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Disorders of the bladder are more prevalent than you might think; learn more about some of these conditions and how they can be treated.
The bladder is held in place by ligaments attached to other organs and the pelvic bones. When healthy, your bladder can comfortably store up to two cups of urine for up to five hours. However, many factors, like aging, illness or injury, can cause disorders of the bladder, which can range from easy-to-treat to life threatening:
- Urinary Incontinence—loss of bladder control or involuntarily passing urine is a symptom rather than a disease in itself. Women are affected by urinary incontinence much more often than men. In fact, statistics say that up to 20 million U.S. women suffer with frustrating and embarrassing urinary incontinence—a sudden leak from coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising, or a light trickle throughout the day that requires you to wear a sanitary mini pad. Various causes include birth defects, pelvic surgery, injuries to the pelvic region or spinal cord, neurological diseases, multiple sclerosis, infection and degenerative changes associated with aging. Incontinence can also result from pregnancy or childbirth. If you are one of the 20 million women with urinary incontinence, you clearly are not alone. And you don't need to suffer in silence anymore. Ridgeview's Bladder & Pelvic Health Program can treat most incontinence diagnoses with medication, physical therapy, surgery or a combination of these. Here is a brief overview of the types of urinary incontinence:
- Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI): This is the most common form of urinary incontinence, so you’re not alone if you’re experiencing involuntary leakage of urine when you sneeze, laugh, cough or exercise. SUI has two basic underlying causes, which can coexist. Pelvic muscles and connective tissue that support the bladder and urethra can weaken or tear loose, allowing the bladder and urethra to move from a normal pelvic position. Abnormalities in the urethral sphincter can also cause SUI.
- Urge Incontinence: You might feel a frequent, urgent need to urinate and may experience urinary leakage if you cannot get to the bathroom in time.
- Overflow Incontinence: You urinate in small amounts in a dribbling stream and never feel that you completely empty your bladder.
- Mixed: Multiple forms of incontinence combined.
Other very common bladder conditions include:
- Cystitis (Bladder Infection)—this is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by bacteria in the bladder and treated with antibiotics. Drinking lots of fluids also helps to flush out the bacteria. Women tend to get UTIs much more often than men.
- Painful Bladder Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis (PBS/IC)—a chronic bladder disorder also known as frequency-urgency-dysuria syndrome. In this disorder, the bladder wall can become inflamed and irritated. The inflammation can lead to scarring and stiffening of the bladder, decreased bladder capacity, pinpoint bleeding and, in rare cases, ulcers in the bladder lining. The cause of this condition is unknown.
- Bladder Cancer—the sixth most common cancer in the United States. Treatments for bladder cancer include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and biologic therapy. Symptoms usually include blood in your urine, a frequent urge to urinate, pain when you urinate and lower back pain. Contact your physician right away if you have any symptoms indicative of this serious disease.