Bladder Problems and Incontinence

Bladder problems are common and can be very embarrassing, affecting a woman’s quality of life, confidence and relationships. These problems should not be regarded as a normal part of ageing, as there are many treatments which can produce excellent results.Close up of middle aged woman

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a condition which may affect many women, particularly after childbirth or the ageing process. There are several types of incontinence, including:

  • Stress incontinence – when urine leaks out when the bladder is put under pressure from physical movement or activity, such as laughing, sneezing, coughing or running. Despite the name, it is not linked to psychological stress.
  • Urge incontinence – a sudden, intense urge to pass urine which is then followed by the involuntary passing of urine. People with urge incontinence usually urinate frequently, such as at night. It can be caused by infections or more serious conditions, such as diabetes.
  • Overflow incontinence – often or constant dribbling of urine because the bladder has failed to empty fully.
  • Functional incontinence – physical or mental condition is stopping you from going to the bathroom on time. This could be severe arthritis, for example.
  • Chronic and Recurrent UTIs – urinary tract infection that persists for a long period of time, typically at least three times in a six month period

Treatment options

We offer several minimally invasive treatments for urinary incontinence, which include; mid-urethral tape operations, bulking of the bladder neck and botox to the bladder. We also carry out colposuspension, a major procedure which is appropriate in a small number of cases.

Needing to go to the toilet frequently or rushing to the toilet and not getting there in time may also lead to incontinence. This is typically treated with conservative measures including lifestyle advice about fluid intake and which foods and drinks may stimulate the bladder.

A physiotherapist can help with pelvic floor strengthening and bladder re-training. If these measures are unsuccessful then medication may be used. Surgical treatment in the form of Botox treatment to the bladder may be required if medication does not resolve the problem.

Find out More About Surgical Treatments for Bladder Problems

Repeat urinary infections & Cystitis

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) are common infections which affect many people. They may cause symptoms including; the sudden or frequent urge to urinate, pain or burning when urinating, smelly or cloudy urine, pain in the lower abdomen and the general feeling of sickness and fatigue.

Many people will experience UTIs at some point during their life and these are more common in women, who have a shorter urethra, meaning infections are easier to catch.

It is important to see your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant and have a UTI
  • You are experiencing recurrent of chronic UTI
  • There is blood in your urine
  • Your symptoms do not improve after a few days

Read more about Interstitial Cystitis & Painful Bladder Syndrome

Treatment options

Urine infections or pain in the bladder and urethra (water pipe) can be very distressing. Treating them is complex and requires a multi-disciplinary approach, including coordinated care with a specialist urogynaecologist alongside a specialist women’s physiotherapist and other affiliated professionals.

These conditions are typically investigated with ultrasound assessment as well as carrying out a cystoscopy (looking inside the bladder and water pipe with a camera). A urodynamics assessment may also be required to see if there is a functional problem causing these symptoms.

Conservative treatments include dietary and lifestyle changes, as well as medication.

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