How common are Bladder Control Problems?
Urinary Bladder Control problems affect the lives of over 13 million women in the United States. Urinary Bladder Control problems are the body’s inability to control muscles that control the release of urine. Bladder Control Problems have the potential to impact one’s quality of life, however, with the appropriate treatment, the condition is treatable.
What are the different types of Urinary Bladder Control Problems?
- Stress Urinary bladder control problems: leakage of urine during physical activity such as coughing, sneezing, laughing and exercise.
- Urge bladder control problems: experiencing a strong, intense urge to urinate, followed by leakage of urine, possibly occurring even after urination.
- Mixed bladder control problems: having symptoms of both stress and urge bladder control problems.
- Overflow bladder control problems: leakage occurs because the bladder never completely empties.
Why do I have SUI (Stress Urinary Incontinence)?
- Strenuous activity or exercise: vigorous exercise and/or physical straining can put additional stress on the pelvic area, resulting in SUI if the pelvic and urethral muscles are already somewhat weakened.
- Pregnancy and natural childbirth: pregnancy and natural childbirth put some degree of stress on a woman’s pelvic muscles and ligaments, and the impact of this stress may become more evident with aging.
- Menopause Hormone Changes as a woman’s hormone balance changes through the different stages of menopause. This can lead to weakening of the muscles that control urine leakage.
- Prior gynecologic surgeries: certain types of gynecologic surgery may have an effect on the overall strength of pelvic and urethral muscles, leading to a woman having difficulty holding urine when pelvic muscles are strained or stressed.
What treatment options are available?
- Muscle Retraining/Behavioral Therapy: a series of exercises is sometimes used to help strengthen and learn to control the muscles involved in urination.
- Medication: in most cases, SUI is not effectively treated with medication. This option is usually reserved for other types of bladder control problems.
- Bulking agents this involves the injection of a “bulking agent” (such as collagen) into urethral tissues to maintain closure of the urethra and thereby preventing accidental leakage. This can be effective for those who are not good candidates for surgery.
- Surgery: this is performed to help restore the body’s natural functioning of the urinary tract. Most surgical procedures today are minimally invasive and effective, with few complications.
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