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Leaky Bladder? Lifestyle Changes to Help Urinary Stress Incontinence

due to a leaky bladder a women has her hands in front of her bladder
Losing bladder control is common but frustrating. For most people, a simple lifestyle change or medications can stop the urinary incontinence.

You might be embarrassed to discuss your leaky bladder with your doctor. But know that you’re not alone. Urinary stress incontinence is a common problem that affects mostly women.

You may leak urine during everyday activities such as:

  • Laughing
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Crying
  • Exercising
  • Heavy lifting

The good news is that there are treatments available that can help the condition. You don’t have to accept a leaky bladder as a normal sign of aging.

Stop A Leaky Bladder

Stretched or weakened pelvic floor muscles are often the reason behind urine leakage. This may occur due to weight gain, childbirth, or other conditions that stretch the muscles as you age.

When your pelvic floor muscles can’t properly support your bladder, it drops. Then you can’t tighten the muscles that close off the urethra, which is what stops the flow of urine. That’s why, when laughing, sneezing, and doing other activities put extra pressure on the bladder, you accidentally leak a little urine.

So what can you do to stop this from happening?

Lifestyle Changes

Your doctor may recommend changing how much and when you drink fluids. Other lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, or treating a chronic cough may improve symptoms.

Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation

Bladder and pelvic floor muscle training can help mild cases of urinary stress incontinence. These can include Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic rehab may also include biofeedback.

Devices

If lifestyle changes and pelvic floor rehab don’t help your leaky bladder, your gynecologist may recommend a pessary. This is a plastic device that your doctor inserts into the vagina. It supports the neck of the bladder to help stop urine leakage.

More Help For Your Leaky Bladder

If these changes aren’t helping, schedule an appointment with an urogynecologist.

Collagen Injections

Injecting collagen or other bulking materials into the area around the urethra narrows it, which can help stop leakage. Multiple injections are usually required for a leaky bladder.

Surgery

If your condition doesn’t respond to less-invasive treatments, you may need a surgical procedure that involves placing a sling under the urethra to support it. The urethral sling helps keep the urethra closed during activities that put added pressure on the bladder. This procedure has a high success rate but should be a last-resort option.

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