Bladder & Bowel

Bladder & Bowel Articles

Overcoming urinary leakage

Involuntary leakage of urine (incontinence) in men often traces to either damage from prostate surgery or physical changes in the bladder that trigger a sudden, strong need to urinate (urinary urgency) with involuntary loss of urine. After assessing the underlying causes, a doctor can suggest strategies to reduce leakage incidents. This may include strengthening the muscles beneath the bladder, in the pelvic floor. Medication may also help. (Locked) More »

Pelvic organ prolapse: You're not alone

About half of women over 50 have pelvic organ prolapse, which may cause discomfort, incontinence, or pain during sex. Specialists in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery can customize therapy to relieve your symptoms and accommodate lifestyle. (Locked) More »

Stay a step ahead of urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common among older adults, but the infections are often overdiagnosed and overtreated. In older adults, UTI symptoms include frequent urination, a sense of urgency to urinate, a burning feeling that occurs with urination, and confusion. Diagnosing a UTI requires testing a urine sample to look for bacteria and white blood cells. If positive, it’s necessary to grow the bacteria in a lab to see which type are causing infection. But even if a person has bacteria and white cells in the urine, it’s not a UTI unless symptoms are also present.  More »

Step-by-step guide to performing Kegel exercises

Doing Kegels right means find your pelvic floor muscles and working them. Kegel exercises won't help you look better, but they do something just as important — strengthen the muscles that support the bladder. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward warding off incontinence. These exercises were developed in the late 1940s by Dr. Arnold H. Kegel, an American gynecologist, as a nonsurgical way to prevent women from leaking urine. They also work for men plagued by incontinence. 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 »

Medications that can cause urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence, or the loss of bladder control, can be caused by various health conditions and physical changes, such as childbirth, changes in diet, infection, prostate issues, menopause, and neurological disorders. But there are also a number of medications can cause urinary incontinence in both men and women in a variety of different ways. Medication More »

Hemorrhoids and what to do about them

Hemorrhoids are usually caused by increased pressure due to pregnancy, being overweight, or straining during bowel movements. By midlife, hemorrhoids often become an ongoing complaint. By age 50, about half the population has experienced one or more of the classic symptoms, which include rectal pain, itching, bleeding, and possibly prolapse (hemorrhoids that protrude through the anal canal). Although hemorrhoids are rarely dangerous, they can be a recurrent and painful intrusion. Fortunately, there's a lot we can do about hemorrhoids. In one sense, everyone has hemorrhoids (or piles), the pillow-like clusters of veins that lie just beneath the mucous membranes lining the lowest part of the rectum and the anus. The condition most of us call hemorrhoids (or piles) develops when those veins become swollen and distended, like varicose veins in the legs. Because the blood vessels involved must continually battle gravity to get blood back up to the heart, some people believe hemorrhoids are part of the price we pay for being upright creatures. More »

Preparing for a colonoscopy

If you shudder at the thought of having a colonoscopy to check for hidden colon cancer, chances are it's the "prep" that's stoking your apprehension. It's certainly a major inconvenience: getting ready for the procedure takes much longer — an average of 16 hours, according to one study — than the three hours or so you'll spend at a medical center the day of your colonoscopy. But what's most off-putting is the purgative part: taking a powerful bowel-clearing substance and coping with the resulting diarrhea. It's worth the hassle. Colonoscopy can spot small colon cancers while they are treatable and before they have spread to other parts of the body. It can also detect and remove polyps, small growths that can develop into colon cancer. Colon and rectal cancers (known together as colorectal cancers) are the third most common type of cancer in men and in women and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Emptying the contents of the colon is a key requirement for a successful colonoscopy. If the bowel prep isn't up to par, polyps and lesions can be missed; the colonoscopy may take longer (increasing the risk of complications); or the whole process may need to be repeated or rescheduled, meaning another round of bowel prep. More »