There are few things more annoying than a dripping faucet. Whether it drips a little every now and then or a lot, it is annoying. Oh, especially when that leaky faucet is actually your bladder.
Urinary incontinence, simply put, is a loss of bladder control. There are many different reasons in which someone might lose bladder control and there are things you can do to improve your symptoms. Menopause, pregnancy and childbirth can all weaken the muscles that support the bladder causing instability. Nerve damage can cause confusion between the brain and the bladder, and you may not feel the urge to urinate or feel like you need to urinate all the time. Being overweight puts extra weight on your bladder and can worsen urinary incontinence. If you have a urinary tract infection you may have some urinary incontinence, but that typically resolves once the infection has cleared.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
- Stress Incontinence is the most common type of urinary incontinence as it’s caused by being a woman. Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause are all causes of stress incontinence. The muscles of the bladder and pelvic floor are weakened by these life events and may result in the inability for complete bladder control while coughing, laughing, sneezing or lifting something heavy. You may only dribble a few drops of urine or have a full loss of control resulting in an accident.
- Urge incontinence is also sometimes called overactive bladder. You feel like you have the urge to urinate all the time, even when your bladder is empty. This is caused by the bladder muscles not working correctly or not being able to fully relax.
- Overflow incontinence is the reverse of urge incontinence. It is caused by an underactive bladder and results in an incomplete emptying of the bladder when you urinate. The excess urine may dribble throughout the day and even create the urge to get up multiple times during the night to try and fully empty the bladder.
What To Do
For women, urinary incontinence is hard to avoid. The truth is that most women will deal with some sort of urinary incontinence at some time in their life. So what to do? Reducing caffeine and alcohol can help. Both caffeinated drinks and alcoholic drinks can fill a bladder pretty quickly. Bladder training can help to retrain your bladder and increase stability. Bladder training helps you to increase the amount of urine you can hold and the amount of time between needing to urinate by going to the bathroom on a schedule instead of when you feel you need to go. For example, if you need to urinate every hour, you try and go every hour and fifteen minutes and then increase from there. Kegel exercises can be particularly helpful, but you have to be faithful to them. Kegels include squeezing, holding and relaxing the muscles your pelvic area, the ones that you use to stop urinating, to help increase pelvic floor stability. You have to do them daily and often for them to be effective, but luckily you can easily work them into your day with a little multitasking. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help to improve your incontinence symptoms. If you have tried these things and are still having problems talk with your doctor at The Woman’s Clinic today. There are medications and even surgeries that may be right for you.