Alliance Urology Specialists has years of experience diagnosing and treating problems with the genitourinary system, including bladder problems for both men and women. Because a large portion of our services is geared towards men, we wanted to take some time to focus on the female bladder and the health problems women may encounter. Many of our services can help women with conditions such as overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, and pelvic floor dysfunction. From the top three common female bladder problems to some other helpful facts and information, we’re taking some time to create a comprehensive guide to women’s bladder health.
Three Common Female Bladder Problems
While overactive bladder isn’t a specific disease, it encompasses a group of symptoms that make up some of the most common bladder problems women face. Symptoms of overactive bladder include a sudden urge to urinate, frequently urinating, leaking urine, and nocturia, a condition in which you have to get up two or more times in the night to urinate. While all of these symptoms indicate an overactive bladder, it’s important to note that any one of these symptoms on its own is reason enough to visit a urologist. Though overactive bladder is not a female-specific problem, a higher percentage of women live with these symptoms than men.
Urinary Incontinence, or more specifically stress urinary incontinence (SUI), often comes hand-in-hand with an overactive bladder. Over half of the women who experience SUI also have overactive bladder. There are various forms of incontinence. While SUI can affect both males and females, the condition is more common in women, with an estimated one in three women experiencing some form of SUI in their lifetime. One of the symptoms of overactive bladder is urgency urinary incontinence, where urine may leak. Stress urinary incontinence differs from the urgency urinary incontinence because it relates to the urethra and is categorized by sudden pressure on both the bladder and the urethra, which causes the sphincter muscles to open. Urgency urinary incontinence, on the other hand, stems directly from a problem in the bladder.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra and then enters the bladder. UTIs are another example of a condition that can develop in both males and females but are more commonly found in women. In fact, UTIs are 50% more common for women because of the shorter urethra in the female anatomy. It is estimated that one out of every three women will experience a UTI before they reach the age of 24. While most of these infections are treatable via over the counter medicines, they can lead to other health problems like kidney infections if they are left untreated.
What You Need to Know About Bladder Health
It’s easy for bladder health issues to be overlooked and undermined. With this, there’s a large portion of women who do not prioritize their bladder health and may be uninformed about this system in the body. Here are some facts that experts want you to know to promote lifelong bladder health:
- Like in many other body systems, what you consume plays a role in your bladder health. Studies have shown that acidic or spicy foods and drinks may worsen symptoms.
- Bladder conditions are not inevitable with age, so if you find yourself experiencing bladder problems, seek treatment. Your quality of life should not be affected by bladder problems.
- You are not alone. Bladder conditions are common in girls and women. Do not be embarrassed to speak up if you think something is wrong.
- Regularly holding your urine for prolonged periods of time may have long and short-term effects on your bladder’s health.
- Bladder conditions can be treated, and many treatments do not require medication or surgery.
Make an Appointment
Alliance Urology Specialists is home to an expert team of urologists that are committed to providing comprehensive care to adults with urologic disorders and other bladder health conditions. If you have questions or concerns about a urologic condition, call our office at (336) 274-1114 to make an appointment.