Bladder weakness: do away with worrying

Bladder weakness affects a fair number of individuals, sometimes causing discomfort and embarrassment. There are many solutions to this problem.

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a rather common problem for both women and men. It is not an illness per se, but rather a symptom indicative of a dysfunction. Everyone can have the occasional bladder leakage for a multitude of reasons.

For some people, bladder weakness is part of daily life. When it is frequent or repeated, it can cause discomfort and embarrassment. Urinary incontinence is often associated to aging. Although it is true that the risk of incontinence increases with age, younger people can also be inconvenienced by it.

How can bladder weakness be explained?

Urination is essential to eliminate waste from the body. Several organs and structures come into play for the proper functioning of the urinary system: the brain, kidneys, urethra, bladder, sphincter and pelvic muscles, etc.

The brain is the “control centre” that coordinates the functioning of the urinary system. The kidneys filter waste from the blood and produce urine. The bladder is a vessel that contains the urine before it is eliminated. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the body. The sphincters consist of a ring of muscles that constrict to retain urine or relax to allow the flow of urine. The pelvic muscles keep the bladder and urethra in place and help to keep the bladder closed. When one of these areas of the body does not function normally, it can result in bladder weakness.

What are the causes of bladder weakness?

Bladder weakness can be caused or made worse by various factors, including:

  • weakening of the pelvic floor muscles
  • menopause
  • pregnancy and childbirth
  • constipation
  • the use of certain medications
  • intense physical exercise
  • urinary tract infection
  • being overweight
  • aging
  • certain illnesses (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes)
  • surgery

There are four main types of incontinence.

Stress incontinence

When the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to keep the system properly closed and the problem leads to involuntary leakage, we call this stress incontinence. This can occur following a fit of coughing, sneezing or laughing, or when lifting a heavy object. Menopause, pregnancy and childbirth may also be a factor.

Urge incontinence

A sudden and urgent need to urinate. The bladder does not respond to the brain’s commands and attempts to empty itself despite efforts to prevent it from doing so. An overactive bladder may be at the source of this problem.

Overflow incontinence

The bladder is unable to empty itself completely. This results in an accumulation of urine that drips slowly, in the daytime or at night. This type of incontinence can, for instance, be caused by prostate problems in men.

Functional incontinence

People affected by it have difficulty getting to the bathroom in time due to mental or physical inabilities (for example, in the case of Alzheimer’s disease or severe arthritis) or due to certain medications.

What are the possible solutions?

Many individuals dealing with urinary incontinence hesitate to search for solutions. Yet, there are several ways to counter the discomfort of bladder weakness.

Lifestyle changes

  • Avoid drinking too many fluids, especially in the evening.
  • Avoid alcohol and drinks that contain caffeine.
  • Avoid constipation.
  • Lose weight.
  • Quit smoking

Bladder training

Bladder training includes several easy techniques that help people to “relearn” to empty their bladder correctly, to improve bladder function and control.

Pelvic floor muscle (Kegel) exercises

These exercises are meant to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which promote better control.

Medication

The cause of urinary incontinence can sometimes be corrected using medication. There is also medication that helps to control the symptom. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about it.

Surgery

Depending on the type and the causes of incontinence, surgery may be used to correct the problem.

Protection products

The use of effective, discreet and comfortable protection products can provide real peace of mind. Choosing the appropriate products is key. In order to meet each individual’s particular needs, most of these products are available in various sizes and formats (pantiliners, protective pads and underwear), providing various degrees of absorption. Owing to this protection, you can lead a normal and active life without worrying about embarrassing accidents.

You can speak to your doctor or pharmacist in complete confidence if you have any questions about bladder weakness.

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Bladder weakness: do away with worrying

L’incontinence urinaire affecte bon nombre de gens, causant parfois de l’inconfort et de la gêne. Pour ce problème, il existe pourtant bien des solutions.
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