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Are you always waiting for the bathroom? Bladder leakage can interfere with your well-being, and people — especially women — are more likely to experience it as they age. Only 3 percent of women under 35 experience menstrual problems, compared with 38 percent to 70 percent of women over 60, according to Wolters Kluwer AptoDate, a physician tool.

Many factors that weaken the pelvic floor muscles—childbirth, menopause, obesity, and constipation—increase the risk of bladder leakage. Neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease can also disrupt bladder function, says Arthur Lewis Burnett, M.D., professor of urology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. Conditions affecting the prostate can lead to incontinence.

But shedding is not a normal part of aging. “There’s always something that can be done,” says Jason M. Kim, MD, a professor of medicine at Stony Brook University in New York.

Even if you are hesitant to bring up the subject, speaking up can improve your quality of life. Here’s what you need to know to find a fix that works for you.

Before recommending treatment, your healthcare provider will determine the type of insecurity you are experiencing. The most common form is stress urinary incontinence or leakage when you cough, sneeze or laugh. “Anything that increases abdominal pressure can force the bladder to leak urine,” says Brian J.

What is the pelvic floor and how can a pelvic floor affect you?

An overactive bladder or acute incontinence can leave people feeling the pressure and frequent need to use the bathroom – and they can be in danger if they don’t get there in time. “Some people have to go every 20 minutes, which limits what they can do,” Kim said.

Evidence-based treatments for urinary incontinence range from lifestyle to surgery, and your provider should start with minimally invasive options. If your regular doctor doesn’t offer different strategies to try, a specialist like a urologist or urogynecologist can help you find one that works for you. “You don’t have to deal with it just because you’ve learned to live with it,” says Kim.

Lifestyle improvements They are usually the first line of treatment. If you are overweight, losing a few pounds can take the pressure off your bladder. Relieve constipation such as dietary changes Increase the amount of fiberor with MedicineIf necessary, it can have the same effect. Alcohol and caffeine irritate the bladder and encourage leakage, so limiting consumption of those can also help.

Pelvic floor physical therapyAnother non-invasive treatment is to help strengthen the muscles involved in urination. Known as kegel exercises, these exercises can help with both stress incontinence and an overactive bladder. They can take several sessions to work, says Kim, and you can practice at home.

Medicine It could be the next option, says Linder. Anticholinergic drugs such as oxybutynin (Ditropan and Ditropan XL) can help calm an overactive bladder. Research Older people are especially associated with higher rates of dementia symptoms. A beta-3 agonist such as mirabegron (Mirbetric) may provide some of the same effects without the cognitive concerns, Kim says.

More invasive procedures They are often a last resort. Among them, the gold standard for stress incontinence is the Kim sling procedure, which is a general method of supporting the urinary tract and preventing leakage. Many people find that this surgery relieves their symptoms, but complications can sometimes be severe. Doctors can inject bulking agents into the bladder. That’s less invasive, but there’s little long-term data, he says American Urological Association Guidelines. For an overactive bladder, Botox injections into the bladder muscle It can help. “It lasts about six months, so repeated treatments are needed — and some of the side effects can be severe,” Linder said.

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