Incontinence

Bladder weakness

Bladder weakness - the informal name for urinary incontinence - describes the condition when the bladder leaks involuntarily. It is a subject that is very rarely talked about despite being a surprisingly common and often daily occurrence for both men and women.

What causes bladder weakness?

The most common cause of bladder weakness is weakened pelvic floor muscles brought on by age, pregnancy or after childbirth. Around 1 in 4 women over 35 experience it. Whatever the cause, in most cases bladder weakness can be cured – and it can always be managed.
 
incontinence - What causes bladder weakness?
 

What can I do about it?

Keep your bladder healthy, and with a few very simple exercises you can strengthen your pelvic floor and actually reduce or clear bladder weakness altogether.
 
Tips for maintaining a healthy bladder:
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
     
  • Drink plenty of water
     
  • Cut down on alcohol and drinks containing caffeine
     
  • Watch your weight – extra weight can put a strain on the pelvic floor muscles
     
  • Relax! Do not strain to empty your bladder. Sit with a hollowed back and take your time
     
  • Try to get the balance right – do not hold back for too long when you want to go, but at the same time, do not go to the toilet ‘just in case'. Four to eight times is a good average
  • Keep active – pelvic floor exercises improve bladder control
     
  • When you use pads especially made for bladder weakness you will need on average 3 pads a day. If you are using more than this you should consider choosing a pad with a higher absorbency
     
  • Know when you should get help. If you feel pain when you empty your bladder or find blood in your urine, you should always see your doctor
     

Pelvic floor exercise
 

Find the correct muscles:
  • Imagine you are trying to stop yourself passing urine mid stream
     
  • The muscles you should be able to feel when you tense are your pelvic floor muscles
     
  • Do not squeeze your legs together or tighten your buttocks
     
  • Do not hold your breath, just breathe normally
     
Build strength:
  • Sit, stand or lie with your legs slightly apart
     
  • Tighten and slowly pull up the pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can
     
  • Hold tight for as long as you can - start with 5 seconds
     
  • Repeat 5 times
     
  • Then pull the muscles up quickly and tightly and immediately let go
     
  • Repeat 5 times
     
  • Repeat the above 10 times a day
     
Do not give up!
  • You will need to continue these exercises for several weeks before your bladder control improves
     
  • It will take several months for the muscles to reach their full strength so it is worth persevering as it is the easiest way to regain control of your bladder. In the meantime, stay in control by using pads or pants to protect yourself from leaks
 
Bladder Weakness video                                                                Senior's health infographic                                                                     Osteoarthritis article

Watch: Incontinence Health Advice

 

More info: Senior's Health infographic

  


Health Advice: Seniors Health

 

 

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