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Many women modify their lives for fear of leaking urine, yet don’t realize treatment options are out there. Here are four common problems, with the steps women can take to solve them.
Problem 1: Frequent, urgent need to urinate. “Often, these women don’t actually leak urine, but the fear of leaking drives them to urinate frequently, every hour or every time they are close to a toilet,” explains Shayzreen Roshanravan, M.D., a urogynecologist on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano. “This habitual toileting trains the bladder to no longer listen to the brain. As a result, the bladder is in control.”
Solution: Sometimes it’s as simple as evaluating and adjusting your diet. Dr. Roshanravan points to coffee and acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus as common culprits. “Women don’t have to stop eating and drinking things that bring them joy, they just need to decrease the amount or consider substituting with other foods,” she says.
Problem 2: Frequent, urgent need to urinate and leaking a small amount of urine (when they feel the urge to urinate and are on their way to the bathroom).
Solution: Dr. Roshanravan says a six-week program for retraining the bladder can help. “Once a week they undergo supervised pelvic floor therapy, and then are given an individualized bladder training program for homework.” One week they might urinate every two hours, and then the next week they will increase to every three hours. If they feel they need to urinate earlier, they use the urge suppression techniques they learned in therapy. “They reestablish control,” explains Dr. Roshanravan.
Problem 3: Feeling as though the bladder doesn’t empty all the way, or that their urine stream is weak & prolonged.
Solution: This sensation of incomplete bladder emptying can be due to many causes, one of which is prolapse, a condition where the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, and/or rectum) have fallen out of place. Women can use a simple device called a pessary that is placed in the vagina to replace the prolapsed organs or opt for surgical repair.
Problem 4: Leaking urine when running, jumping, coughing, sneezing or laughing, causing women to limit their activities.
Solution: Sometimes, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles with exercise can help. But usually this condition requires surgery. Fortunately, a minimally invasive outpatient procedure has a 90 percent cure rate.
To learn more about treatment options for bladder leaks, click here.
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