Causes Of Bladder Control Problems And Symptoms
Bladder control problems are more common than you think. Studies show that bladder control problems are more prevalent among females. Approximately 50% of the women population experiences bladder control issues or urinary incontinence. If you are not familiar with this condition, this article will explore the causes and symptoms of bladder control problems and the treatment options available.
What Are Bladder Control Problems?
Bladder control problems or urinary incontinence are characterized by the inability to hold urine in one’s bladder. As a result, urine leaks involuntarily. People with bladder control problems would feel a constant urge to go to the bathroom.
What Causes Bladder Control Problems?
There are multiple factors that can contribute to the development of bladder control problems. Health conditions that might induce bladder control issues are:
- Advancing age
- Bladder infection
- Birth defects
- Blocked urinary tract
- Chronic cough
- Genitourinary fistulas
- Urinary tract infections can also cause temporary urinary incontinence.
When the bladder gets full, the nervous system sends a message to the brain to let it know that it's time to urinate. Consequently, the brains send back a message to the urinary bladder to tighten or relax the sphincter muscles. However, certain conditions can damage the bladder nerves and increase the risk of developing bladder control problems, such as:
- Vaginal childbirth
- Surgery for prostate cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain or spinal cord injury
- Heavy metal poisoning
- Several lifestyle factors can also increase the risks of urinary incontinence:
- Eating foods causing constipation
- Drinking alcohol, caffeinated or carbonated beverages
- Certain medicines
- Physical inactivity
Other Causes of Bladder Control Problems in Females:
As mentioned above, females are more prone to develop bladder control issues as they go through certain life events and health issues that can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. Stress incontinence can occur due to bodily stresses like:
- Trauma or injury
- Pelvic organ prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse or weakened pelvic support muscles can make it difficult to hold your urine. Activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing, and exercising put pressure on the bladder causing urine to leak out involuntarily. Weak pelvic floor muscles can also lead to bowel control problems (fecal incontinence).
What Are The Symptoms Of Bladder Control Problems?
Typically, bladder control problems can show signs and symptoms such as:
- Urine leaks during normal activities like lifting, bending, coughing, exercising, etc.
- Sudden, strong urge to urinate
- Leaking urine without warning
- Bedwetting while asleep
- Leaking during sex
If urinary incontinence occurred due to pelvic organ prolapse, you might experience vaginal discomfort, pain in the lower abdomen, and lower back pain.
In case of bladder problems related to UTIs, you might experience vaginal pain and vaginal soreness.
When Should I See A Health Care Professional?
Bladder control issues can be embarrassing which might hold you back from seeking medical assistance. However, it is recommended to get yourself tested immediately. Often, a thorough pelvic exam is needed to understand the underlying cause of the issue.
You do not have to worry too much if you experience a few isolated incidences of urine leakage. However, if the condition is persistent and affects the quality of your life, you should consult a physician. Experts advise consulting your doctor if:
- You leak urine while doing day-to-day activities.
- You frequently feel a sudden and strong need to urinate.
- You find it difficult to pass urine
- Your urine stream is getting weaker progressively.
If the condition does not get better, you might need to consult a specialist. Your physician will generally refer you to a geriatrician if your urinary incontinence is age-related. A urogynecologist can help train your pelvic floor muscles. On the other hand, a urologist can help with male and female urinary disorders,
Self-Care And Treatment For Bladder Control.
Various treatment measures can manage bladder control issues. Bladder training is the most common self-care approach for bladder control problems. It involves adjusting your habits to extend the interval between bathroom visits. It requires setting a schedule for bathroom visits and sticking to it. It helps you control your urge to urinate and allows your bladder to fill more fully.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises like Kegels can also help treat urinary incontinence. Biofeedback and vaginal weights are also effective for bladder control issues.
Controlling the risk factors is also important to prevent and relieve the condition's symptoms. It is recommended to manage the medications that cause an overactive bladder, maintain a healthy weight, quit smoking, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Pessaries and pelvic support devices can also be administered to treat causes of urinary incontinence like pelvic organ prolapse.
The Bottom Line:
Bladder problems are often embarrassing, and if the underlying cause of the issue is urinary tract infection or pelvic organ prolapse, it is often accompanied by vaginal pain, vaginal discomfort, and pain in the lower abdomen. Prompt care and treatment can help relieve symptoms. We hope this article has helped you understand what are the causes and symptoms of bladder control problems and how can they be treated.
Supervising Doctor of This Article
Koichi Nagao, MD PhD
Professor, Department of Urology, Toho University Faculty of Medicine
Director of Urinary tract reconstruction center, Toho University Omori Medical Center
Director of Reproduction Center, Toho University Omori Medical Center
Professor Nagao specializes in plastic surgery in the field of reproductive medicine. He completed eight years of plastic surgery training at Showa University before majoring in urology at Toho University. With his meticulous surgical techniques and careful examinations that combines urology and plastic surgery, Professor Nagao became a Board Certified Specialist with multiple associations including the Japanese Urological Association, the Japan Society for Reproductive Medicine, and the Japanese Society for Sexual Medicine.