Archive for the ‘Bladder spasms’ Category

A Balloon In The Bladder-A New Treatment For Incontinence

June 18, 2014

Laughter is the best medicine; but not for overactive bladder! This is a common condition affecting 15 million American men and women. Now a new novel treatment that does not require surgery is currently undergoing clinical studies in the United States in order to achieve FDA approval.

Stress urinary incontinence or loss of urine with coughing, sneezing, laughing, or even bending over to tie your shoes is the most prevalent form of incontinence among women, affects an estimated 140 million women worldwide. SUI is defined as the inability of the bladder to store urine during normal everyday physical activities without sudden increases in bladder pressure.

The Solace Bladder Control System is a non-surgical alternative to involuntary urinary leakage. The Solace Bladder Control Balloon is a small, lightweight device that floats within the urinary bladder. The balloon is designed to eliminate or reduce involuntary urinary leakage. It acts as a “shock absorber” to reduce the temporary pressure changes in the bladder that cause urinary leakage.

The Solace Bladder Control Balloon procedure is performed in the physician’s office. No medication or preparation is required before the procedure. The physician places the Solace Bladder Control Balloon into the bladder through a small tube inserted into the bladder under a local anesthetic. Pressure reduction is immediate. The balloon can be removed at any time.

For more information on the Bladder Control Balloon go to http://www.stopsui.com.

Bottom Line: Incontinence is a common condition that affects millions of American men and women. At the present time there is no medication to treat this problem. The Bladder Control Balloon may be a treatment option.

Advertisements

10 Reasons That Sex Contributes to Good Health

June 1, 2014

On so many occasions many of my male and female patients have indicated that as they reach middle age, that sexual intimacy has taken a back seat and is less important than it was years ago. For this blog, I would like to illuminate 10 reasons to take the sex drive off the back shelf and put it on the front burner. Both you and your partner will be glad you did.
Sex not only feels good. It can also be good for you. Here’s what a healthy sex life can do for you.
1. Revs Up Your Immune System Humming
Sexually active people miss fewer days of work and make fewer visits to the doctor.
People who have sex have higher levels of what defends your body against germs, viruses, and other foreign substances. Researchers found that those men and women who had sex once or twice a week had higher levels of the a certain antibody compared to those who had sex less often.
You should still do all the other things that make your immune system happy, such as:
Eat right.
Stay active.
Get enough sleep.
Keep up with your vaccinations.
Use a condom if you don’t know you and your partner’s STD status.
2. Boosts Your Libido
Having sex will make sex better and will improve your libido.
For women, having sex increases vaginal lubrication, blood flow to the pelvis, and elasticity of the vagina, all of which make sex feel better and help you crave more of it.
3. Improves Women’s Bladder Control
A strong pelvic floor is important for avoiding incontinence, involuntary loss of urine, something that will affect about 30% of women at some point in their lives.
Good sex is like a workout for your pelvic floor muscles. When you have an orgasm, it causes contractions in those muscles, which strengthens them.
4. Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Research suggests a link between sex and lower blood pressure. Numerous studies have reported that sexual intercourse lowered systolic blood pressure, the first or top number on your blood pressure test.
5. Counts as Exercise
Sex is a really great form of aerobic exercise. It won’t replace the treadmill, but it counts for a short cardio workout.
Sex uses about five calories per minute, four more calories than watching TV! It bumps up your heart rate.
So get busy! You may even want to clear your schedule to make time for it on a regular basis. Consistency or regular sex helps maximize the benefits.
6. Lowers Heart Attack Risk
A good sex life is good for your heart. Besides being a great way to raise your heart rate and provide you with a cardio workout more fun than spinning, sex helps keep your estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men in balance.
When either one of those is low you begin to get lots of problems, like osteoporosis and even heart disease.
Having sex more often may help. During one study, men who had sex at least twice a week were half as likely to die of heart disease than the less sexually active men who had sex rarely.
7. Lessens Pain
Before you reach for an aspirin, ibuprofen or a pain pill, try an orgasm.
An orgasm can block pain by releasing endorphins which are much more powerful than morphine. Orgasm releases endorphins that helps raise your pain threshold.
Stimulation without orgasm can also be effective. Vaginal stimulation can block chronic back and leg pain, and many women report that genital self-stimulation can reduce menstrual cramps, arthritic pain, and in some cases even headache.
8. Send Big “C” Out To Sea
Going for the sexual homerun or orgasm may help ward off prostate cancer.
The prestigious the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that men who ejaculated frequently (at least 21 times a month) were less likely to get prostate cancer.
You don’t need a partner to reap this benefit: Sexual intercourse, nocturnal emission, and masturbation were all part of the equation.
9. Improves Sleep
You may nod off more quickly after sex, and for good reason.
After orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released, which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness after sex.
10. Eases Stress
Being close to your partner can soothe stress and anxiety.
Even touching and hugging can release your body’s natural feel-good hormones. Sexual arousal releases a brain chemical that revs up your brain’s pleasure and reward system.
Sex and intimacy can boost your self-esteem and happiness, too,
Bottom Line: Who would have “thunk” that sex is good for you and can help keep you healthy and well. As my wise Jewish mother, St. Sara, would say, “It may not help but it voidn’t hoit!” Rest in peace St. Sara.

