In times past, people didn’t want to discuss bladder leakage with their health care professional because it was considered embarrassing. Today things have changed, due to more media exposure on the topic and the fact that people are more open to talking about it with their doctor, than the generation of their parents.
If you’re experiencing bladder leakage, you are not alone. Statistics show that millions of women over 29 and men over 50 experience some degree of bladder leakage. Understanding what it is and your options is important to minimizing the embarrassment and inconvenience it may cause in your daily life.
First steps in addressing the problem
Speak to your family doctor about your situation. He may refer you to a specialist such as an urologist.
Try the “Kegel” exercise. This is done to strengthen the pelvic muscle by squeezing and intermittently stopping and starting your urine flow several times during urination.
Consider using bladder leakage products like TENA. They are designed to fit discreetly, to protect your clothing, and to be comfortable.
What are some causes of bladder leakage?
Hormonal changes during menopause
Swollen prostate or prostate surgery
Weakening of the pelvic muscles
Basic types of Bladder leakage
1. Stress– stress leakage ‘just happens’ when doing just the simplest things, such as walking, coughing, exercising, or sneezing.
2. Urge- when you feel like you need to urinate but then just experience leakage. Not drinking a sufficient amount of water, or caffeine, and alcohol use can cause this type of bladder leakage.
3. Reflex- this type of leakage occurs when you don’t even have the urge to go. This may be the result of a leak in your bladder or urethra.
4. Mixed symptoms- having a combination of these is common.
5. Overflow- you experience continuous leakage.
Things you can do to take control and minimize your bladder leakage
1. Exercise and tone up your pelvic muscles by practicing the Kegel exercise as discussed earlier. This will help to strengthen the muscle that controls your bladder.
2. Stay hydrated. Keep water with you at all times and drink! This will keep your bladder functioning properly. Spread your drinking out over the day. Don’t try to drink your daily allowance all at one time.
To minimize night leakage, try not to drink after dinner or at least a couple of hours before bedtime.
3. Drink healthy choices for your bladder like water, cranberry juice, apple or grape juice. Get the lower sugar versions of these juices.
Have a positive attitude and don’t let bladder leakage get you down. Know that there are options to minimize the inconvenience of this condition and try different ones until you can manage the situation.
First and foremost, talk to your doctor. He can make many more suggestions to help you.