With over 33 million Americans suffering from some kind of bladder weakness issue, you don’t have to feel alone if you have a leaking bladder. What you may not know, though, is that it can be more than just an annoyance.
If you’re suffering from some loss of bladder control — whether it be overactive bladder, stress incontinence, or some other form of bladder weakness — muster up the courage and talk to your doctor. You won’t be the first person he or she has seen about the problem, you’ll get help to get your bladder weakness under control. Further, you’ll get a real diagnosis that will rule out some of the major health concerns that your leaking bladder might be signalling.
According to Caring.com, your bladder weakness can indicate a larger health problem. Here are 9 possibilities:
- Sleep apnea – this breathing disorder causes you to pause breathing while you’re asleep, causing you to wake up abruptly. You may, upon awakening, decide you just have to go to the bathroom. (Other symptoms include snoring and daytime sleepiness.)
- Diabetes - If you’re diabetic, you know that it can cause loss of sensation in your fingers and toes. Did you also know, however, that it can prevent the nerve signals from appropriately reaching the muscles that govern urination? If this is the case for you, you’ll notice a need to go, even when you don’t, or a lack of sensation that you need to go which leads to accidents. You may also produce larger-than-normal amounts of urine.
- Hypothyroidism - If your thyroid gland is slow functioning, it can inhibit nerve signals that signal the need to void. If you feel the need to go frequently, whether you’re able to urinate or not, it could be a secondary symptom of hypothyroidism. The main symptoms are extreme fatigue, feeling cold, weight gain, dry skin, and sometimes hair loss.
- Chronic urinary tract infection – Urinary tract infections are very common. If you feel that you constantly have to urinate, and when you do you feel a burning sensation, it could be a UTI. You may also notice reddish, cloudy, or even foul-smelling urine as well as fever, localized pain, and a sensation of bladder pressure.
- You weigh too much – If you’re overweight, your pelvic floor muscles — which support your urinary system — are under extra pressure. (A new Australian study published in the January issue of the British Journal of Urology International says that many severely obese women who suffered from incontinence gain control over their urination after losing weight due to laparoscopic gastric banding, a common form of weight-loss surgery where a band is placed around the top of the stomach reducing the amount of food you can eat before feeling full.)
- Interstitial cystitis – This painful condition is caused by inflammation of the tissues of the bladder wall. The cause is unknown and the condition is usually diagnosed by ruling out other conditions like sexually transmitted disease, bladder cancer, and bladder infections. IC is frequently misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection.
- Falling organs – After childbirth, women are especially vulnerable to bladder prolapse, the dropping of the bladder — sometimes all the way into the vaginal opening. Heavy lifting, chronic coughing, obesity, and menopause can also lead to a prolapsed bladder. If you don’t feel relieved after you go, feel like you have to go often, or have discomfort or pain in the vagina, pelvis, groin, or lower back, be sure you report these symptoms to your doctor.
- Dehydration - Diarrhea or vomiting, profuse sweating, or symptoms of diabetes can all cause dehydration. If your urine is abnormally dark or strong smelling, you may be dehydration.
- Cancer - Cancer can develop in many areas in and around the bladder. If you notice blood in your urine – which can appear as pink, brown, or red — or pain while urinating, you should definitely report this to your doctor.
More than likely, your leaking bladder is the result of ordinary bladder weakness and can be treated in a variety of ways, but seeing your doctor is the best way to start getting better! In the mean time, discover ways you can combat bladder weakness and a leaking bladder by downloading Vibrant Nation’s special report, 5 keys to manage a leaking bladder or overactive bladder for women over 50.