When You Gotta Go-Putting a Handle On Overactive Bladder

August 27, 2011

As many as one in four adult women experience episodes of urine leaking involuntarily, according to the National Association for Continence. And about 17% of women and 16% of men have continuing problems with overactive bladder (OAB).
If you have OAB, you know how difficult and embarrassing it can be to manage your overactive bladder at work. How can you keep things dry and professional? Many experts will advise you to try behavioral therapy, and if that fails, seek medical or surgical treatment. All that can take time. Here are some tips to help you manage OAB at the office, at the shop, and on the road.
1. Don’t dehydrate yourself at work.
You may think you should restrict beverages so you’ll urinate less, but fluid restriction can be counterproductive.
Cutting back on your fluid consumption results in a dark colored urine which is highly concentrated; this actually acts as a bladder irritant.
2. Keep on schedule.
Scheduled fluid intake and urination are the keys to managing OAB. If you know you’ll have a big presentation at noon, stop drinking fluids at about 11 a.m., and then take a bathroom break right before your big appearance.
3. Know where the restrooms are located.
Familiarize yourself with all the restrooms on your floor, especially when you’re on a visit to a different office or at a conference. This is often called “toilet mapping” and can increase your security when you know exactly where the restrooms are.
4. Give yourself an exit.
The power spot at most work meeting is at the front of the room. But if you have an overactive bladder, sit in the back of the room and at the end of the aisle for presentations.
5. Know your triggers.
Stay away from obvious OAB triggers in work situations — coffee and anything else with caffeine, acidic drinks like orange juice, chocolate, and spicy foods.
6. Plan your travels.
Choose airline seats ahead of time if at all possible so that you can have an aisle seat near the restroom.
7. Make friends when traveling.
Solicit help from flight attendants when traveling. For example, explain your situation, and ask if they can let you know ahead of time when the seat belt light is about to come on so you can go to the bathroom first.
8. Involve your boss.
Most supervisors will be reasonable about scheduling regular bathroom breaks.
I can assure that doctors who treat patients with OAB will write letters confirming the condition so that the boss doesn’t think it’s just an excuse to get another break.
9. Kegel-keep squeezing
The pelvic floor contractions called Kegels are a great way to keep your bladder muscles strong in general, and you can do them without people noticing.
Even if you haven’t been doing Kegels regularly, if the urge to urinate hits, a quick series of pelvic floor contractions can sometimes abate that sensation until you can get to the bathroom.
See my article on Kegels at http://www.neilbaum.com/kegel-exercises-for-men.html
10. Don’t fear the pad.
If you know you’re going to be having a horribly hectic day, wear a pad or other protective undergarment that day. For men, there are “condom catheter” devices, that can collect urine until you can change. Condom catheters allows a little more control so that in the worst-case situation, you’re not going to have a visible accident.
11. Get help!
You don’t have to live with overactive bladder, at work or at home. People wait an average of seven years before seeking professional help for continence issues, but there’s no need to suffer in silence.
Bottom Line: The overactive bladder can be tamed. Start with your family physician. Your doctor may refer you to a urologist or urogynecologist, who can discuss your options for medication, behavioral therapies, or surgery.

