You’ve seen the television commercials offering protection from adult urinary incontinence. Perhaps you’ve experienced problems with bladder control yourself, but are too embarrassed to talk about it. The fact is that many women suffer from bladder problems such as leaky bladder, trouble emptying your bladder or frequent urinary tract infections. However, bladder problems do not have to be a normal part of aging.
Most of the time, bladder problems are the result of a pelvic floor disorder, often caused by damage to the pelvic floor sustained during pregnancy and delivery, heavy lifting or due to menopause. Physical therapy that includes bladder retraining may help relieve symptoms and help you reclaim your life.
Common bladder problems
Common types of bladder problems affecting women include:
- Stress urinary incontinence – This occurs when the valve that normally keeps the urethra closed during typical activity become weak. Symptoms include leaking urine when sneezing, coughing, laughing or during physical activity.
- Urgency urinary incontinence – This occurs when there is a sudden urge to empty the bladder that cannot be controlled. Often called overactive bladder, symptoms of urgency urinary incontinence include multiple trips to the bathroom to empty the bladder, as well as not being able to make it the bathroom in time or even bed-wetting.
- Overflow incontinence – This occurs when the bladder muscle becomes weak or the urethra is unable to relax in order to empty the bladder. You may not feel the urge to empty the bladder and therefore, it can become over-full and leak. Symptoms often include lack of urge to empty the bladder, slow or delayed stream of urine, and urinary tract infections.
Better bladder control
Main Line Health offers a full range of services for women suffering from pelvic floor disorders that cause bladder symptoms, including bladder retraining.
Bladder retraining may include:
- Behavior modification training, including fluid and dietary management
- Biofeedback to identify pelvic muscle and gain control
- Bladder testing (urodynamics)
- Bladder retraining and timed schedules
- Electrical stimulation to relieve muscle pain
- Massage to help relieve pain from spasm
- Physical therapy to strengthen the pelvic floor through exercise
- Reduction of intake of food and drink that irritate the bladder
- Relaxation techniques
Help is here at Main Line Health
Treatment for pelvic floor disorders, including bladder retraining, is offered through Urogynecology Associates of Philadelphia at Lankenau Medical Center, Paoli and Riddle hospitals.