9 Tips to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

The bladder’s function is to store urine and allow urination to be infrequent and controlled. Bladder problems may lead to bothersome issues such as incontinence, infections and overactive bladder. While you may not be able to prevent every possible bladder problem, taking appropriate measures can help to lessen many of them.

What should you do to keep your bladder healthy?

1. Drink plenty of fluid

Drinking plenty of fluid increases the volume and frequency of urination, which in turn helps to flush out bacteria from your bladder. Water is the best fluid for your bladder and should be at least half of your daily fluid intake.

Ideally, you should drink 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of water every day. But if you engage in intense exercise or activity, you may need to drink more to compensate for fluid loss. On the other hand, if you have a condition such as heart disease or kidney failure, you may need to drink less. Speak with your doctor about how much fluid is right for you.

2. Avoid smoking

Smokers are more likely to develop bladder control issues than non-smokers. Cigarette smokers also tend to have more severe bladder symptoms. For heavy smokers, there is a tendency to develop a chronic cough, which exerts added pressure on the bladder and worsens urinary incontinence. Plus, tobacco smokers are three times more prone to bladder cancer than non-smokers. Avoiding cigarette smoking is good for your bladder health.

3. Get active

Physical activity not only relieves bladder problems but also prevents fluid buildup in the legs. Fluid retention in the legs—usually due to heart disease or a sedentary lifestyle—can lead to bladder control issues. You can reduce fluid retention through low-impact moderate activity such as biking, swimming or walking briskly for at least 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.

4. Do Kegel exercises

Weak pelvic floor muscles are a common cause of urine leakage (incontinence). Kegel exercises target and strengthen pelvic floor muscles and keep urine from leaking when you sneeze, laugh, lift or have a sudden urge to urinate. Speak with your urologist about what kind of exercise will benefit you the most.

5. Avoid bladder irritants

Certain foods and beverages can irritate the bladder and trigger bladder problems. Known bladder irritants include alcoholic beverages, apples, apple juice, bananas, brewer’s yeast and carbonated drinks. Others are chilies, chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee, cranberries, grapes, nuts, raw onions, raisins, soy sauce, tomatoes and vinegar.

While you don’t have to stop eating your favorite foods and drinks entirely, reducing the amounts can improve your bladder symptoms.

6. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight is a risk factor for incontinence, particularly stress incontinence. The excess weight exerts more pressure on the abdomen and bladder and weakens pelvic floor muscles. In fact, nearly 50-percent of older people who are overweight struggle with bladder incontinence.
By losing weight in the abdominal area, you can reduce pressure on the bladder and pelvic muscles and improve bladder control. In many cases, weight loss improves incontinence symptoms or gets rid of them completely. Make healthy food choices and engage in regular exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

7. Prevent constipation

Bladder problems are quite common in people with constipation because a full rectum presses the bladder wall causing either outflow obstruction or increased spasm. Also, constipation makes pelvic muscles overactive, which causes dysfunction in stool and urine elimination and leads to an overactive bladder. You can reduce constipation by drinking enough water, eating high-fiber foods (like whole grains, fruits, and fresh vegetables), and being physically active.

8. Manage medications

Some medications can trigger bladder control problems. For example, high blood pressure prescriptions tend to increase urine output and relax bladder muscles resulting in urine leakage. Drugs such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, antihistamines, sedatives, and tranquilizers may hinder bladder contraction and reduce awareness of the need to urinate.

You should not stop taking your medications just because you suspect they are responsible for your bladder issues. Instead, and before making any change, speak with your doctor about your concerns. The doctor may adjust the dosage or offer a different medication. In cases where the benefits of the medications far outweigh the related bladder issues, your doctor will work with you on alternative ways to ease symptoms.

9. Flush out bacteria

Proper cleaning of the genital area before and after sexual intercourse helps to reduce bacteria and prevents bladder infections. Passing urine before and after sex helps to flush out bacteria and stops their entry into the urethra during sex.