This article was excerpted from 11 Ways to Manage OAB at Work

By Gina Shaw
http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/america-asks-11/oab-work

Want To Tame That Overactive Bladder? Here’s 10 Food Groups to Avoid

June 20, 2011

1. Avoid citrus juices like oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple

These fruits are highly acidic and irritate the bladder.

2. Avoid Chocolate

Chocolate contains caffeine, a substance that irritates the bladder.

3. Avoid: Caffeine containing beverages such as Coffee and black tea

Caffeine is a diuretic, which causes you to urinate more often, and the caffeine stimulates the bladder. Even decaf versions have this effect. That’s because decaffeinated coffee and tea are seldom caffeine-free.  Herbal teas are without caffeine and are not bladder irritating.

4. Avoid: Hot sauce, chili peppers, wasabi

Spicy nachos, hot peppers, jambalaya, kabobs, and curries are significant bladder irritants.

5. Avoid: Sugar and honey

Sugars tend to stimulate the bladder. Know that for some people, even artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame) are bladder irritants.  Good news: Stevia is a natural sweetener that does not irritate the bladder.

6. Avoid Tomatoes

Tomatoes, like citrus fruits, are acidic; hence their bladder-irritating quality.

7. Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol interferes with brain signals that tell you when to “go.” It’s also a dehydrator and a diuretic that makes you need to go to the bathroom more.

8. Avoid milk and cheese

Different dairy products tend to affect people differently. For some, all dairy is a bladder-baddie. Others are bothered only by very rich and creamy milk products, such as cream cheese, sour cream, or aged cheeses.

9. Avoid Energy drinks

These drinks are very high in caffeine, which bothers the bladder.

10. Avoid Carbonated Drinks

Quenching your thirst with a carbonated beverage (colas, other flavors, fizzy water, seltzer) is counterproductive if you have an overactive bladder. The carbonation is a bladder trigger, an effect that’s intensified if the drink also contains caffeine. You may consider drinking straight water or one of the flavored vitamin waters.

Now I’ve told you what to avoid.  How about what to add to your diet?  Numero Uno is good, ol’ water.   If you drink too little (fewer than about eight cups a day), urine becomes concentrated, which can cause even more bladder irritation.

Bottom Line: There are so many foods and fluids that cause bladder irritability.  I suggest you look at your diet and see if you are consuming too many of these foods and fluids that exacerbate your condition.  Your bladder will thank you!

Menopause and Bladder Control

May 4, 2010

Some women begin to have problems with their bladder and experience overactive bladder (gotta go, gotta go right now) and urinary incontinence or loss of urine at inopportune times at the time or shortly after menopause.

Does Menopause Affect Bladder Control?

Yes. Some women have bladder control problems after they stop having periods (menopause or change of life). If you are going through menopause, talk to your health care team.

After your periods end, your body stops making the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen may help keep the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy. A lack of estrogen could contribute to weakness of the bladder control muscles.

Pressure from coughing, sneezing or lifting can push urine through the weakened muscle. This kind of leakage is called stress incontinence.

Although there is no evidence that taking estrogen improves bladder control in women who have gone through menopause, small does may help thicken the bladder lining and decrease the incontinence.  Your doctor can suggest many other possible treatments to improve bladder control.

What Else Causes Bladder Control Problems in Older Women?

Sometimes bladder control problems are caused by other medical conditions. These problems include:

Infections

Nerve damage from diabetes or stroke

Heart problems

Medicines

Feeling depressed

Difficulty walking or moving

A very common kind of bladder control problem for older women is urge incontinence. This means the bladder muscles squeeze at the wrong time and cause leaks.

If you have this problem, your doctor can prescribe medication that can certainly alleviate that problem.

What Treatments Can Help You Regain Bladder Control?

Your doctor may recommend limiting foods or fluids, such as caffeine, which are bladder irritants and increase the desire to go the rest room.

There are also pelvic exercises that can strengthen the muscles in the urethra and the vagina.   Life’s events like childbirth and being overweight, can weaken the pelvic muscles.

Pelvic floor muscles are just like other muscles. Exercise can make them stronger. Women with bladder control problems can regain control through pelvic muscle exercises, also called Kegel exercises.

