Despite affecting over 200 million people worldwide, leaky bladder, or ‘urinary incontinence’, as it is known in the medical world, is one of the conditions that is, aside from often being a symptom of an underlying medical condition, most likely to go undiagnosed or untreated due to the social awkwardness associated with it; resulting in a great many myths pertaining to the condition, some of which are explained, and disproved, below. We also talk about some solutions for leaky bladders.
1- A Little Leakage is Normal
While bladder and pelvic muscles do weaken with age, particularly in post-menopausal women due to low estrogen levels, a leaky bladder is by no means normal. It can be treated using various solutions for leaky bladders that range from muscle strengthening exercises like Kegels for mild leakage to medicinal treatment for uncontrollable and extreme urine leakage.
2- You Shouldn’t Exercise with Incontinence
On the contrary, exercise helps control bladder incontinence by taking weight off the bladder through excess body weight reduction, particularly around the abdomen. However, bladder straining exercises like running, jumping, or high-impact aerobics should be performed with caution.
3- Drinking Too Much Water Promotes Incontinence
Minimizing fluid intake can cause constipation and dehydration, which concentrates the urine and irritates the bladder lining, thereby further aggravating the condition. Instead, drink multiple small amounts throughout the day up to 2-3 hours before bedtime.
4- 8 Glasses of Water A Day is Necessary-Even with Incontinence
While 8 glasses are the general recommendation, doctors do sometimes recommend drinking only when thirsty for certain people with incontinence. Work with your doctor to determine what the optimum daily amount is for you depending upon your lifestyle and daily activities.
5- It’s the Same for Everyone
Incontinence is of two types: Stress Incontinence, that is categorized by urine leakage after coughing, sneezing, running, or other activities that put pressure on the bladder, and Urge Incontinence, i.e. urine loss following a sudden and intense urge to urinate. So, its safe to say that everyone experiences incontinence differently.
6- Medications Are the Best Treatment
Most people simply require behavioral modifications such as setting a urination schedule and moderating fluid intake alongside pelvic floor strengthening exercises. Medications are usually used in combination with behavioral therapy in more serious cases as they can cause chronic dry mouth and constipation.
The important thing to remember here is that not every case is the same. Therefore, doctors suggest different combinations of treatment options for each patient. Some patients might require simple changes changes in routine, while some may require therapeutic treatment along with medications.
7- Feminine Hygiene Products Can Stop Urine Leaks
Menstrual pads can neither absorb nor control the resultant urine odor due to the difference in the consistencies of menstrual blood and urine. Therefore, opt for specially designed incontinence pads that can effectively absorb and wick the resultant moisture from the skin to avoid rashes.
8- Childbirth Causes Incontinence
While some women do experience urine leakage during and after pregnancy, the condition relies heavily on factors such as genetics and lifestyle, with women who have never given birth being just as likely to experience incontinence as those who have.
9- Incontinence Is a Result of Small Bladder Size
Urinating more often does not equate a small bladder. All bladders are of the same size unless reduced surgically, such as for cancer removal. Incontinence in such cases is usually the result of weak bladder and pelvic floor muscles, nerve damage, or UTIs.
10- Always Go Whenever You First Feel the Urge
This may hold for travelling when there are limited rest stops but urinating at the slightest urge only serves to worsen the condition by weakening the bladder, hence increasing the risk of accidental leakages when going to the bathroom. Choose instead to wait every 3-4 hours to improve bladder control.
11- It cannot be resolved
Incontinence is surely treatable. If you take proper care, you can regain control of your bladder. If your condition is severe, try consulting with a doctor. However, you have to go prepared in order to get the best diagnosis.
This preparation will involve listing down all the medical conditions you have and have had previously. Also, list down any medication you take or have taken as these can be causing incontinence. Next, try to log all the times you visit the loo in a day and mention thee conditions under which you had the urge to go. This will help the doctor reach a better diagnosis and provide you with best solution moving forward.
Urinary incontinence, whether minor or disruptive, is not a normal part of aging and should not be treated as such. There are various solutions for leaky bladders. If you experience the condition, discuss it with your doctor for the best treatment course without hesitation. You can also book an appointment with a top Urologist in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your bladder-related concerns.