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Leaking bladder: Do you need surgery to correct bladder weakness?

Bladder weakness is no laughing matter, and women our age have lots to worry about when it comes to leaking bladders: Stress incontinence can worsen during the week before the menstrual period. At that time, lowered estrogen levels may lead to lower muscular pressure around the urethra, increasing chances of leakage. Stress incontinence is also more likely after menopause, because of lowered estrogen levels.

But when you're experiencing a leaking bladder during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or any body movement which puts pressure on the bladder, you may consider surgery to fix bladder weakness once and for all.

The National Association For Continence compares surgery for stress incontinence alone to an athlete with an injured knee. The athlete has an injury primarily involving the ligaments and tendons supporting the knee. This athlete may be able to compensate for the weakened ligaments by strengthening the surrounding muscles to stabilize the knee joint.This is similar to pelvic floor muscle exercises, or Kegel exercises, to help correct SUI [stress urinary incontinence causing a leaking bladder]. When a person has a severe injury or wants to resume vigorous athletic activity, she is more likely to require surgical correction."

If you're lifestyle doesn't include high-stress activities like running, you may be satisfied with the non-surgical methods of strengthening your weak muscles to prevent a leaking bladder, and other simple changes.

The NAFC recommends that you spend 3 months doing Kegels and other recommended pelvic floor exercises for women to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles prior to surgery. Then, investigate the different surgical procedures available for the treatment of bladder weakness, and discuss the alternatives with your physician. Most importantly, the patient should feel comfortable asking her physician why a particular procedure is recommended.

While you should certainly launch a conversation with your doctor about any bladder weakness or incidents of leaking bladder you're facing, you can also find some great tips in Vibrant Nation's Special Report, 5 keys to manage a leaking bladder or overactive bladder for women over 50.


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