Exercising your pelvic floor muscles for just five minutes, three times a day can make a big difference to your bladder control. Exercise strengthens muscles that hold the bladder and many other organs in place.

Two pelvic muscles do most of the work. The biggest one stretches like a hammock. The other is shaped like a triangle. Both muscles prevent leaking of urine and stool.

Pelvic exercises begin with contracting the two major muscles that stretch across your pelvic floor. There are three methods to check for the correct muscles.

1.     Try to stop the flow of urine when you are sitting on the toilet. If you can do it, you are using the right muscles

2.     Imagine that you are trying to stop passing gas. Squeeze those same muscles you would use.

3.     Lie down and put your index finger inside your vagina. Squeeze as if you were trying to stop urine from coming out. If you feel tightness on your finger, you are squeezing the right pelvic muscle.

Do your pelvic exercises at least three times a day. You can exercise while lying on the floor, sitting at a desk or standing in the kitchen.

Be patient. Don’t give up. It’s just five minutes, three times a day. You may not feel your bladder control improve until after three to six weeks. Still, most women do notice an improvement after a few weeks.

Other treatments include inserting a device, a pessary, directly into the vagina to lift the urethra and the base of the bladder to its proper position behind the pubic bone.  And finally, if the conservative methods of medication, exercises, and dietary modification don’t work, then you should talk to your doctor about one of the surgical procedures that can lift the bladder into the proper position to prevent leakage

Bottom Line: No one needs to suffer the embarrassment of urinary incontinence.  Help is available for all those women who have bladder control problems

Urinary Tract Infections in Women-Taking the Burn Out of Urine

May 3, 2010

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are a serious health problem affecting 8.3 million Americans each year. 53% of all women have had at least one urinary tract infection during their lifetimes. Many women suffer from frequent UTIs. Nearly 20 percent of women who have one UTI will have another infection. This article will cover the causes, symptoms, and treatment of UTIs in women.

What are the causes of UTI?

Most infections arise from bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. coli), which normally lives in the colon. These bacteria gain access to the urinary tract through the urethra or the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

An infection limited to the urethra is called urethritis. If bacteria move to

the bladder and multiply, a bladder infection, called cystitis, results. If the infection is not treated promptly, bacteria may then travel to the kidneys. A kidney infection is called pyelonephritis.

Microorganisms called Chlamydia and Mycoplasma may also cause UTIs in women, but these infections tend to remain limited to the urethra and reproductive system. Unlike E. coli, Chlamydia and Mycoplasma may be sexually transmitted, and infections require treatment of both partners.

Who is at risk?

In women the rate of UTIs gradually increases with age. Scientists are not sure why women have more urinary infections than men. One factor may be that a woman’s urethra is short, allowing bacteria quick access to the bladder. Also, a woman’s urethral opening is near sources of bacteria in the anus and the vagina. For many women, sexual intercourse seems to trigger an infection, although the reasons for this linkage are unclear.

Some women are more prone to getting a UTI than others. Women with diabetes have a higher risk of a UTI because of changes in the immune system. Any other disorder that suppresses the immune system raises the risk of a urinary infection.

According to several studies, women who use a diaphragm are more likely to develop a UTI than women who use other forms of birth control. Recently, researchers found that women whose partners use a condom with spermicidal foam also tend to have growth of E. coli bacteria in the vagina.

What are the symptoms of UTI?

The most common symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate and a painful, burning feeling in the area of the bladder or urethra during urination. It is not unusual to feel bad all over-tired, shaky, washed out-and to feel pain even when not urinating. Often women feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone. The urine itself may look milky or cloudy, even reddish if blood is present. Normally, a UTI does not cause fever if it is in the bladder or urethra. A fever may mean that the infection has reached the kidneys. Other symptoms of a kidney infection include pain in the back or side below the ribs, nausea, or vomiting.

How is UTI diagnosed?

To find out whether you have a UTI, your doctor will test a sample of urine for pus and bacteria. In the urinalysis test, the urine is examined for white and red blood cells and bacteria. Then the bacteria are grown in a culture and tested against different antibiotics to see which drug best destroys the bacteria.

How is UTI treated?

