelvic floor muscles have been stretched. All the ligaments are stretched from the weight of the uterus. If you had a prolonged childbirth or if your baby was big then your muscles were stretched even further. Practically all women who do pelvic muscle exercises regain full or near-full control.
Menopause During and after the menopause, the body produces fewer of the hormones that normally keep the bladder healthy.
Other causes Nerve damage, certain drugs, constipation and even inflammations can also lead to bladder weakness.
Deffenent types of bladder weakness
There are many diffenent types o bladder weakness. Each has a different cause and different cause and different symptoms. Therefore, to get appropriate treatment, it is important to identify which type you have:
Stress Unexpected leakage when you laugh, cough, sneeze or exercise. Weakened pelvic floor muscles are the major cause of "stress" bladder weakness
Urge A strong and sudden urge to pass urine. The bladder tries to empty itself despite efforts to restrain leakage.
Overflow When your bladder does not empty completely, causing urine to build up and eventually dribble out as if it was overflowing.
Relfex No urge to urinate is felt at all. The bladder "leads a life of its own".
Mixed symptoms It is fairly common to have more than one type of symptom.
What can I do about it?
Always discuss the condition with your GP or Continence Advisor. Once the cause has been established, your doctor may be able to start a course of treatment. This usually consists of physiotherapy, drugs or a surgical procedure, depending on your personal circumstances. These forms of treatment can stabilise or reduce the symptoms.
Using the right kind of protection will leave you feeling confident and fresh to live the life you want. But there's more you can do. With a few very simple exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, you can actually reduce or clear bladder weakness altogether. Normally there is an improvement within 14 days. If you have not experienced positive results after 3 months,you should consult a health professional.
Whatever the circumstances, absorbent pads can be used These pads are specifically designed to absorb urine, whilst remaining completely discreet.
How do I keep my bladder healthy?
Drink enough liquid - at least 4 to 5 pints of non-alcoholic liquid a day (and more in hot weather or after physical exercise). Drinking too little can actually worsen bladder weakness.
Relax When you urinate. Do not strain, sit comfortably, relax and always take your time.
Keep a good balance Don't go to the lavatory too often, but don't go too infrequently either. Four to eight times per day is a good average.
Use pads Which are specifically designed for bladder weakness. These offer much greater security than sanitary towels. Some people use sanitary towels for bladder weakness, but these pads are not designed to absorb urine. You'll need an average of three pads a day. If you find that you need to use more, then perhaps you need slightly more absorbent pad.
Know when you should get help It is always a good idea to consult your doctor, but if you experience pain when passing water or if you find blood in your urine then you should definitely seek medical advice.