Common causes of bladder weakness in women
Bladder weakness in women is more common than it is in men, with the majority of women experiencing it at some point in their lives.
It is a problem that affects a range of ages with over 40% of young women citing exercise as a common cause of bladder weakness.
So, if you are suffering with bladder weakness, you are not alone.
That said, it can be worrying to suddenly start experiencing incontinence, so it is important to establish what may be causing it and reassure yourself that you are dealing with your issue in the correct way.
Is bladder weakness causing my urinary incontinence?
Recognising whether you have bladder weakness or a form of urinary incontinence is an important step in understanding whether you need to be treating the issue or whether you can make some very small changes just to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to improve a normally functioning bladder.
When it comes to bladder weakness in women, even mild urinary incontinence can cause unwanted incidents. For example, you may identify with some of the following statements:
- Leaking urine has been affecting your life, causing you to avoid going out for extended periods of time, affecting your work or causing you worry
- Leaking urine frequently while sneezing, coughing or laughing
- Sudden urges to pass urine
- Leaking urine at night
- Leaking urine has become a nuisance
Understanding the causes of bladder weakness in women can help you understand your body and ultimately aid you in managing your bladder weakness and potentially treating the problem.
Some common causes or aggravators of bladder weakness in women include:
Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles
Your pelvic floor muscles are the group of muscles that support your internal organs including your bladder and bowel. If these muscles are weak it means that you may have trouble controlling your bladder. Extra pressure or stress as we discuss below can put extra pressure on these muscles. If they are not strong enough, then these activities could cause weakness in your bladder. Weak pelvic floor muscles can occur for a variety of reasons from being stretched to surgery in the pelvic area.
Extra pressure or stress
Extra pressure or stress on your pelvic area can bring on incontinence issues or bladder weakness in women. Some of the most common causes of excess pressure or stress include:
- Being overweight
- Coughing, sneezing and laughing
All activities that make you tense, or put extra pressure on your pelvic muscles can contribute towards bladder weakness, as your pelvic muscles need to be strong to keep you from leaking urine at these times.
Pregnancy puts extra strain on and weight on your pelvic floor muscles and builds the pressure in your abdomen. This stretches your pelvic floor muscles and weakens them throughout your pregnancy. The extra pressure will contribute to bladder weakness during your pregnancy whereas the stretching and weakening of the muscles will contribute to bladder weakness after your pregnancy.
The effect of pregnancy on your pelvic floor muscles can be underestimated and usually put down to childbirth. Although childbirth, as we will discuss next does indeed weaken your pelvic floor muscles even those who undergo Caesarean sections can suffer with the bladder weakening effects of just the pregnancy and hormone changes after the birth of their child.
Your pelvic floor muscles play a role in the birth of your child in that they guide your child down through the birth canal. The process of childbirth does stretch the pelvic floor muscles, making them weaker although not all bladder weakness after the birth of your child can be put down to this as the pregnancy alone is enough to weaken your pelvic floor.
The good news for this sort of bladder weakness in women is that working your pelvic floor muscles after childbirth will not only strengthen them, but will bring more blood to the area to help you heal.
The menopause changes the levels of hormones in your body. These changes can affect your bladder which can lead to bladder weakness during and after the menopause. The drop of estrogen in your body can affect the position of your bladder and weaken your pelvic floor muscles, making it more difficult to control unwanted leakages.
A number of medical conditions and medications can contribute towards urinary incontinence and bladder weakness in women. Medical conditions that are known to sometimes contribute to this include:
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Nerve damage
Some medications have also been linked to bladder weakness in women and men, some of these include:
If you think that a medical condition or medication is contributing to your bladder weakness, speak to your GP. They may have extra advice or information that could help specifically with the cause or you could discuss changing your medication to try to relieve the side-effects.
Ways to address bladder weakness in women?
Although, as we have discussed, there are many causes of bladder weakness in women, most women can benefit from pelvic floor exercises. Keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong will help you to keep control over your bladder. In the meantime, however or if you suffer from a medical condition that has given you an on-going problem finding a product that you can trust and have confidence in is of the utmost importance.
Knowing that the incontinence product you are using will keep you dry and avoid any embarrassing situations is an important part of living happily and confidently with bladder weakness. Incontinence products do not just stop at pads: even making sure you have a handy waterless wipe or foam soap to keep you feeling fresh can do wonders for your confidence.
If you are looking for products designed for bladder weakness in women just click here to be taken to our shop.