UTIs are treated with antibiotic medications. The choice of drug and length of treatment depend on the patient’s history and the urine tests that identify the offending bacteria. The sensitivity test is especially useful in helping the doctor select the most effective drug. The drugs most often used to treat routine, uncomplicated UTIs are trimethoprim (Trimpex), trimethoprimlsulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, Cotrim), amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox, Wymox), nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin), and ampicillin (Omnipen, Polycillin, Principen, Totacillin). A class of drugs called quinolones includes four drugs approved in recent years for treating UTI. These drugs include ofloxacin (Floxin), norfloxacin (Noroxin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), and trovafloxin (Trovan).

Often, a UTI can be cured with I or 2 days of treatment if the infection is not complicated by an obstruction or other disorder. Many doctors ask their patients to take antibiotics for a week or two to ensure that the infection has been cured. Most doctors suggest that drinking plenty of water helps cleanse the urinary tract of bacteria. During treatment, it is best to avoid coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods.

Recurrent Infections in Women

Women who have had three UTIs are likely to continue having them. Four out of five such women get another within 18 months of the last UTI. Many women have them even more often. A woman who has frequent recurrences (three or more a year) can take low doses of an antibiotic such as TMP/SMZ or nitrofurantoin daily for 6 months or longer. If taken at bedtime, the drug remains in the bladder longer and may be more effective.

Additional steps that a woman can take on her own to avoid an infection:

I. Drink plenty of water every day.

  1. Urinate when you feel the need; don’t resist the urge to urinate.
  2. Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria around the anus from entering the vagina or urethra.
  3. Take showers instead of tub baths and avoid bubble baths.
  4. Cleanse the genital area before sexual intercourse.
  5. Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches, which may irritate the urethra.
  6. Use cotton underwear as synthetics will trap bacteria.

Bottom line: UTIs are one of the most common infections occurring in women. The diagnosis is easily made and most women can be cured with a single course of antibiotics. Others need low-dose daily medication to control their infections.

A Kegel A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

April 22, 2010

Mary Ann is a 45-year old woman who loses urine (incontinence) when she coughs and sneezes.  She is provided with exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles of her bladder. She does the exercises every day for 12 weeks and has significant improvement in her urinary symptoms.

There are many conditions that put stress on your pelvic floor muscles such as childbirth through vaginal deliveries, obesity, chronic coughing, and after menopause when there is a deficiency of estrogen or the female hormone produced in the ovaries.

When your pelvic floor muscles weaken, your pelvic organs descend and bulge into your vagina, a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse. The effects of pelvic organ prolapse range from uncomfortable pelvic pressure to leakage of urine or feces. Fortunately, Kegel exercises can strengthen pelvic muscles and delay or maybe even prevent pelvic organ prolapse.

How to perform Kegel exercises

It takes diligence to identify your pelvic floor muscles and learn how to contract and relax them. You can learn to identify the proper pelvic muscles by trying to stop the flow of urine while you’re going to the bathroom.

If you’re having trouble finding the right muscles, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Your doctor can give you important feedback so that you learn to isolate and exercise the correct muscles.

After you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold the contraction for three seconds then relax for three seconds.  Repeat this exercise 10 times.  After you have learned how to contract the pelvic muscles for 3 seconds, work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.  Perform a set of 10 Kegel exercises three times a day. The exercises will get easier the more often you do them. You might make a practice of fitting in a set every time you do a routine task, such as sitting at a red light.

For those women who have trouble doing Kegel exercises, biofeedback training or electrical stimulation may help. In a biofeedback session, a nurse, therapist or technician will either insert a small monitoring probe into your vagina or place adhesive electrodes on the skin outside your vagina or rectal area. When you contract your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll see a measurement on a monitor that lets you know whether you’ve successfully contracted the right muscles. You’ll also be able to see how long you hold the contraction.

Results are not immediate or the first time you do the exercises.  You can expect to see some results, such as less frequent urine leakage, within about eight to 12 weeks. Your improvement may be dramatic — or, at the very least, you may keep your problems from worsening. As with other forms of physical activity, you need to make Kegel exercises a lifelong practice to reap lifelong rewards.

An added bonus: Kegel exercises may be helpful for women who have persistent problems reaching orgasm.