Since holding urine in the bladder for too long increases the risk of infection and can weaken bladder muscles, make sure to pass urine as often as possible. Use the bathroom at least every 3 to 4 hours, and when urinating, don’t rush. Take your time to fully empty your bladder.

At St Pete Urology, we provide expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary disorders. Our urology specialists will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan for your problems. We value our multidisciplinary and compassionate approach to caring for our patients. For more information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of urinary disorders, visit the St Pete Urology website.

Treating Voiding Dysfunction in Women

Voiding dysfunction is a problem that affects women in increasing numbers, and it can be an embarrassing condition that curtails daily activities. Voiding dysfunction can take several forms, including urinary incontinence, painful urination and interstitial cystitis. Women over 40 are especially susceptible and it can be uncomfortable subject to bring up in conversations with doctors.

Preliminary Diagnosis

Although your primary care doctor can perform simple testing for a urinary tract infection, you may save time and discomfort by seeing a qualified urologist first. Some urological procedures for diagnosis include:

  1. Urinalysis
  2. Uroflow electromyogram (EMG)
  3. Abdominal X rays (KUB)
  4. Cystoscopy
  5. Uroflowmetry

Initial Care for Voiding Dysfunction

Your primary care doctor may recommend dietary changes such as reducing the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume. Your doctor may even warn you about the use of tobacco if you are a smoker.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises are often effective at improving voiding dysfunction in the form of bladder leakage in women. Kegel exercises (or Kegels) simply increase the strength of the pelvic floor, and can be done in bed or while emptying the bladder. However, there are instances when the woman’s pelvic floor is too tight and Kegels are not recommended. A urologist can diagnose and recommend the appropriate treatment for the various types of voiding dysfunction.

Additional treatments for voiding dysfunction include muscle relaxants, pelvic floor therapy, self-catheterization and insertion of a neuromodulation device.

Painful Urination and Treatment

Besides being unable to control bladder flow, painful urination is another dysfunction associated with voiding. You may be diagnosed with interstitial cystitis. Some refer to the condition as BPS (bladder pain syndrome). Interstitial cystitis is associated with bladder pain, overactive bladder, bladder distention and, at times, bladder stones.

Once your physician has isolated the source of the problem, he or she may recommend a medication that allows the bladder to relax.

Why Get Diagnosed and Treated for Voiding Dysfunction

Successful treatment of voiding dysfunction will allow you to enjoy life better, with:

  1. Fewer accidents
  2. More control over where and when you void your bladder
  3. Longer intervals between needing to urinate

For those who live in the St Petersburg, Tampa or Clearwater areas, St Pete Urology offers treatment and relief of this condition. Schedule a consultation today to learn how our experienced team offers the most advanced technology, minimally invasive surgery options and compassionate care.

What to Know About Overactive Bladder

Like the name suggests, an overactive bladder is a bladder that does more than it should. The normal functioning of a bladder is that as urine drains from the kidneys to fill the bladder, nerve signals in the brain communicate the need to discharge the urine. The urge to urinate grows gradually so a person can delay the passage of urine for a while. During the discharge of urine, the bladder contracts, letting out the urine through the urethra.

An overactive bladder contracts suddenly and involuntarily, so a patient cannot hold the urine. It also contracts often, even when it contains just a little urine. This forces the patient to take numerous bathroom breaks. Due to the frequency and suddenness of the contractions, an overactive bladder is known to cause the leaking of urine, otherwise known as urine incontinence. It affects both men and women.

Causes of an Overactive Bladder

An overactive bladder cannot be attributed to one single cause or factor. In most cases, it is caused by a combination of factors. These include:

1. Serious case of a urinary tract infection;

2. A neurological disorder that damages the communication of nerves in the brain and in the bladder;

3. Bladder complications such as bladder stones or tumors;

4. Stroke and multiple sclerosis;

5. Acute urine retention. When urine is retained in the bladder for long, there is no longer space for storage of urine. This may result in an overactive bladder;

