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Understanding Bladder Health

As people age our muscles become weaker and our bodies don’t behave the same way they used to. Many women suffer from bladder issues. But the good news is there’s something to be done! The OB/GYN providers at Southwest Health have a variety of treatment options available to improve or even cure your bladder issues.

Incontinence & Overactive Bladder

In women, the front wall of the vagina supports the bladder. This wall can weaken or loosen with age. Significant bodily stress such as childbirth can also damage this part of the vaginal wall. If it deteriorates enough, the bladder can prolapse, meaning it is no longer supported and descends into the vagina. This may trigger problems such as urinary difficulties, discomfort, and stress incontinence (urine leakage caused by sneezing, coughing, and exertion, for example).

Some women experience urge incontinence which is caused by urinary muscle spasms. Multiple pregnancies, being overweight, and genetic weaknesses can increase your risk.

If you suspect you have an overactive bladder, you’re not alone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that over 40% of American women suffer from overactive bladder. There are numerous treatments for overactive bladder, don’t be afraid to ask.

Bladder Prolapse

Bladder prolapse can be caused by childbirth, menopause, and even frequent lifting or straining. Lifting heavy objects, straining during bowel movements, having a long-term condition that involves coughing, or having long-term constipation may damage the muscles of the pelvic floor.

Symptoms from prolapse can be treated by putting the pelvic organs BACK where they belong. This can be done with surgery or a pessary.  The pessary is often a simple, safe solution that does not involve surgical risk or recovery.

First, we need to find the right pessary, shape and size.  Pessary fitting is done at an office visit, and can take 5-20 minutes.  It’s a trial and error process, until the right treatment is decided.

There are a few different surgical options that provide relief from bladder prolapse. Which one is right for you depends on the position of your bladder and what measures your body can handle