Bladder & Bowel

Bladder & Bowel Articles

Pill-free ways to fight urinary incontinence

Problems with bladder control, or urinary incontinence, fall into a few categories. Leakage from pressure on the bladder is known as stress incontinence. For women, it’s often caused by childbirth, which can stretch or damage the pelvic floor muscles and nerves. Another common type of incontinence is urge incontinence or overactive bladder. The American College of Physicians has new guidelines urging doctors to first prescribe pill-free treatments for women—such as Kegel exercises, bladder training, and weight loss and exercise—before prescribing any medications. (Locked) More »

Celiac disease

Celiac disease (also known as non-tropical sprue, celiac sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is a genetic, autoimmune disease. The immune system mistakenly recognizes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, as "foreign." When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, the immune system attacks the gluten when it gets into the small intestine. As the immune system wages war against gluten, it damages small, fingerlike projections in the small intestine called villi. Villi that make it easier for the body to absorb nutrients from food. As villi become eroded and flattened, they have trouble absorbing nutrients. The result is diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as a host of health problems related to malnutrition, including weight loss, anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, and nerve problems. More »

How to perform Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises are a great way to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. Doing this can help prevent stress incontinence, the leakage of urine when coughing, laughing, lifting a heavy object, or doing something else that puts pressure on the bladder. To perform a Kegel, you first need to find your pelvic floor muscles and then repeatedly contract and relax them. Locate your pelvic muscles. Pretend you are trying to avoid passing gas; if you are a woman, you can pretend to tighten your vagina around a tampon. Both actions involve the pelvic muscles. You will feel the contraction more in the back than the front, like you are pulling in the anal area. More »

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is the leakage of urine out of the bladder when you jump, cough, sneeze, laugh, lift a heavy object, have sex, or do anything else that puts pressure on the bladder. Often only a small amount of urine leaks out, although in more severe cases, the pressure of a full bladder overcomes the body's ability to hold in urine. Stress incontinence occurs when the urethral sphincter, the pelvic floor muscles, or both of these structures have been weakened or damaged and can't dependably hold in urine. This can happen due to: Stress incontinence is the most common type of incontinence in women. More »

Types of urinary incontinence

Many things can go wrong with the complex system that allows us to control urination. Incontinence is categorized by the type of problem and, to a lesser extent, by differences in symptoms. If urine leaks out when you jump, cough, or laugh, you may have stress incontinence. Any physical exertion that increases abdominal pressure also puts pressure on the bladder. The word "stress" actually refers to the physical strain associated with leakage. Although it can be emotionally distressing, the condition has nothing to do with emotion. Often only a small amount of urine leaks out. In more severe cases, the pressure of a full bladder overcomes the body's ability to hold in urine. The leakage occurs even though the bladder muscles are not contracting and you don't feel the urge to urinate. Stress incontinence occurs when the urethral sphincter, the pelvic floor muscles, or both these structures have been weakened or damaged and cannot dependably hold in urine. Stress incontinence is divided into two subtypes. In urethral hypermobility, the bladder and urethra shift downward when abdominal pressure rises, and there is no hammock-like support for the urethra to be compressed against to keep it closed. In intrinsic sphincter deficiency, problems in the urinary sphincter interfere with full closure or allow the sphincter to pop open under pressure. Many experts believe that women who have delivered vaginally are most likely to develop stress incontinence because giving birth has stretched and possibly damaged the pelvic floor muscles and nerves. Generally, the larger the baby, the longer the labor, the older the mother, and the greater the number of births, the more likely that incontinence will result. More »

Try medication first for urinary woes

Before considering surgery for bothersome urinary symptoms caused by an noncancerous overgrown prostate gland, or benign prostatic hyperplasia, men should make sure they have given standard treatment with medication a chance to work. If the underlying problem is overactive bladder, there are alternative drugs to try. Overactive bladder drugs should not be used unless an exam and tests rule out urinary obstruction. A range of surgical options are available, each with pros and cons that should be discussed with a doctor. More »

Drugs for enlarged prostate: Is cancer a side effect?

The medications dutasteride (Avodart) or finasteride (Proscar) are used to treat symptoms of noncancerous enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The drugs slightly lower the chance of low-risk prostate cancer while slightly increasing the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Men must weigh the small long-term cancer risk associated with these drugs against the value of immediate relief of bothersome urinary symptoms caused by BPH. (Locked) More »