An estimated nine million people in the UK experience bladder weakness and the popular misconception is that it is only related to the ageing process, this is not necessarily the case.
Bladder weakness is more prevalent in women than in men, with one in three adults experiencing bladder control problems at some point in their lives.
There are different types of bladder weakness, also known as urinary incontinence, depending on the cause.
Stress incontinence is the most common form of bladder weakness. It is caused by physical stress to your pelvic ﬂoor muscles which support the bladder and bowel. Leakage can occur as a result of laughing, sneezing, coughing, exercise or even when lifting heavy objects, because these activities cause an increase in abdominal pressure.
It can also be triggered during pregnancy. Hormonal changes occurring after the menopause are also known to contribute.
occurs due to an overactive bladder, which causes involuntary muscle spasms that force urine out of the bladder. Urge incontinence causes a sudden feeling for the need to use the toilet, or a feeling that a person can’t reach the bathroom in time. Some people may experience both stress incontinence and urge incontinence at different times.
Overﬂow & drip incontinence
Overflow/drip incontinence is most common in men. It is caused when the bladder doesn’t empty completely, so urine starts to build up and muscles become weak, leading to urine loss drop by drop with little sensation or warning.
occurs through damage to the nerves supplying the urinary system. Damage can occur accidentally, sometimes through surgery, or may be associated with degenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis.