What is bladder leakage/incontinence and how to manage it?
Urinary incontinence or bladder leakage is a very common condition in which urine unintentionally leaks out of the body. In Germany, 10 million people suffer from incontinence of which more are women than men. One in every four women are affected.
What is bladder leakage?
Bladder leaks, or urinary incontinence is when urine leaks out of the body, without the intention of the person in question. There are various types of urinary incontinence or bladder leaks including1:
Stress incontinence occurs when urine is released under pressure, for example when laughing, coughing, or jumping. For women, this is the most common type of incontinence, which makes up 49% of those who are affected.
Urge incontinence occurs when you have a sudden need or urge to pee, and urine leaks out during this urge.
Overflow incontinence occurs when you are unable to completely empty your bladder which therefore causes urine to frequently leak.
Total incontinence occurs when your bladder is unable to store any urine at all which causes constant or frequent urine leakage.
What causes bladder leakage?
Generally, stress bladder leakage or stress incontinence occurs when there is a weakening or a damage to the muscles use to retain urine, such as the pelvic floor or urethral sphincter.
Urge incontinence or urge bladder leakage is generally caused by overactivity of the detrusor muscles which control the bladder.
Overflow incontinence or overflow bladder leaks is usually caused by an obstruction of the bladder which presents it from fully emptying.
Total incontinence or total bladder leaking occurs from a problem which causes a hole that forms between the bladder and the nearby fistula.
There are general things that can increase the chance of urinary incontinence such as pregnancy and vaginal birth, obesity, family history of incontinence and increasing age.
How do you stop bladder leakage?
Firstly, if you have any concerns regarding bladder leakage we recommend reaching out to your doctor. However, there are many tips that are commonly reported which can significantly help bladder leakage or urinary incontinence.
1. Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises, which are also known as kegel exercises, can be done to train the pelvic floor muscles which can give you more control over your bladder to improve or even stop bladder leakage. The more you do them, the stronger the muscles will be.
For those of you in Germany we can recommend valana.life as they offer a personal training program which is tailored to your needs and concerns. There are also many other resources available through google or youtube which can get you started.
If you are looking for another method, you can invest in a pelvic floor trainer such as Elvie. It is a product which is assists in your training and makes it interactive as it is inserted and when you squeeze and train your pelvic floor it monitors your exercise through the app on your smartphone (note: this specific product is specifically designed for women).
2. Lifestyle Changes
There are some lifestyle changes that can be made which can significantly help issues with bladder control. Firstly, excess weight can release pressure on the bladder, which can cause an overactive bladder. Moreover, being overweight can decrease blood flow and nerve activity which can lead to issues with bladder control.
Secondly, cutting down on caffeine and alcohol can help reduce issues with bladder control. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means that you’ll produce proportionately more urine after consumption of either of these drinks. By reducing your consumption, you can help reduce the amount of urine you expel per day and reduce some of the pressure on the bladder.
Lastly, if you are a smoker, it is worth quitting to see if this has a positive impact on your bladder control. When smoke enters the body, the toxins are collected and leave the body through the urinary tract. These toxins can irritate the bladder which can cause more frequent urination. Moreover, smoking can initiate coughing, which for people who suffer from stress incontinence, can further provoke bladder issues.
3. Bladder training
Bladder training can be effective in treating urinary incontinence by increasing the amount of time between emptying the bladder and how much liquid the bladder can hold. It is often used to change urination habits. It is mostly successful in treating stress incontinence and urge incontinence. As above, kegel exercises is one big part of bladder training, but there are also other methods. One is to delay your urination when you feel an urge. When you feel an urge coming, see if you can wait 2, 5, or 10 minutes more. Continue to slowly increase this each time you need to go. You can also make use of mindfulness or meditation methods to help you to increase the time between needing to urinate and urinating. Another method is to schedule your bathroom trips. For example, plan to go to the toilet every hour and set an alarm. Then over time, gradually increase the time between the toilet trips and adjust the alarm to slowly train the bladder to hold it in for longer.
What are bladder leak underwear?
There are many products which can be used for bladder leaks or incontinence. Some examples are incontinence pads or pants, which are essentially adult sized diapers. These can be rather thick, they tend to make noises when you walk and they are one time use products which are then not environmentally friendly.
Bladder leak underwear offer a sustainable solution to light incontinence and bladder leaks as they are washable and thus reusable. Made up of 4 different layers, dais bladder leak underwear are designed to hold up to 50ml of urine and can therefore be used during the day or night to catch unintentional leaks.
Do bladder leak underwear hold a full wee?
dais bladder leak underwear cannot hold a full bladder worth of liquid. A bladder can hold around 500ml for women and 700ml for men, therefore those struggling with Total or Urge Incontinence will not be secure in bladder leak underwear. dais bladder leak underwear is designed for those who need an extra protection in case of a leak throughout the day or night.
Can you use period underwear for bladder leakage?
You can use period underwear for bladder leakage however they will not be as absorbent. dais bladder leak underwear holds up to 50ml of urine, whereas period underwear holds 25ml of blood. We therefore recommend using dais bladder leak underwear if intending to use for urine leakage as there is a higher level of absorbency.