In the last post, I promised we’d talk more about bladder health – well, this blog is called The Ladies Room after all! Here we go!
First, some questions:
Do you leak when you cough/ sneeze/ laugh/ run/ go from sit-stand?
How often do you urinate?
Do you have any pain with urination?
Any blood in the urine?
Do you have any urinary urgency?
Do you ever not make it to the toilet on time?
Do you feel like you empty your bladder completely?
As a women’s health specialist, I often hear the statistic that 1 in 3 women have some sort of pelvic floor dysfunction, and too often I hear from my patients that ‘Yes, I leak but surely that’s normal after having babies/when you are menopausal/ as a woman…
Leaking might be common but it is NEVER normal and there is almost always something we can do about it, without using medications or surgery.
Let’s have a look at some of the questions above:
Do you leak when you cough/ sneeze/ laugh/ run/ go from sit-stand? If you answer yes, that’s usually what we call ‘Stress Incontinence’ (and yes it can be stressful!) This is an issue that responds REALLY well to pelvic floor training, improving bowel health and avoiding constipation (more on this in a future post!)
How often do you urinate? If it’s more than once every two hours, we need to talk…
Do you have any pain with urination? This is never normal and needs to be checked out – it could be a UTI or it could be overly tight pelvic floor muscles. Either way, it needs following up with your healthcare professional. PAIN IS NEVER NORMAL AND ALWAYS NEEDS TO GET CHECKED OUT! (sorry for the shouty capitals!)
Any blood in the urine? Again, blood in the urine is another of those issue that needs to get checked out to rule out infection, injury or anything sinister
Do you have any urinary urgency? Does the urge to urinate hit you hard and fast? Do you ever get the urge and not make it to the bathroom on time? This is what we refer to as urgency incontinence, or sometimes as ‘Overactive Bladder’ or ‘Detrusor Instability’ (the detrusor is the muscle in the wall of your bladder – it contracts to empty your bladder – but sometimes it does it when its not supposed to…)
Do you ever not make it to the toilet on time? This is not normal and really, despite the happy women dancing in the incontinence ads talking about their ‘sensitive bladders’, it’s really not an acceptable way to live. Pads can be great in giving you confidence and they are really useful for your journey towards pelvic health but they really aren’t a long term solution. Understanding your body and giving it the help it needs to get to bladder control is what I do. It’s what I want to help you do. Still not motivated? Let me just point out that incontinence is the second most common reason for admission to a nursing home….
Do you feel like you empty your bladder completely? When you sit down to urinate, and you think you’ve done so you stand up…do you ever feel that you might need to sit back down again and empty some more? This could be due to some pelvic organ descent or prolapse – again, this is something that can be dealt with – no need to panic!!
In upcoming blog posts, I’ll explore a bit more about how your bladder and pelvic floor muscles work together and what we can do to improve function!
Thanks for reading, and please do feel free to share with any woman you know who may have questions about bladder health.