Many types bladder control issues get lumped together under the umbrella of urinary incontinence, but the causes and treatments vary greatly. Bladder weakness is commonly referred to as urinary incontinence and it is indeed one of the many types along with overflow incontinence, urge incontinence, overactive bladder syndrome and others. There are similarities among many of these, but important differences, too.
Bladder weakness is more likely to affect women because much of the problem stems from pelvic muscles. These lower abdominal muscles are responsible for holding the bladder and also wrapping around the urethra to stop the flow of urine. When these muscles become weakened, the voluntary act of closing the urethra becomes harder or impossible and leaking may occur.
There are many causes of bladder weakness and for women it may be pregnancy, childbirth or even menopause that are common causes. Men are not immune to this type of incontinence, though. The same medical conditions that interfere with muscle and bladder controls that spawn other forms of incontinence can also create a bladder weakness. For both men and women a stroke or dementia may cause lack or muscle control. Many kinds of neurological disorders may lead to loss of proper muscle function and bladder use. Common diseases include Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, or Spina Bifida. Beyond disease, there are conditions triggered by certain medications. A side effect of many medications used for other diseases may be a weak bladder and urinary incontinence.
Fortunately, for men or women there are some ways to combat this type of incontinence. Kegel exercises have proven to be a popular method for strengthening the pelvic muscles, which in turn allows a person to better control the flow of urine. These exercises can be performed by virtually anyone with no equipment necessary. A doctor or urologist can help a person with a Kegel exercise plan no matter their age or weight. Many patients experience results and less incontinence in just a few weeks.
Along with these pelvic muscle strength training exercises, a person can monitor their liquids. It is important to not cut back on fluids because staying properly hydrated helps the body and will actually decrease bladder infections. It is wise to spread drinks out evenly and consume some liquid every few hours all day long. One tip is to cut out liquids that can lead to problems and that includes heavily caffeinated beverages, citrus juice and tomato juice, and alcohol. Water, grape juice, cranberry juice and apple juice can replace these types of drinks.
Even with Kegel exercises and a change in diet, there are still likely to be minor accidents. Incontinence briefs are discrete for men or women. Nocturia or bedwetting can be controlled by incontinence pads or keeping a bedpan within easy reach. A weak bladder is NOT a sign of weakness, but it should always be taken seriously. Bladder issues may be a sign of a far more serious neurological or other physical problem and a urologist should be consulted to evaluate the seriousness of the disease and to help formulate a strategy for coping with this disorder.