Bladder is a sac that collects and stores urine, to eliminate it once it is full. The hollow organ stores urine until the required pressure is attained to create an urge, following which the urine is expelled out of the body through urethra. It is flexible and muscular sac that is supported by pelvic floor muscles and the front wall of vagina in women.
At times women face problems like burning sensation while urinating, frequent urination or bloated feeling due to filling up of bladder when they cannot urinate. All these symptoms could be signs of underlying bladder problems in women. Another common bladder issue is that of prolapsed bladder, when it descends into the vagina due to the failure of the vaginal wall to support it successfully.
Though bladder issues are common among women, often they are not treated on right time, as women either feel quite embarrassed to talk about the infection even to doctors or they just ignore it as something simple which will go away on its own. If the bladder problems are addressed at the earliest, it is easily curable. There are various types of bladder problems faced by women and unfortunately, some of them may prove fatal if not treated in early stages.
Bladder problems are often connected to the lifestyle or situations faced by the woman at that specific time in her life, like severe trauma or illnesses. Some of the bladder issues are psychological where as others could be physiological. Pregnancy and childbirth can either damage or weaken the pelvic floor muscles leading to bladder issues. The hormonal changes during the onset of menopause are common cause of bladder problems in women. Those women who are diabetic or obese run high risk of developing issues related to urinary tract.
Tumors (cancerous and non-cancerous) and fibroids growing in or around the uterus exert pressure on the bladder by pressing against it which may cause frequent urination.
How to Identify Bladder Problems
Different types of bladder diseases have different symptoms associated with them. Most of these symptoms are not visible in the initial stages of the illness or infection and surface only after the situation has become grave.
Some of the symptoms to watch out for in bladder problems are
- Inability hold urine
- Urinating in sleep
- Descending of the bladder into vagina
- Inability to pass urine freely
- Slow and painful expelling of urine
- Inability to empty the bladder fully
- Presence of blood in urine
- Burning sensation, pain and discomfort during urination
It is always preferable to consult an urogynecologist, urologist, or a geriatrician for bladder problems, since they have necessary training and experience to address the issue much better than general health care providers.
The type of treatment will depend on the bladder issue affecting the woman. For those who have weak pelvic muscles, Kegel exercises can help in strengthening muscular strength around the urethra, thus helping in controlling incontinence. With holding back the urge to urinate frequently, the bladder can be trained to hold urine for longer time. Keeping watch on weight and diet can help in controlling bladder problems to a great extent.
Medications are prescribed to tighten and strengthen the muscles supporting bladder and also to reduce activity in case of hyperactive bladder. Some serious issues like cancer or descending of bladder into vagina may require surgery.