Five Common Factors That Affect Bladder Control
Have you suddenly started to have problems with bladder control?
Perhaps you have reached a certain age, recently had a baby or undergone abdominal surgery and feel that it’s something you just should deal with.
The good news is that most cases of bladder problems can be treated and despite the many causes there are ways to help improve and in some cases ultimately correct the symptoms.
Let’s examine six of the most common factors that may affect bladder control;
The reason many people associate urinary incontinence with the aging process is that it is more common over the age of 40.
Approximately 20 percent of the population suffer from an overactive bladder or needing to visit the bathroom frequently. In some cases, the sufferer may not make it to the toilet in time, which can then cause embarrassing situations.
In nursing homes, the percentage of people suffering from incontinence can rise towards 50 percent.
Although a common part of the aging process, there is nothing ordinary about incontinence, and help and advice should always be sought from your doctor.
In the vast majority of cases, an experienced doctor will offer advice to improve the condition and may refer you to a specialist who can advise on the best products available to manage your temporary incontinence
The physical process of having a baby can stretch and temporarily damage a woman’s pelvic floor muscles. These muscles control the passing of urine, and so when they are not working as efficiently as normal following childbirth, many women may suffer from stress incontinence .
Addtional reading: Coping With Incontinence After Pregnancy
Incontinence is not something that women have to accept as a normal consequence of childbirth, and if the situation hasn’t improved by the time of the 6 to 8-week check-up, mention it to the doctor or midwife.
The key to regaining full bladder control lies in repairing and building up the strength in the pelvic floor muscles.
Your doctor can give advice on how to perform these simple exercises, which when mastered can be performed anywhere at any time. The more frequently you complete these exercises, the quicker you will notice the results.
Illness and Disease
The process of controlling urine requires a signal to be sent from the brain to the muscles and bladder, instructing the sphincter muscles to relax for the bladder to empty itself.
People suffering from certain illnesses or diseases may lose the ability to control those muscles, either just to a physical or mental issue.
This can include major illnesses such as;
The current estimations are that approximately fifty percent of people will suffer from incontinence problems following a stroke. Once again though, the outlook is positive with most patients regaining the ability to control their bladder in a short period of time following the stroke.
There are some reasons why stroke victims are thought to suffer disproportionality with incontinence, and these include not being acutely aware of their surroundings, or not even realising that they need to use the toilet.
There could be some damage to the part of the brain that controls bladder use, or if their mobility has been affected due to the stroke, they may simply not be able to make the trip to the toilet in time.
People dealing with cancer can also struggle with incontinence issues.
There are many reasons for this with the more obvious ones being the area in which the patient has cancer.
Prostate Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, and Bladder Cancer, for instance, are all more likely to cause the symptoms of urinary incontinence.
Cancer treatments can also cause temporary or permanent incontinence as a side effect of the treatment. Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) to the pelvic area can cause bladder irritation, or pelvic surgery can cause muscle damage and loss of control.
Depending on the reasons for the incontinence following cancer treatment, there are still many options available to fix the problem, and your doctor can help and advise on the most appropriate solution.
Surgery and Treatment
Prostate surgery and treatment is also likely to temporarily cause incontinence problems. The removal of the prostate changes the way in which the bladder holds urine, and until the bladder adapts to the new conditions, there is a distinct possibility of urine leakage.
There is also a chance that the surgery can damage the nerves that are responsible for bladder control.
Read our recent blog post; Incontinence After Prostate Surgery
Food and Diet
Whatever you put into your body has to come out the other end, and researchers believe that there is a strong correlation between certain food types and incontinence.
Clearly, the bladder has a limited capacity, so the more liquids you drink, the more frequently you will need to visit the toilet. Conversely, if you drink insufficient fluids, this can cause infection, and bladder irritation. Consuming too much alcohol can affect the brains signals to the bladder and cause incontinence.
High caffeine content drinks such as coffee, tea, and cola are known to stimulate the bladder, increasing the urge to urinate.
These are just some of the problems that your diet can cause should you suffer from incontinence.
The good news is that the patient is in total control of this aspect of their lives and a simple diet change can resolve the problems virtually overnight.
It is important to realise that in the vast majority of cases incontinence is treatable and does not need to have a huge impact on your life.
The first step towards solving the problem is to be proactive. Visit your doctor as soon as possible, and start to regain control of your life and your bladder.