Bottom Line:  Many women have a problem of loss of urine with coughing and sneezing.  Kegel exercises are effective for very mild urinary incontinence.  It’s inexpensive, does not require use of medication, and if you are patient, it does, indeed, work.

Cystitis-How To Leave Home Without It

April 13, 2010

What does sex, bubble bath and thongs have in common?  Answer: They may all be causes of cystitis.  If you are a woman who has ever suffered from cystitis then you will know just how debilitating and miserable it can be, you you can perhaps take comfort from the fact that you are far from alone.  It seems that at last 20% of women have had an attack at some point in their lives, and 20% of those will get more than one episode a year.

There is certainly no mistaking the feeling it brings, which usually starts with a strong sensation of needing to urinate.  When you try to go, it either burns horribly, or nothing seems to come out.  You may have a full, uncomfortable sensation in the bladder, plus an aching back and stomach and a general feeling of being unwell.  The most common cause is an infection caused by bacteria.  It isn’t only a female problem but far more common in women than men.  The reason is that the internal plumbing of women is much shorter than in a man and the relationship of the rectum which is usually the source of the bacteria is closer to the urinary tract in women than in men.

A bacteria, called E. Coli, is usually the culprit.  Since E. Coli coming from the rectum can reside in the vagina and then can have easy access to the urethra or the tube that transmits urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.  This is why it is beneficial for women to wipe from front to back when they use the restroom.  If you swipe the wrong way, you can move the bugs from the rectum into the vagina and then into the urethra.  Another recommendation is to switch from nylon or synthetic underwear to the cooler cotton briefs which discourage the growth of bacteria.  Also, thongs and G strings may be very sexy but they are bad news for cystitis sufferers as the string is an effective way for bacteria to hitch a ride from your bottom to your bladder.

Another suggestion is to change the bacterial flora of the gastrointestinal tract.  This can be accomplished by regularly eating yoghurt which contains the good bacteria lactobacillus or acidophilus.

It is also crucial to drink large quantities of water to flush away any bacteria.  Also, it is recommended that sufferers of frequent cystitis go the toilet when you first feel the urge.  The longer you hold in urine, the fuller your bladder is, with more potential for bacteria to grow and proliferate.  Using bubble baths or irritating soaps around the vagina should also be avoided as these agents can upset the delicate balance of acidity and alkalinity in your skin so that bacteria can flourish.

It also appears that sexual intercourse, promotes moving bacteria from the vagina into the urethra.  This then starts the process of bacterial multiplication in the bladder and creates the symptoms of cystitis.  Therefore, it is important for women who get cystitis after intercourse to urinate frequently after sexual intimacy to wash the bacteria out of the urethra so they don’t become permanent residents and create an infection.

For years doctors have recommended cranberries of a method to reduce the attacks of recurrent cystitis.  Initially, it was thought that the cranberries were a source of acid and this prevented cystitis.  Now research has shown that the cranberries contain chemicals that help stop the bacteria from sticking onto the bladder wall.  Because cranberry juice can be quite high in sugar, you might prefer to take one of the cranberry supplements that are available.

Beating back an attack

The first practical step is to consume 2 glasses of water every 20 minutes for the first three hours.  This will help you ladder to flush itself out, and sometimes is enough on it s own to prevent further problems.  If not, gulp down a few glasses of cranberry juice.  Sipping a glass of water with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda stirred into it may help the burning sensation when you urinate.

If these simple measures don’t relieve your symptoms in a day or two, you may need to see your doctor and take a short course of antibiotics.  Failure to treat the infection can result in a much more serious kidney infection.  Also, if you have more than 3-4 infections in a 12 month period you will want to see your doctor to be sure there isn’t something else more ominous causing these infections.

Self Care for Women With Urinary Incontinence

March 30, 2010

Incontinence is a condition that results in the involuntary loss of urine without the owners’ permission. It is a condition that affects millions of American men and women. There are many changes that occur in the human body as we get older. Like many other bodily system, the urinary tract undergoes changes with age. These changes make middle age and older men and women more likely to become incontinent of urine as they grow older. It is important to remember that incontinence is not a necessary part of the aging process but it is more common in older men and women. There are a number of actions that women can take to decrease or even limit this embarrassing situation.