6. Pelvic organ prolapse in women and benign prostate hyperplasia in men; and

7. Diabetes.

Social and Emotional Impact of an Overactive Bladder

Patients with an overactive bladder often worry a great deal about stigma. They find the frequent bathroom visits embarrassing and the fear of leaking urine in any social or work environment can be debilitating. These fears affect the normal day to day life of a patient and make it necessary to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Treatment of an Overactive Bladder

A patient can receive treatment in the form of medication, injections and in few cases, minimally invasive surgical procedures. Very often these treatment options are combined with physical therapy and behavioral modifications. Such modifications include:

1. Kegel exercises. These are administered to help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor;

2. Exercise aimed at achieving and maintaining a healthy weight;

3. Going on scheduled bathroom visits; and

4. Use of absorbent pads.

An overactive bladder is manageable and treatable. In order to avoid the difficulties that accompany the condition, it is advisable to seek the help of a qualified urologist for a proper diagnosis followed up by efficient treatment. Our team of experts at St. Pete Urology can help with any questions, as well as diagnosis and treatment of an overactive bladder. For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.

What is the best treatment for urinary incontinence?

The sling procedure is the best, safest and most effective surgical operation for treating urinary stress incontinence. During the procedure, the urologist creates a sling using an artificial mesh, animal tissue or human tissue and places it under the urethra to support the urethra and bladder neck and to prevent unintentional urine loss.

What is stress incontinence?

Unintentional urine leakage (loss) occurs when you engage in physical activities or movements, such as running, sneezing, heavy-lifting, coughing or any action that puts stress (pressure) on your bladder. The condition is triggered by the weakening of pelvic floor muscles (the muscles supporting your bladder) and urinary sphincter muscles (muscles that control the release of urine).

Normally, as the bladder fills with urine and expands, the valve-like muscles in the urethra remain closed to prevent leakage of urine until you have reached the bathroom. However, if those muscles weaken and are not able to withstand pressure, then anything that exerts pressure on your pelvic and abdominal muscles can cause unintentional loss of urine.

Your sphincter and pelvic floor muscles may weaken because of:

  1. Type of childbirth/delivery.
  2. Previous pelvic or abdominal muscle surgery.
  3. Obesity/increased body weight.
  4. Smoking, which may trigger frequent coughing.
  5. Prolonged involvement in high-impact activities, such as running and jumping for several years.
  6. Age — the muscles weaken with increasing age.

You have stress urinary incontinence if you frequently leak urine when you:

  1. Sneeze
  2. Cough
  3. Stand up
  4. Laugh
  5. Have sex
  6. Get out of your car
  7. Exercise
  8. Lift something heavy

While stress incontinence does not imply that you will lose urine every time you do these things, you will most likely experience frequent leakage of urine when you engage in pressure-increasing activities.

Why should you undergo the sling procedure for stress urinary incontinence?

Having stress incontinence can be really awkward and embarrassing. In fact, with frequent leakage of urine, you may begin isolating yourself and limiting your social and work life. For instance, you may find it difficult to engage in exercise and in different leisure activities for fear of urine leakage. But with treatment, you can manage the incontinence and improve your overall quality of life and well-being. The sling procedure is ideal for you if you’ve tried other measures and still find urine leakage disruptive to your life.

How does the sling procedure work?

The sling procedure is aimed at closing your urethra and the neck of your bladder. For the procedure, your surgeon uses strips of synthetic mesh, animal tissue, donor tissue or your own tissue to develop a sling (hammock) that is inserted under your urethra or bladder neck. Once the sling is placed, it supports the urethra and ensures it remains closed — particularly when you are engaged in pressure-increasing activities such as coughing, laughing, sneezing or exercise — preventing the leakage of urine.

How is the sling procedure performed?

Before the procedure begins, you are placed under either general or spinal anesthesia. With general anesthesia, you will remain asleep throughout the procedure and will feel no pain. With spinal anesthesia, you are completely awake except that the area of your body from the waist down is numb and you don’t feel pain as the procedure is performed. Following application of anesthesia, the urologist places a tube (catheter) into your bladder to drain any urine already inside it.

