On any given day millions of women experience symptoms of a leaking bladder. While some women may only lose a few drops of urine while running or coughing, others may lose a large amount of urine. For some women, the risk of public embarrassment keeps them from enjoying many activities, including sex.
There are several treatment choices for a leaking bladder. Some treatments are as simple as changing some daily habits while others require medicine or a medical device. The following is a list of common treatments:
Bladder control exercises
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic muscles and don’t require equipment. The trick is finding the right muscles to squeeze. Your doctor can help make sure you are squeezing the right muscles or refer you to a physical therapist.
By keeping track of the times you leak urine, you may notice certain times of day when you are most likely to have an accident. You can use that information to make planned trips to the bathroom ahead of time to avoid a leaking bladder.
You may notice that certain foods and drinks cause you to urinate more often. Avoiding caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, or cola can help you better control your bladder. Also make sure you are not drinking too much fluid and limit your drinking after dinner.
Extra body weight puts extra pressure on your bladder. By losing weight, you may be able to relieve some of that pressure and regain your bladder control.
If you have an overactive bladder, your doctor may prescribe a medicine that can calm bladder muscles and nerves. Medicines for overactive bladder come as pills, liquid, or a patch.
A pessary is a plastic ring, similar to a contraceptive diaphragm, that is worn in the vagina. It will help support the walls of the vagina, lifting the bladder and nearby urethra, leading to less stress leakage. A doctor or nurse can fit you with the best shape and size pessary for you and teach you how to care for it.
A device can be placed under your skin to deliver mild electrical pulses to the nerves that control bladder function. Electrical stimulation of the nerves that control the bladder can improve symptoms of urgency, frequency, and urge incontinence, as well as bladder emptying problems, in some people.
Doctors may suggest surgery to improve bladder control if other treatments have failed. Surgery only helps stress incontinence. Most stress incontinence problems are caused by the bladder neck dropping toward the vagina. Surgery to lift the bladder may use a web of strings or a ribbon like sling to support the bladder neck and urethra.
If your bladder does not empty well as a result of nerve damage, you might leak urine. This condition is called overflow incontinence and you may need to use a catheter to empty your bladder. You may use a catheter once in a while, a few times a day, or all of the time.
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