What is a Leaking Bladder?

While the term urinary incontinence is the most commonly used in medical circles, the term leaking bladder is used interchangeably, especially among the lay public. Urinary incontinence is the technical term used whenever there is accidental, unintentional, leakage of urine. A leaking bladder does not mean that the bladder actually leaks; rather, it is the voluntary control over the bladder that is lost. So, in essence, a leaking bladder is a poorly controlled bladder.

The urinary bladder control is gained in early childhood, usually around eighteen to twenty-four months, but sometimes as late as the age of four years. Children often do not gain control over the process of nightly urination during the same time frame that they acquire daytime dryness. Therefore, it is essential that parents do not develop needless worries about their child’s bladder control without consulting with their pediatrician or family physician.

Causes of poor bladder control are diverse and vary in frequency according to age group and gender. Common causes of problems may even be some temporary ailments, such as a urinary tract infection, which is a condition where bacteria colonize parts of the urinary tract (bladder, kidney, urethra, or ureter) and cause severe irritation increasing the frequency and urgency of urination.

Also, pelvic floor muscle weakness is a major player in the development of bladder leakage. This is essentially because pelvic floor muscles act as a support for the bladder neck and hold in the urine whenever its discharge is not desired by the person. The pelvic floor is actually a mesh of muscles, ligaments and tough connective tissue, which supports all of the heavy pelvic structures. Pelvic floor muscles are weakened by a variety of conditions like pregnancy and childbirth, obesity, old age, and some surgeries, such as hysterectomy and appendectomy.

In an adult, loss of bladder control may manifest itself as a problem as follows:

- Leakage during coughing or sneezing or laughing
- Leakage of urine during physical exertion or exercise.
- Inability to reach the toilet on time when the urge strikes
- Dribbling of urine upon heavy objects.
- Leaking urine upon changing position from sitting to standing, or from lying down to sitting
- An abnormal urine stream that starts and stops or is difficult to initiate
- A sense of incomplete bladder emptying
- Drops of urine that leak after urination voluntarily stops
- Passing urine more often than usual
- Leaking urine during sleep

Whatever the cause, sufferers of urinary incontinence need to be reassured that a leaking bladder does not have to be a condition that will make their lives embarrassing, uncomfortable, or miserable. Depending on the cause of the leaking bladder, various treatment options are available, which can control the problem or end it altogether. Seeking help and being informed about the latest products and treatment modalities is easier now than every before, because so much helpful information is easily accessible through the internet.

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