Giving birth to three big boys caused my bladder to leak. I found myself peeing a little when doing certain activities, like exercising and running. I knew something wasn’t right, and those leaks were such an inconvenience. So, I decided to go through a tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) procedure to fix it.
TVT is one of the many urinary incontinence treatments (which we’ll talk about later) that delivers amazing results! I’m glad I did it!
A lot of women experience incontinence during the menopausal stage. In fact, around 45% of menopausal women suffer from this condition, but most of them would rather keep the problem to themselves because of embarrassment. Some also think that surgery is the only solution. They often wait for a long time until they bring up the topic with their family, close friends or health provider.
If you are like these women, now is the best time to talk about your incontinence. Having a leaky bladder is treatable! There are a lot of urinary incontinence treatments that can help you regain full control of your bladder and bring your confidence back.
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is a condition where a person experiences involuntary loss of urine. It means you urinate even when you don’t want to. It is more common in women than in men, and older women experience it more often than younger women. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and the structure of our urinary tract are the main reasons why this condition is more common in women.
If you have urinary incontinence, you may find yourself leaking a small amount of urine when you laugh or exercise. In worse case, you may release a lot of urine before you make it to the toilet. Urinary incontinence can be very inconvenient and can affect your daily life. Here are the three common types of urinary incontinence:
This is the most common type of urinary incontinence. If you have stress incontinence, you may leak when lifting heavy objects, sneezing, coughing or even laughing too hard. Anything that puts pressure on your bladder causes you to leak urine. Some women may be able to hold their urine halfway through the leak, with some fluids already trickled out. Some don’t have the same amount of control and they just feel their urine gushing out.
Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles in the urethra and bladder become weak. Without enough support, the muscles lose its ability to contract. Thus, it cannot start and stop the flow of urine, resulting to leakage.
This type of incontinence occurs when you have a sudden urge to urinate and release urine all at once. It happens when the muscles that control your bladder begin to contract abnormally. It is sometimes called an overactive bladder, bladder spasms and irritable bladder. With this type, you have very active bladder muscles and the bladder somehow always feels distended or full.
Urge Incontinence stimulates the feeling of urination even if your bladder does not have urine to release yet. Sometimes you may not even make it to the toilet in time. Waking up throughout the night to urinate is another sign of urge incontinence.
This condition happens when your bladder is unable to release all urine completely, leaving small amounts of urine to stay inside every time. Eventually, your bladder will become too full and it will overflow, causing you to leak out unexpectedly. With overflow incontinence, you’ll experience frequent dribbling of urine during the day. You may even wet the bed at night.
Overflow incontinence makes your bladder contract irregularly. You often feel like urinating but have trouble starting and fully emptying your bladder.
Why Do I Have a Leaky Bladder?
Normally, the muscles in the bladder work together with the pelvic nerves to control urination. The pelvic nerves can sense when the bladder is already full of urine. The pelvic muscles in your urethra is responsible for holding in the fluids until you are safe to pee in the bathroom. What happens with incontinence in women is that the pelvic floor weakens because of physical problems or underlying medical conditions.
Some women experience incontinence after giving birth, like me.
Childbirth can weaken our pelvic floor muscles, which result to overactive bladder. A leaky bladder worsens for women who have multiple deliveries. This is especially true for women who have delivered large babies, or if they had a long period of pushing during delivery. If assisted delivery was performed, especially using forceps, it will also increase the possibility of incontinence. Use of forceps can damage the nerves that control our bladder.
Why does menopause make your bladder weaker?
According to experts, urinary incontinence is highly associated with menopause. Estrogen plays a role in the health of our organs and tissues, such as our pelvic muscles and urinary tract. Before menopause, adequate levels of estrogen keep our pelvic and bladder tissues strong and flexible.
During menopause, our pelvic floor and bladder tissues become weak due to a drop in our estrogen. The lining of the urethra, the tube that empties urine from the bladder, starts to thin as well.
Prolapse of the pelvic organ is also one of the reasons why incontinence happens. As we get older, muscles in the pelvic region tends to weaken. As a result, the muscular support provided to the pelvic wall is lost. This causes herniation or the actual prolapse of the pelvic organs, such as the bladder and the urethra, into the vaginal canal.
