Botsford HealthSource Magazine
Bid Bye-Bye to Bladder Blues
Women used to discuss bladder problems in hushed tones—if at all. Today, we talk about them, and their treatment, more openly.
"There are a variety of reasons why a woman would have a bladder problem. Treatment depends on the underlying cause," says Amy Brode, D.O.
She notes that four specific bladder problems are common among women. They include:
- URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS (UTIs)
Bacteria in the urinary tract can cause infections. Some women may need to urinate more often than usual; feel pain or burning during urination; have reddish, cloudy or smelly urine or experience lower abdomen pressure.
- URINARY INCONTINENCE
One cause is muscle loss. The urethra, which carries urine out of the body, is surrounded by muscles called sphincters that help hold urine in the bladder. But the sphincters may become loose, letting urine escape. Or they may frequently stay tight, making it hard to urinate.
- OVERACTIVE BLADDER
Women with an overactive bladder may feel as if they have to urinate too often. Others feel a sudden need to urinate.
- URINE RETENTION
Though less frequently seen, some women don't feel the urge to urinate when they should because of damaged nerves. Or, the bladder muscles may become too weak to empty the bladder completely. If urine stays in the bladder too long, an infection can develop. An overfull bladder may press against the kidneys or overflow, causing urine leaks.
"If you have symptoms, I urge you to tell your doctor about the impact this has on your life," Dr. Brode says. "Effective treatments are available for all of these conditions."
Experiencing symptoms like loss of control over urination, the need to urinate frequently at night, not urinating often enough or repeated bladder infections? Talk with your doctor, who can help ease your symptoms. Strokes, diabetes, injuries and even childbirth can be the culprits behind damaged bladder nerves.
In addition to medications and other treatments, your doctor might recommend self-care strategies:
- Timed voiding—scheduling bathroom breaks may help if you feel the urge to urinate too often or not enough.
- Kegel exercises—strengthening the muscles that control the bladder may help reduce leaks.
- UTI prevention—drinking plenty of fluids can help ward off UTIs. So does urinating before and after sex.
TRY A THERAPY PROGRAM
The Pelvic Floor Restoration Program at Botsford can help you minimize bladder problems without medication or surgery. Call (248) 442-2565 for a FREE brochure.
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Pelvic Floor Restoration Program