What is bladder weakness?
Bladder weakness, also known as urinary incontinence, describes the condition when the bladder leaks involuntarily. The condition can affect both women and men.
Causes and types?
There are a number of triggers for bladder weakness:
- Weakened pelvic floor muscles - pelvic floor muscles support the bladder. When these muscles lose their strength and flexibility, everyday activities such as laughing or coughing may cause urine to escape. Pelvic floor muscles can be stretched and weakened during childbirth and being overweight can also put a strain on these muscles.
- Menopause - the reduction of oestrogen in the body affects the abdominal muscles resulting in the bladder shifting position. The bladder muscles become less effective.
- Other causes - damage to the nerves, certain drugs, constipation or even infection can also lead to bladder weakness.
There are four major types of bladder weakness.
Each one has a different cause and different symptoms. They are:
- Stress - unexpected leakage when you laugh, cough, sneeze or exercise. Weakened pelvic floor muscles are the main cause of this type of bladder weakness, which is most common in women especially during pregnancy and after childbirth. It is therefore vital to exercise your pelvic floor muscles regularly.
- Urge - a strong and sudden urge to pass urine. The bladder tries to empty itself despite efforts to restrain leakage.
- Overflow - when the bladder does not empty completely, urine builds up and in the end may drip out as if it was overflowing.
- Mixed - it is fairly common to have more than one type of symptom.
How can I manage my bladder weakness?
Bladder weakness is often easily treated and managed. The first recommendation is to visit a GP or nurse, who will be used to talking about it and will be able to advise on a suitable course of action.
Pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegel exercises, may be recommended as a way of strengthening the weakened pelvic floor muscles.