Bladder Weakness in Women | The Real Story
Only older people or women who have had children suffer from bladder weakness
Although there is an increased risk of incontinence as you get older, anyone can experience loss of control symptoms at any time. Sensitive bladder can be caused by a variety of reasons with the most common including:
Pregnancy and childbirth can impact the support structures such as muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor. Control over leaks can be improved by doing pelvic floor exercises in the months after giving birth.
Menopause leads to a significant drop in oestrogen levels, resulting in a more sensitive bladder, causing increased frequency or sudden urges. If you notice these symptoms, then discuss them with your doctor.
Body weight can affect symptoms experienced as extra weight in the body can put more pressure on the bladder, urethra and pelvic floor muscles. These symptoms can be reduced following weight loss.
High intensity sport can cause a more sensitive bladder due to the extreme strain put on the bladder.
There is only one type of incontinence
Although there are many different types of incontinence, the most commonly experienced are:
Urge incontinence which occurs when you experience the sudden urge to urinate. This is caused by the bladder contracting when it shouldn’t, which can cause some urine to leak out. This can happen to anyone of any age and can be caused by infection or neurological disorders.
Stress incontinence is caused by pressure being exerted on the bladder which can be caused by being overweight or pelvic floor weakness. More common in younger women, this can lead to leaks when coughing, sneezing or laughing.
It is rare to suffer from a weak bladder
In women over the age of 18 years, bladder weakness will affect 33%. Bladder weakness is not a rare condition and will most likely affect someone close to you at some point in your lifetime. Over half of these women never seek any help from their doctor.
If you suffer from bladder weakness, you should avoid drinking large volumes.
Although it may be tempting, if you suffer from uncontrollable leaks to avoid drinking water and other liquids, it can actually boost your chances of bladder irritation which can worsen your risk of incontinence.
Drinking plenty of water keeps you hydrated, which in turn makes your urine more diluted. The more concentrated your urine the more likely it is to burn when urinating and cause irritation to your system. Also, drinking water regularly will help reduce any odours, even if you do have a small leak.
Caffeine, citrus juices, alcohol and carbonated beverages can all worsen symptoms of bladder weakness and therefore should be avoided. Getting into a habit of sipping water regularly throughout the day and not drinking at least two hours before bed, will also improve symptoms.