The skin around the outside of the vagina in women is called the “vulva”. This area includes the skin around the urethra and the vaginal “lips” or labia. Frequently, in incontinent women this area is red, raw, and sore from urine irritating the skin. If this is a problem for women, these tips may help make women more comfortable and avoid irritation of the bladder, urethra, and surrounding skin.

  • Women who are incontinent should wear cotton underwear instead of underwear made of synthetic material such as nylon. I also suggest that women do not wear synthetic pantyhose, especially not under pants or jeans. Women will also find that the underwear will be less irritating to the vulva if the underwear is washed in pure soap or soap flakes and not in harsh detergents or with the addition of fabric softeners. I suggest that women wash the vulvar area no more than twice a day, using only plan water or mild soap such as Ivory or Dove.
  • Women who are incontinent should avoid bath oils, bubble baths or bath salts. All of these can be very irritating to the already sensitive skin of the vulva. Vaginal deodorants or douches should also be avoided. Tampons should not be used as they may irritate the bladder and the urethra.
  • After bathing, the vulvar area should be gently dried with a towel, and then use a hair dryer on cool or low setting to dry the vulva completely.
  • If you need a powder to help keep the vulvar area dry, I suggest using ordinary cornstarch and not talcum powder.
  • Finally, try drinking pure water as much as possible and avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and cola beverages. Avoid alcohol especially in excess as alcohol may irritate the bladder and the urethra.

Nearly every woman with incontinence can be helped and most can be cured. If this is a problem that is affecting your quality of life, I suggest you contact your physician.

Urinary Incontinence-What It Is and What Can Be Done

March 30, 2010

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the uncontrollable and involuntary loss of urine that affects more than 10 million Americans. Incontinence can be very embarrassing as it can interfere with a normal, full life. Fortunately, today something can be done about it and in most instances it can be cured completely.

What are the types of incontinence?

There are three common categories of urinary incontinence. These are stress incontinence, overflow incontinence, and urge incontinence. Although all people with incontinence experience a loss of bladder control, each type of incontinence has its own pattern of signs and symptoms. People with stress incontinence leak urine when they cough, sneeze, or laugh. They may be dry at night but leak upon getting up from the bed in the morning. People with urge incontinence wet themselves if they don’t get to the bathroom immediately. They get up frequently during the night to urinate. They go to the bathroom constantly. They may wet the bed at night. People with overflow incontinence take a long time to urinate and have a weak, dribbling stream with no force. They dribble small amounts of urine throughout the day and night.

What causes incontinence?

Stress incontinence is due to the loss of the support from the pelvic floor muscles. Commonly the pelvic organs bladder and uterus slip down into the vagina (vaginal prolapse). Overflow incontinence is to either a narrowing of the tube (the urethra) that allows the urine to exit from the body or inability of the bladder muscle to contract and expel the urine from the bladder. Urge incontinence can be a result of bladder irritability such as a urinary tract infection or to neurologic problems in the brain or spinal cord.

How is the diagnosis of urinary incontinence made?

An accurate diagnosis is the essential first step in the treatment of incontinence. The evaluation consists of a medical history followed by a thorough physical exam that includes a pelvic exam and a rectal exam. Certain diagnostic tests such as a urinalysis, urine culture, cystometrogram (bladder pressure test) and cystoscopy (inspection of the bladder with a small lighted tube) are usually required to complete the diagnostic evaluation.

What is the treatment for urinary incontinence?

The treatment for stress incontinence depends on the degree of anatomical abnormality. In mild cases pelvic exercises and/or medication may be all that’s needed. However, in more severe cases surgery is the best treatment. The treatment for overflow incontinence may be alleviated with medication or intermittent self-catheterization to drain out the urine. Surgery may be required when the cause is a narrowed urethra or a nerve problem. The treatment of urge incontinence consists of antibiotic medication to treat the infection or medication to relax the irritated bladder.

Summary

Urinary incontinence shouldn’t take over your life. It is almost always treatable, and often completely curable. Working as a team, we can put you back in control of your bladder and your life. That means you’ll be free-free to get a night of uninterrupted sleep, to travel comfortably, to be as active as you want to be. Instead of worrying about embarrassing accidents, you’ll be able to do the things you most enjoy.