Urinary bladder control problems are more common than many other diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and even osteoporosis. It is also a known fact that women are twice as likely as men to experience them. During urination, muscles in the bladder contract, forcing urine into the urethra, a tube that carries urine out of the body. At the same time, muscles surrounding the urethra relax and let the urine pass. If the bladder muscles contract or the muscles surrounding the urethra relax without warning, the result is incontinence.Urinary bladder control conditions cause quality of life issues and often embarrassment for those who suffer with it. Even though urinary incontinence is fairly common, many people are reluctant to seek help because of embarrassment. They may also be unaware that effective treatment is available.As a result, people with bladder control problems may be afraid to socialize because they fear venturing too far from a bathroom. Others are forced to limit physical activities. People lose sleep or experience unpleasant, even painful, symptoms.Common complaints of bladder control in women include:
Leakage of urine with exercise, laughter, sneezing, coughing, etc. This is known as stress urinary incontinence.
The need to hurry to the bathroom after feeling the urge to urinate. This is called urgency/urge incontinence.
Chronic urinary tract infections
Urinary retention (the inability to void)
Frequent urination during the daytime (voiding more than seven times per day)
Frequent nighttime urination
The inability to start the stream of urination
Straining in order to urinate
For many women bladder control can be caused by specific foods and beverages. Caffeine and alcohol both act as diuretics, which mean that they increase urine production. This can lead to increased frequency and urgency of urination. Caffeine can also cause bladder spasms.
Also, certain acidic fruits - oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes - and fruit juices, spicy foods, tomato-based products, carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, sugar, chocolate, coffee and tea may irritate your bladder or contribute to leakage of urine. Why these items sometimes cause irritation isn't exactly known, and what causes bladder irritation may vary from person to person.Your treatment will depend on the type of bladder control problem you have. Some treatments are simple. Others are more complicated. Your health care team may suggest one of the following treatments:Pelvic Floor ExercisesYour bladder treatment might be as simple as pelvic floor exercises. Your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder and urethra so if they have become weakened or slack due to childbirth or other reasons, then this may be the cause of your bladder control problems. Pelvic floor exercises are easy to do and can make a really big difference to your bladder control.Bladder trainingBladder training is another non-surgical way to regain bladder control. It's designed to help you increase the amount of urine you can hold in your bladder in between trips to the bathroom, without urgency or leakage of urine.SurgeryEven though surgery is usually a last resort after other treatments have failed, it's not generally considered a major operation. In fact, some women's incontinence surgeries can even be done under a local anesthetic.