Bladder Control Problems In Women

What are the Major Types of Bladder Control Problems?

There are three major types of bladder control problems: leakage of small amounts of urine when you sneeze, cough or exercise; leakage of large amounts of urine while you feel a sudden urge to urinate; and frequent urination during the daytime or at night. There are additional bladder control problems such as: lacking the ability to empty the bladder and splashing urine streams in all directions.

While bladder control problems affect women and men of all age groups, it happens mostly to women. Research suggests that involuntary urine loss affects 16 million American women (National Family Opinion, August 2001), and the incidence increases as women age.

Why do Bladder Control Problems Happen?

Bladder control problems are mostly aging related, that happen to menopausal and post-menopausal women, and to younger women who have had hysterectomy. Hormone changes in women’s body may weaken the muscle systems that control bladder functions.

Childbirth and pregnancy used to be considered as the main contributing factors for women’s incontinence later in life. But more and more studies have disputed this hypothesis. The most famous study is the nun study which shows that the nuns who have not given childbirth have the same rate of incontinence as the women in general population who have given childbirth.

Incontinence, overactive bladder may also be caused by the side effects of some medications you are taking, or by medical conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, or surgeries and radiation treatments. People with bladder control problems should check with physicians for potential underlying health conditions.

As Mayo Clinic article stated, “Urinary incontinence isn’t a disease, it is a symptom.” It can be caused by many reasons. 

The following figures show the major muscle groups involved in the bladder functions: the sphincter muscles, bladder wall muscles, and pelvic muscles. When these muscles are weakened, bladder control will become a problem.

Front View of bladder and sphincter muscles
Figure 1 – Front View of bladder and sphincter muscles

Side view of female pelvic muscles
Figure 2. – Side view of female pelvic muscles.

(These two figures are from the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse)

Take Control Over Your Bladder Control Problems

Bladder control problems are not an inevitable part of aging. The key is not to wait but to take actions Start to strengthen your bladder muscle systems now without delay. Kegel exercises may help. Or learn how to retrain your bladder.  Healthy lifestyle may help. Avoid foods that could make incontinence and overactive bladder worse. BetterWOMAN can help you too to regain your bladder health and control.

Take action today. You have little to lose, but much to gain – your freedom!

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