Birgit Bulla | Reports & expert advice

Urge incontinence - when the bladder is under constant pressure

You're out and about, feel fine, then suddenly it strikes: a bladder pressure so strong that you almost - or actually - can't hold it in. Unlike stress incontinence, the problem here is not that the pelvic floor is too weak, but that the bladder muscle, the so-called detrusor, is too strong. Read on to learn about urge incontinence and what you can do about it.

Urge incontinence can be very troublesome

Urge incontinence can be very troublesome. Fortunately, there are many things you can do about it.

What is urge incontinence?

Urge incontinence (also called urinary incontinence) is a bladder storage disorder. It is an involuntary leakage of urine caused by an urge in the bladder that is simply too great to contain. This usually happens even though the bladder is not yet completely full. The bladder muscle suddenly contracts so strongly that even the strongest sphincter muscle can no longer withstand this pressure, gives way and urine leaks out. The good news is that often there are things you can do to alleviate the symptoms.

Causes of urge incontinence

There are many reasons why this type of incontinence can occur. And they are not always directly related to the bladder:

Urge incontinence in men

Urge incontinence in men is often due to the prostate. A benign or malignant disease or enlargement can cause the development of an overactive bladder with urge symptoms. If the prostate is enlarged, this can lead to several problems. It can narrow the urethra, which in turn has a negative effect on bladder function. This disorder can lead to the bladder no longer emptying completely, resulting in so-called overflow incontinence. In addition, the residual urine can cause infections or bladder stones, which in turn can promote urge incontinence.

Urge incontinence in women

With increasing age, urge incontinence occurs more frequently in women. Urge incontinence is often due to hormonal changes during pregnancy or the menopause. When oestrogen levels drop, your bladder may respond more strongly to certain substances in the urine, sending you to the toilet more frequently and urgently. This in turn makes the bladder more susceptible to inflammation. A lack of oestrogen can also weaken the pelvic floor and connective tissue, leading to a sagging bladder or uterus. This can also lead to an overactive bladder.


What can be done about urge incontinence?

The good news is that there are a few things you can do about the sudden and urgent need to urinate:

Medicine

If no explanation for urge incontinence is found, i.e. no urinary stones or inflammation, there are various medications for treatment that can provide relief. So-called anticholinergics are often used in the treatment of urge incontinence. These act on the receptors in the bladder and prevent the bladder muscle from contracting too quickly and too strongly. If the urge incontinence in women is due to a lack of oestrogen, oestrogen-containing suppositories or creams can be effective. These are inserted locally into the vagina and are supposed to improve blood circulation and thus increase the capacity of the bladder.2

I highly encourage you to seek for professional medical advice.

Botox

The nerve toxin Botox is no longer only used to eliminate wrinkles. It is now used to treat migraines and hyperhidrosis, i.e. excessive sweating. It blocks the interface between nerves and muscles so that the muscles can no longer tense and cramp. And that is exactly why it is now increasingly used for urge incontinence. Botox is injected directly into the bladder wall. The full effect occurs after about ten days and lasts between three and nine months.


Natural treatment of urge incontinence

In addition to prescription tablets, there are a number of things that you can do yourself to support your bladder.

Toilet training

Toilet training involves learning to lengthen the time between emptying the bladder. The idea is to re-educate the bladder by delaying going to the toilet when you get the urge. The best way is to gradually lengthen the time between toilet visits. Start by delaying the urge to go to the toilet for five minutes. After a period of getting used to it, slowly increase the time to ten minutes, and so on. In this way, you can gradually regain control over your bladder.

Quality products make everyday life easier

Using solutions specifically designed for incontinence can help you manage bladder weakness and feel secure during the day and night. With the right pads or incontinence pants, you can manage your incontinence securely and discreetly, with no unpleasant odours or leaks.

For example, the MoliCare lady pads. These are available from 0.5 drops for very light to 5 drops for moderate urinary incontinence. These offer a high level of discretion thanks to a breathable, textile-like backsheet no unpleasant rustling or sweating. The absorbent core quickly absorbs fluid, transports it safely inside and leaves the skin feeling dry all over, odours are also neutralised. The antibacterial material and its fast absorption of liquid preserve the skin's protective acid mantle and is particularly gentle on the skin, as the pH balance is maintained.


 

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About the author - Birgit Bulla

As the “owner of an incredibly annoying bladder” herself, Birgit knows from personal experience what it means to live with bladder weakness: In her mid-twenties, out of nowhere, she suddenly got an irritable bladder. After many years of struggling with this condition she finally started her own blog “Pinkelbelle” in 2018 to offer emotional support, inform about new research and – most importantly – show her readers that they are not alone with this problem.

Almost two years ago Birgit also published her first book “Everything you need to know about your bladder”, which has been translated into more than four languages. She now lives in Munich, where she works as an online editor and author. Over the years Birgit has become a real expert in the field of bladder health. It seems almost too fitting that her surname “Bulla” also translates from Latin as bladder.

   

 


1https://www.pflege.de/krankheiten/inkontinenz/harninkontinenz/dranginkontinenz/
2Dranginkontinenz - eine Form der Inkontinenz | Stiftung Gesundheitswissen (stiftung-gesundheitswissen.de)



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MoliCare® from HARTMANN provides reliable leakage protection and maintains healthy skin with pH-neutral value for effective incontinence management. For light, moderate or severe incontinence.