Bladder leakage can occur occasionally, or it may be an ongoing problem. To manage it, it’s smart to start by contacting a doctor to rule out any serious medical conditions that may be causing or contributing to the problem. For example, problems with the prostate gland may lead to bladder leakage in men. Nerve problems may cause issues as well. In a female patient, bladder leakage may be caused by infection or damage to the nerves; weakened muscles can also play a role.
If bladder leakage is serious or caused by an ongoing medical problem, medication may be used to treat it. For example, a doctor may prescribe a medication that has a calming effect on important nerves and/or muscles. These medicines may be prescribed in the form of patches, pills, or liquids. Nerve stimulation may be attempted, and surgery may be used as a last resort if leakage is severe or frequent, or when other attempts at treatment have failed. For women, a device may be inserted in the vagina to support her pelvic muscles and reduce leakage.
Besides medical interventions, there are some things patients can try at home to reduce bladder leakage. A woman, for example, may try using exercises, called Kegel exercises, to strengthen the muscles of the pelvis. These exercises may provide some relief from bladder leakage in as little as two months.
Changing habits may help prevent or reduce leakage for both genders. For example, a patient may discover that she is more prone to leakage at certain times of the day. She may then plan ahead to urinate before an accident is likely. Once she has a good handle on making it to the bathroom ahead of time, she can then begin to stretch out her restroom visits gradually, building up control over time.
Losing weight and making some dietary changes may help as well. Excess weight can put added pressure on an already-testy bladder. Losing even a small amount of weight may help a person to gain at least some additional control over her bladder. Additionally, avoiding beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee and tea may help.
A patient with bladder leakage may feel tempted to start drinking less fluid. While this may seem like a good idea, the body does need a significant amount of fluid each day. Instead of cutting back, it may be a better idea to reduce the amount consumed between bathroom trips, spreading drinking out over the course of the day instead of piling it in during one time period. It may also help to avoid drinking lots of fluids in the evenings, if nighttime leakage has become an issue.