With a healthy bladder, the brain signals the bladder is getting full. “When you get to a bathroom, your bladder muscles contract and force urine out of the bladder. Overactive bladder can result from the nerve signals between the bladder and the brain not functioning properly. People with overactive bladders frequently feel a sudden urge to urinate,” Cardenas-Trowers said.
Overactive bladder might be difficult to control. The need to pass urine many times during the day and night might unintentionally result in the loss of urine, known as urgency incontinence.
Stress incontinence — the leakage of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh or exercise — is a condition many women report as they age. Pelvic prolapse, where the structures inside the body are not sitting where they should, also can affect the bladder based on how the vagina or uterus are positioned and if they may be pushing on the bladder.
“Many women believe that these issues are normal and nothing can be done. Conversely, other women are embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing pelvic issues. I encourage all women to speak to their health specialist if they are experiencing any pelvic floor concerns. Contrary to belief, there are now many options to help manage symptoms and improve one’s quality of life,” Cardenas-Trowers said.
“Simple behavioral strategies, such as dietary changes, timed voiding and bladder-holding techniques, may be helpful for some women. Pelvic floor therapy exercises can also be valuable, but there are also medical and surgical treatment options available,” she added.
A brief evaluation with a urogynecologist can determine whether there is a specific cause of bladder issues and what treatments can best manage the symptoms.
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