LBL or Light Bladder Leakage is a common problem many women face, but has unfortunately not received its due recognition. Most women are embarrassed to talk about these unexpected little leaks but would it make you feel better to know that three out of five women suffer from it?
Image courtesy of Michael/wikimedia commons
What causes LBL? Discussing it with a health professional to determine and treat the underlying cause is vital.
Harmless activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing or even lifting heavy objects can put a physical stress on your bladder and cause the leak.
Weight gain and obesity can put pressure upon your pelvic floor muscles, especially if you have a sedentary lifestyle.
Pregnancy and childbirth - the weight of the growing foetus can put pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. During childbirth the stretching and pulling in and around the vagina affect the bladder and surrounding muscles.
Emotional stress due to work or domestic issues can also cause LBL.
Menopause Oestrogen is a protective hormone in females that keeps organs in the genital area elastic and healthy. At menopause, the decline of oestrogen production results in a decline of protection.
Age Weakening and wasting of pelvic muscles naturally occurs with age.
Urge Incontinence The sudden urge to empty the bladder which just cannot wait and ends up in a bit of wetting. The cause of this is unexplained but can be due to different reasons in different women - for example, on hearing gushing water, or in cold temperatures. It can also be due to dietary factors as some food stuffs like spices may cause bladder irritation.
Fluid intake - too much fluid, especially in the later part of the day can cause a strong urge to pee during sleep and ends up in a leaky situation.
Too little fluid can cause dehydration and irritation to the bladder
Urinary tract infections
Too much intake of caffeine and soda.
Smoking irritates the bladder and urethra and makes bladder urges uncontrollable. Smoking leads to chronic cough which further leads to pressure on bladder and pelvic floor muscles. Second hand smoking can cause cough and even urinary tract infections in kids.
Image by Man vyi, wikimedia commons
How to manage LBL? First of all women need to realise this is a common condition and they need to speak about it. They need to consult their health professional who can help identify the cause as every woman may have a different trigger. They need to stop feeling shy, sorry, and guilty, and start confiding in friends, colleagues, family, and most importantly their partner.
Exercise and watch your diet to keep obesity at bay.
Don't strain your body beyond its limits.
Keep caffeine intake in control.
Ditch the cigarette and give your body some tender loving care.
If you have to sit for long periods or a long travel, attend the wash room beforehand so that you don't wait till the bladder is full.
Ladies, when it is about your body, get bold in situations. For example, if you are in a board meeting and need to pee, its best to speak up and call for a break rather than wait for the embarrassing trickle.
Panty liners are available in the stores and it is advisable to use them. Nothing wrong in that. Always keep some liners and extra underwear stashed in your purse's secret drawer for emergency.
Kegel exercise These are the only exercises that can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. It is a series of contractions and relaxations as if holding urine. It can be done anywhere and anytime without letting anybody know. If done a younger age these may help keep LBL at bay. If you are already suffering, then they can help to reduce leaky episodes. Read how to do Kegels correctly. (Do not do Kegels while urinating as it may have adverse effects).
Seek help for chronic stress, chronic cough, weight issues and urinary tract infections.
Visit your urologist or gynaecologist for treatment. They may prescribe or change existing medications.
Yoga, physiotherapy, acupuncture and homeopathy have been useful in some cases.
Don't let LBL rob your happy moments. Image by epsos.de, wikimedia commons
Bladder leakage plays havoc not only with the physical body with our emotions. A few simple steps could help you rid this disorder from your life. If not, do not hesitate to consult your gynaecologist. And in worst cases if you have to live with it, then remember you are not alone. Many ladies around you deal with it daily and so can you. Head on with confidence and enjoy your life such that small droplets will not dampen your spirit.