The surgeon then proceeds to place the sling in any of the following ways:

1. Retropubic Method (Tension-Free Vaginal Tape/TVT Method): The surgeon makes a tiny incision inside your vagina, just under the urethra. Two other cuts are then made above your pubic bone — large enough to allow needles through. The surgeon uses a needle to place the sling beneath the urethra and behind the pubic bone. Using stitches or skin glue that is easily absorbed by the body, the surgeon closes off the cuts.

2. Single-Incision Mini Method: The surgeon makes a single tiny incision in the vagina, then passes the sling through it. No stitches are used to attach the sling, but over time the scar tissue grows and forms around it, keeping it in place.

3. Transobturator Method: The surgeon makes a tiny cut inside the vagina, just under the urethra. Two more cuts are made, one on each side of the labia (folds of skin on either side of the vagina). Using the incisions, the surgeon inserts the sling under the urethra.

At St Pete Urology, we perform hundreds of sling surgery procedures every year with remarkable results for our patients. The sling procedure is an outpatient operation that takes about one hour to complete and the patient is free to go home the same day. After the procedure, we arrange for follow-up sessions with our patients in the doctor’s office to assess the efficacy of the procedure and help with any complications that may arise. So if you are feeling embarrassed by stress urinary incontinence or have tried other measures without success, check with us to find out if the sling procedure can help you overcome the condition. For more information, visit the “St Pete Urology” site.

How do men deal with incontinence?

While a man with urinary incontinence needs to see a urologist for proper and timely treatment, there are certain things he can do on his own to manage the symptoms. In fact, taking these actions will not only prevent and relieve symptoms, but also will help overcome incontinence.Ways of managing urinary incontinence in men include:

1. Keeping a diary

Keeping track of how much fluid you drink, how frequently you have to go to the bathroom, when and how often you leak urine, and anything that triggers your symptoms, such as drinking a lot of coffee, coughing or bending your body in a certain way is an effective way of monitoring your incontinence. Using the diary, your doctor can get a better grip of your symptoms and how they affect your life, and find the right tests necessary for correct diagnosis.

2. Regular double-voiding

Double-voiding is a great way to minimize dribbling. So when you finish urinating, you should wait for a minute or so and then try voiding again. If you succeed to pass urine in the second attempt, you’ll seldom dribble afterward.

3. Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol

Caffeine and alcohol irritate the bladder and often worsen incontinence symptoms. By cutting down the amount of tea, sodas, coffee and alcohol you drink, you’ll make a massive difference with your urinary incontinence symptoms.

4. Quitting smoking

Smoking tobacco aggravates urinary incontinence in men. So the sooner you quit tobacco the better for you.

5. Spacing apart your drinks

Staggering your fluid intake can help to ease the symptoms. For instance, if you are having a lot of trouble at night, drinking less fluid before going to bed might help. And when you have problems during the day, it might help to drink less fluid many hours before you travel or leave home for an event.

6. Avoiding foods that trigger symptoms

Certain foods trigger urinary incontinence symptoms in men. For example, spicy foods and acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus fruits are common culprits. Likewise, artificial sweeteners and chocolate may trigger incontinence. While everyone is different, it’s wise to identify the foods that worsen your symptoms and avoid them.

7. Training the bladder

Training your bladder can help you to control urinary incontinence. You can do this by starting to take scheduled bathroom breaks whether you are feeling the urge to go or not. Then gradually extend the time you take between your bathroom trips, making a conscious effort to tame your symptoms and push yourself to only pass urine every 3 or 4 hours. Bladder training may not give immediate results, but if you persist, you’ll get positive results within a few months.

8. Flexing your bladder muscles

Exercising the right muscles will help strengthen them and improve your bladder control. Because exercising the wrong muscles may increase pressure on your bladder, you should correctly identify the ones you exercise. The right muscles to focus on are those you would use to stop yourself from passing gas.