What Else Can Cause Urinary Incontinence?
Menopause and childbirth aren’t the only reasons why many women encounter bladder control problems. Other factors that lead to a leaky bladder include:
Certain Food and Drinks – Alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks have a diuretic effect, which cause the body to produce more urine. Foods that are spicy and contain high levels of sugar and acid also act as diuretics.
Medications – Some of your meds may be causing your leaky bladder. High blood pressure drugs relax the bladder, letting urine flow more easily. Diuretics (aka water pills) stimulate the kidney to get rid of excess fluid. Some antidepressants and pain meds make the bladder unable to contract properly. As a result, the bladder doesn’t empty completely, leading to incontinence.
Infections – Urinary tract infection (UTI), for example, can irritate the bladder, causing sudden urges to urinate. Also, low levels of estrogen after menopause makes the urinary tract more vulnerable to infection.
Constipation – The rectum shares many of the same nerves with the bladder since they are near each other. A hard, compacted poop adds more pressure to the pelvic floor, which could lead to leaking.
Hysterectomy – Research shows that hysterectomy puts women at more risk for urinary incontinence. Any type of surgery that involves a woman’s reproductive area, such as the removal of uterus, may harm the pelvic floor – and this can result to urine leaks. Surgery scars in the pelvic region may increase the occurrence of incontinence in women too.
Overweight – Being overweight or obese puts more pressure on the bladder and surrounding muscles. This extra weight weakens the muscles and the nerves in the pelvic area, letting urine to leak out.
Other Health Conditions – Women with diabetes are more likely to experience leaky bladder. High levels of sugar in the blood can cause you to become thirstier and urinate more. Mutliple sclerosis (MS) is also another disease that causes urinary incontinence. MS damages the nerves that control your bladder functions.
Obstruction – Anything that block the normal flow of urine, like urinary stones, can cause leakage to occur.
What Can You Do to Control Urinary Incontinence?
Incontinence happens to a lot of women, especially in their later years. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to suffer from it too. There are lots of simple solutions that can stop incontinence from ruining your days as you go through menopause. Below, I share the natural urinary incontinence treatments to help you regain control of your bladder.
10 Natural and Effective Urinary Incontinence Treatments
Train your bladder One of the first non-surgical urinary incontinence treatments is bladder training. This means training your muscles to work only when they are needed. You can do this by trying to pass urine only at a specific time during the day. Make sure to schedule your bathroom visits and hold your urine until your schedule comes up. When you go longer in between bathroom visits, your bladder will stretch and can hold more.
Try out devices There are plenty of devices designed for women to fix their leaky bladder. Urethral inserts, for example, are tampon-like devices inserted into the vagina. These inserts lift and support the urethra to stop incontinence when doing certain movements, like sneezing and exercising.
One product that we found interesting is called ApexM. This astounding device stimulates the muscle through a customizable probe, which strengthens the pelvic and calms the spasm of the bladder muscle, decreasing urgency as a result. Check it out here!
You may also watch the video to see how it works. [2:17]
Jade eggs prove to be useful too! Inserting a jade egg into your vagina causes you to do an involuntary Kegel exercise, strengthening your pelvic floor in the process. There are plenty of other devices too. Check them out here!
This one here is not a device but a cream for your feminine part. The Julva cream is designed by Dr. Anna Cabeca to stop all those embarrassing urine leaks.
This anti-aging cream contains DHEA that isn’t only great for relieving vaginal dryness but also in tightening your vaginal muscles.
Did we also mention that it could enhance intimacy and boost your sex drive?
Besides DHEA, this all-natural cream is made of restorative ingredients and plant stem cells, which help fix the delicate tissues around the urethra, vagina and rectum. Curious what else can Julva cream do to your lady parts? Head over to her page
Do Kegel exercises
These are great pelvic muscle exercises that most experts recommend to relieve incontinence. Not only does it make your pelvic floor strong, it also improves your bladder control. Plus, it’s a good practice to boost your sex life!
When doing a Kegel, you contract and relax your pelvic floor muscles alternately. Practicing this repetitively helps you control your urine flow. Our article reveals all the wonderful things you can get from doing Kegel exercises. You’ll also learn the correct ways in performing it. Read it here.
