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What is Bladder Weakness?
Bladder weakness, more formally known as urinary incontinence, is a condition affecting million of people worldwide. Although it is commonly thought of as afflicting only the elderly, younger people can also be affected by the condition. It is not a disease in itself, but a symptom of another problem. Women are affected by bladder weakness in greater numbers than men, largely due to the rigors of childbearing and differing anatomy.
What are the problems associated with bladder weakness?
Problems associated with bladder weakness may fall into one of three categories:
Physical - Although leaking a small amount is not physically harmful in itself, even if it happens frequently, it can cause irritation and sometimes infection of the skin due to chronic wetness. Some people may develop bladder infections as a result of certain types of incontinence. Others may experience pain due to spasms of the bladder. Although none of these problems are life-threatening, they can cause considerable distress and discomfort.
Social - Many people who suffer from bladder weakness are embarrassed about their condition and fear social embarrassment should others discover their problem. Fear of discovery or leakage in public may cause some sufferers to avoid venturing out in public. Others go out to public places only when they feel confident that they will have easy access to a washroom, and essentially plan their outings around trips to the washroom. Some people will avoid intimacy with a significant other due to fear of incontinence. In these situations, bladder weakness can severely impact the social life of the sufferer.
Emotional - Many people who suffer episodes of bladder weakness also feel depressed because of the changes or perceived restrictions that the condition places on their life. They may feel a lack of control over their situation. Believing that the problem is inevitable, or a normal part of aging, may induce feelings of despair and hopelessness.
When should I see a physician?
Ideally, a physician should be consulted as soon as the problem starts. What many may fail to realize is that bladder weakness can often be cured, or controlled to a great extent. Symptoms which should prompt a visit to the doctors office include the following:
Leakage of urine that occurs when you laugh, cough, sneeze or otherwise place stress on your abdominal muscles
Strong, sudden urges to urinate, followed by the inability to hold your urine before reaching the washroom
Constant leakage of urine
In addition, blood in the urine, painful urination, or other symptoms of infection is also cause to visit the doctor. Certain medications or treatments may also contribute to bladder weakness.
Bladder weakness is not an inevitable sign of aging, nor should anyone who suffers from incontinence settle for living with the condition. Bladder weakness is a common condition throughout the world, and is highly treatable. Left untreated, sufferers may experience physical, social, or emotional consequences. The signs of incontinence should prompt a visit to your physician.
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