So how do you flex them? Apply tension on the muscles for 3 seconds, then allow them to relax for another 3 seconds. Build up gradually until you’re able to do three sets of ten repetitions. You can perform these exercises anywhere — at your desk, in bed or when watching TV, but don’t do them when urinating as that can lead to infections. You should do the exercises for 15 minutes per day. While it usually takes 3-6 weeks to achieve the desired effect, positive results may be noticed soon by men who are doing the right exercises frequently.

9. Lose weight and stay hydrated

Excess weight increases pressure on the abdomen and makes urinary incontinence worse. By shedding a few pounds, you can reduce symptoms. Likewise, while it seems a good idea to drink less water in order to prevent leaks, drinking less only makes urine more concentrated and increases bladder irritation, resulting in more urinary incontinence. Therefore, if you’re thirsty, drink some water.

10. Treat constipation

Constipation, together with the strain that comes with it, can negatively affect the nerves that control bladder function. By eating a high-fiber diet and taking the necessary actions to prevent constipation, you may help your incontinence.

11. Speak with your doctor about any medication adverse effects

Some medications and supplements can cause or worsen your incontinence. For instance, sedatives, antidepressants, diuretics and various allergy and cold medicines may elicit urinary problems. So make sure your doctor is aware of the medicines and supplements you’re using and of any adverse effects you’re experiencing.

12. Planning ahead

A lot of men with urinary incontinence are anxious whenever they have to travel, fearing accidental urine leaks. To ease your anxiety when going on a road trip, make sure to map out the route and identify the places you’ll stop at regular intervals to use the bathroom. Going out with a plan will make you confident and less prone to accidental urine leaks.

13. Get support

Urinary incontinence can be both stressful and embarrassing and you may even feel lonely and hopeless. So you should make an effort to remain connected with your family and friends. Joining a support group also may be beneficial. Your doctor can help you find any support groups in your area.

Applying these techniques may help relieve urinary incontinence symptoms. But because on their own these techniques are inadequate for managing urinary incontinence, you should work closely with your doctor to find the best solutions for your condition, particularly if the symptoms are adversely affecting your life. It’s also prudent to always speak with your doctor before you try any of these techniques for managing urinary incontinence. If you’re looking for a urologist near you, then you can always see one of our urologists at Florida’s St Pete Urology in St. Petersburg. For more information on the right treatment plan for urinary incontinence in men, visit the “St. Pete Urology” site.

Bladder Control Problems in Women

Bladder Control Problems in Women

While there are many types of bladder problems in women, including an overactive bladder and urinary incontinence, one of the most common problems related to the bladder is urinary tract infection (UTI).

Urinary tract infection occurs when a bacteria gets into the urethra and then moves into and multiplies in the bladder. The bacteria may even spread to other parts of the body from the bladder, resulting in complications such as blood poisoning and kidney failure.

Causes of urinary tract infections in women

The urethra is located close to the anus, making it easier for bacteria found in the large intestine (such as E. coli) to move from the anus into the urethra. Once inside the urethra, bacteria can move into the bladder and begin to multiply, resulting in inflammation of the bladder. If the infection is not treated, the bacterial infection may spread into the kidney or the blood.

Women have a higher risk of bladder infection than men because their urethra is shorter, allowing bacteria to gain quick access to the bladder. Bacteria also may be introduced into a woman’s urinary tract during sexual intercourse. Other factors that make women more susceptible to UTIs include diabetes, older age, surgery, catheterization, menopause, immobility and improper hygiene.

Symptoms of urinary tract infection in women

Women with UTIs may have the following symptoms:

  1. Cloudy, bloody, dark or strange-smelling urine.
  2. A burning sensation or feeling when urinating.
  3. An intense or frequent urge to urinate, although very little urine comes out when they do.
  4. Cramping, pressure or pain in the lower abdomen or back.
  5. Feeling shaky or tired.
  6. Low-grade fever or chills (indicating that the infection has reached the kidneys).

Seeking for medical help

Even though most urinary tract infections do resolve on their own, it is important that women seek medical help when having symptoms that are very uncomfortable or when their symptoms last for more than 5 days. Similarly, UTIs may require medical help when there is a sudden worsening of fever or of symptoms. Likewise, women who are diabetic or who are pregnant should seek medical help.