If you want to know the different ways you can do Kegels, Michelle Kenway has plenty of great videos to show you. They are all practical and easy to do. Do them in the comforts of your home!
Watch what you drink
One of the most effective urinary incontinence treatments is by limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake. These beverages are said to fill the bladder a lot quicker than other types of liquids. If you avoid them, your bladder does not get too distended and you will not have to urinate frequently.
Limit liquids at night
Reducing your fluid consumption before bedtime can ease your incontinence problem. Try not to drink any liquids after dinner or two hours before bedtime. And just before you head to bed, try to urinate, even if you don’t feel like doing it. This can squeeze out the remaining urine in your bladder and give you a restful sleep.
You may think that this method sounds counterintuitive, but not drinking enough water also leads to incontinence. Without adequate amount of water in your body, you may end up constipated. As I’ve mentioned earlier, constipation adds pressure on the bladder, which causes leakage. Dehydration can also lead to urinary tract infection, another cause of incontinence. Just make sure to drink enough water during the day so you can sleep well at night.
Maintain a healthy weight
Shedding off extra weight is also one of the most effective urinary incontinence treatments. If you’re overweight, the excess fat in your belly can add pressure on your bladder and pelvic muscles. Losing weight removes such pressure and can help you gain back your bladder control.
Keeping an eye on what you eat is also essential. If you have an overactive bladder, cut back on spicy foods like chili and Mexican dishes. Spicy foods can irritate the bladder.
Change your lifestyle
Making small changes in your daily habit is also one of the best urinary incontinence treatments that deliver real results. If you are a smoker, stop it right away. Aside from the fact that smoking is bad for your lungs, it is also bad for your bladder. Studies shows that women who smoke are more likely to have a leaky bladder than those who don’t.
Keep your feminine area clean
Avoid getting infections to your urinary system as much as possible. Infections could cause temporary incontinence so you would not want that to happen. To avoid this, you have to make sure that you clean your vaginal area the right way. When you wipe, be sure to do it from front to back. This means that you wipe from the urethra down to the vagina and lastly to the anal area. Always consider wiping from the cleanest to the dirtiest.
Consider Tension-Free Vaginal Tape (TVT)
TVT is one of the most common urinary incontinence treatments to help women cure their stress incontinence. It is a suture-free surgery that you may like to consider if you want to fix your stress incontinence fast.
Studies show that TVT is one of the safest urinary incontinence treatments. TVT aims to give permanent support to your urethra and the neck of your bladder (where your bladder connects to your urethra) to fix urine leaks. Even when you cough or you move vigorously, your urethra remains closed. Thus, preventing unexpected flow of urine.
In TVT surgery, a piece of mesh is used. The mesh tape will act like a sling or hammock to keep the urethra in its normal position. Your doctor will make a small cut in the vaginal wall, under your urethra. They will also make two tiny cuts above your pubic bone. The mesh tape will then be inserted in your vagina and behind your pubic bone. The whole procedure usually takes 30 minutes to 2 hours. Your doctor will use skin glue to close the cuts, and no stitches are used to attach the sling. Over time, scar tissue forms around it to keep it in place. After the surgery, you will be asked to cough to check the efficiency of the tape.
If TVT is something you wish to consider, it’s best to speak with your doctor to find out if you’re suitable for TVT surgery.
There you have it, ten of the most natural and effective urinary incontinence treatments to put an end to your leaky bladder.
Want to understand leaky bladder better? Here’s an in-depth video [32:16] with lots of images from Dr. Christopher Tarnay. You’ll be amazed how the Blue Ridge Mountains (that is if you’ve been there) is very similar to our lady bits!
Dr. Anna Cabeca and Dr. Betsy Greenleaf, who are both passionate about women’s health, also has a good video to share. In this video [41:06], you’ll discover hard truths about incontinence and other solutions to deal with this discomfort – such as acupuncture, laser and devices.
A healthy bladder is essential to us women, so don’t let the challenges of urinary incontinence stop you from doing the things you love to do. Urinary incontinence is common but it doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Make sure to follow all the natural steps to get your bladder control back!
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