Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment of Bladder Problems and Urinary Incontinence in Women
Bladder problems are very common. Around 1 in 3 women suffer from incontinence (leakage of urine) at some stage in their life.
- Leaking urine when laughing, coughing or sneezing
- Lack of bladder control (needing to rush to the toilet / know exactly where toilets are in any given moment, known as ‘toilet mapping’)
- The urge to pass urine too often
- The urge to pass urine frequently in the night
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Frequent urine infections
- Pain on passing urine
Bladder problems can be extremely embarrassing and have a major impact on a woman’s life. Women are therefore often understandably reluctant to discuss these problems with a doctor. We offer a sympathetic approach to this sensitive and upsetting problem. There is also sensitive advice available at the Bladder and Bowel Foundation.The management of bladder problems starts with a consultation and gentle examination. Sometimes we ask women to complete a ‘bladder diary’ in addition to urine testing. Sometimes it may be necessary to perform a urodynamics test (a test to assess bladder functioning) or cystoscopy (a camera to check the inside of the bladder) to determine the exact nature of the problem.
Depending on the diagnosis, bladder problems can often improve with simple lifestyle changes and targeted pelvic floor exercises. For others, medication may help; injections below the bladder neck (see Urethral Bulking Innovation) may be appropriate, or continence surgery such as the insertion of tapes.