As you age, your bladder might not be as tough as it was when you were younger - but that doesn’t mean your life should be put on hold just because of a few leaks. …read moreSee less
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What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is a common problem and occurs when you pass urine without meaning to.
There are different types of incontinence, including stress incontinence when your bladder leaks when it's under pressure, like when you cough or laugh; urge incontinence is when there is a sudden leaking of urine, followed by an intense urge to empty your bladder.
Overflow incontinence is when you can’t fully empty your bladder, resulting in leaking, while total incontinence is when you can’t store any urine at all, causing you to frequently use the toilet or experiencing leaking.
It's also possible to have a mixture of different types.
What are the treatment options for bladder weakness?
The options you have to treat bladder weakness depend on the type of incontinence you have and how serious your symptoms are.
Treatments that don’t require medicines or surgery are tried first, such as lifestyle changes, bladder training and pelvic floor muscle training, also known as Kegel exercises.
If these treatments don’t work, your doctor may wish to discuss surgery options with you, but these are usually the last resort.
What are the symptoms of bladder problems in men?
Bladder problems tend to be more common in women due to the stress the pelvic floor goes under during things such as pregnancy and childbirth, but this isn’t to say that men can’t develop bladder problems, too.
Men can develop these problems because of the prostate gland that surrounds the opening of the bladder.
The prostate will get bigger as you age, and when it gets too big, you may start to experience problems with urination, a slower urine stream, and issues with not being able to fully empty your bladder.
Are incontinence pads available on prescription?
You may be able to get incontinence pads and other equipment to help manage your symptoms depending on the severity of your bladder incontinence.
You should book an appointment with your GP or other healthcare professional so they can assess you and see if you’re eligible for a free NHS prescription.