Bladder Weakness Causes And Treatments
It's usually referred to as urinary incontinence, but for those who experience it, the term bladder weakness describes the problem in a nutshell. There are a number of things that can cause bladder weakness. Some of them are preventable and some are not, or are only partly preventable. Both men and women experience the condition. About 1 in every 8 men will have an incontinence problem due to weak muscles that control the bladder, but nearly 1 in every 4 women will experience the problem. In some cases the condition is temporary, which is to say it goes away on its own. In most cases the condition is treatable, so if you are starting to have problems in controlling your bladder, the chances are good that something can be done about it.
- Finding The Affected Muscles - In most, though not all instances, the condition is brought about by a weakening of the pelvic muscles, which in yoga classes are sometimes referred to as the “pee muscles”. Since these muscles are internal and deep muscles, we normally don't know how to exercise them or even how to control them. If you try to stop your urine flow in midstream, something you should be able to do easily under normal conditions, you can get some insight as to where these muscles are located.
- Age As A Factor - There are roughly four situations which can lead to bladder weakness or urinary incontinence. From the standpoint of statistics it doesn't help to be a woman, and the chances of developing a problem also tend to increase with age, which is why incontinence is more prevalent among older women. Increasing age affects men as well, but as noted above, men are somewhat less apt to experience the problem than are women.
- Pregnancy As A Factor - Pregnancy can be an issue as well. Incontinence can be fairly common during pregnancy, due to changes in hormones and the increased pressure put on the bladder as the uterus expands. Incontinence in this case is usually a temporary condition. Sometimes, labor and childbirth can cause internal damage to the muscles, nerves, and tissues on the pelvic floor. If so, a problem with incontinence may arise either shortly after childbirth or many years later.
- UTI As A Factor - In some instances, incontinence is one of the symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Unless permanent damage has been done to tissues, which is generally unlikely, any problem one is experiencing due to weak bladder muscles will in most cases go away once the infection is cleared up.
Diet As A Factor - The foods we eat can also contribute to a weak bladder. Obviously, not all people are affected in the same way by the same foods. Some can eat all the spicy foods and drink all the caffeine or carbonated beverages they want, and never suffer from incontinence. Others have to be more careful as to what they eat, and need to avoid foods which tend to irritate and weaken the bladder.
One could in theory avoid urinary incontinence by eating the right foods and either avoiding an occurrence of a urinary tract infection, or catching and treating it at the start, something which isn't also possible to do. Pregnancy could be avoided as well, although most women would not choose to go that route. As far as age and gender are concerned, there is little that can be done.
Other Causes - There are a few other potential causes as well, some of which are preventable and some of which are not. Being overweight can place a great deal of extra pressure on the muscles controlling bladder flow, so obesity is one cause, and one that often could be avoided. Another cause of incontinence is menopause, which of course cannot be avoided. During menopause, the position or orientation of the bladder sometimes shifts. This shifting may make it more difficult for the muscles that control the flow of urine to do their job well. There are also medications which can cause incontinence, and finally there are neurological diseases and disorders, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and Multiple Sclerosis, that can cause incontinence. In the case of a neurological problem it is usually not a weakening of the muscles that is the problem, but is a lack of proper communication between the brain and the muscles due to a malfunction in the nervous system.
Treatment - There are a number of different types of treatment for bladder weakness, with surgery usually being reserved for the very serious cases. Medications can be taken that will suppress bladder contractions until the bladder is full. Other medications help strengthen weak bladder muscles. Estrogen can help in maintaining better control of the bladder. Exercises, especially pelvic floor exercises which work the pelvic muscles, including the “pee muscles”, can be very effective in clearing up a problem with incontinence. Yoga classes can be a big help when it comes to exercising internal muscles, since in yoga one learns to be more in tune with ones body and how it is working, or for that matter not working.