During a visit to a urologist or doctor, a urine test may be ordered to check for offending bacteria before antibiotics are given. In some instances, specialized laboratory testing may be necessary and an intravenous urogram (IVU) may be done to evaluate the urinary tract. Another diagnostic option is cystoscopy, a procedure in which a thin flexible tube is used to look into the bladder.

Treatment of UTIs in women

Generally, most cases of urinary tract infections are easy to treat as long as the diagnosis and treatment begins early. Therefore, it is important to visit a urologist as soon as your UTI symptoms worsen or last longer than expected. Treatment is usually done using antibiotics for about 5 days. However, more complicated cases of UTIs, such as those occurring during pregnancy, may call for administration of antibiotics for a longer duration. Even if you get better soon after starting to take antibiotics, make sure to continue the treatment so that all bacteria are killed and to prevent a recurrence of the infection.

The doctor also will recommend that you drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and to relieve symptoms. Paracetamol may be prescribed for relieving UTI pain and discomfort, while methenamine hippurate (which is effective in stopping bacterial growth in the urinary tract) may be used as an alternative treatment in women who cannot use antibiotics. More severe cases of UTIs may require hospital admission, where antibiotics are administered through intravenous (IV) drips.

Prevention of urinary tract infections

Because women are at higher risk of getting UTIs than men, they should always take the necessary steps to prevent the infections. Ways of preventing UTIs include:

  1. Urinating soon after sexual activity.
  2. Drinking copious amounts of fluids.
  3. Practicing proper hygiene.
  4. Avoiding fragrant feminine products (not douching).
  5. Wearing cotton underwear.
  6. Avoiding tight-fitting-pants.
  7. Taking showers instead of baths.
  8. Avoiding bladder-irritating fluids such as alcohol and caffeine.

At St Pete Urology in St Petersburg, Fl., we have treated bladder and urinary tract problems in women for decades. Through our skilled, experienced and professional board-certified urologists, we give the most accurate diagnosis and administer the most effective treatments. If you have a bladder problem or have symptoms of UTIs, come see us for quick relief. For more information on the diagnosis, treatment and help with bladder problems, visit the “St Pete Urology” site.

4 Effective Treatments for Urinary Incontinence in Men

There is no single treatment for urinary incontinence that works for all men. The treatment that your urologist recommends will depend on the type of urinary incontinence you are having and the severity of the symptoms on your life. At St Pete Urology in St Petersburg, Fl, urologists may even consider your lifestyle and your treatment preferences, beginning with the simpler treatment options before going for the complex ones.

In fact, many men usually regain urinary control after changing a few of their habits and engaging in exercises to strengthen their bladder muscles. But if the behavioral treatments fail to yield desirable results, the urologist may choose to apply a continence device or prescribe medications. In some men, surgery is the right treatment for their urinary incontinence.

If there is no cancer, infection or other underlying cause of urinary incontinence that can only be cured by surgery, the urologist will complete the treatment in stages, starting with behavioral changes and performing surgery only as a last resort. Here are the 4 treatments that are effective for urinary incontinence in men.

1. Behavioral treatments

For some men, treatment of urinary incontinence is as simple as planning for regular bathroom trips or limiting fluid intake to certain times of the day. This type of therapy for UI is called bladder training or timed voiding. So at St Pete Urology in St Petersburg, Fl, the urologist may recommend some changes in your urinary habits, diet or lifestyle to help you gain control over your bladder. As you regain control, you will be able to extend the time you take between bathroom trips. Bladder training (timed voiding) also includes Kegel exercises for strengthening pelvic muscles to enable the bladder to hold urine longer.

2. Medicines

Urologists prescribe medicines that can help to improve bladder control in men with urinary incontinence. The medicines work in different ways, with some blocking abnormal nerve signals sent at the wrong time while others slow down urine production. Still other medications help relax bladder muscles or shrink an enlarged prostate. The most common drugs used for urinary incontinence in men include:

(a) Alpha-blockers: Drugs such as Doxazosin (Cardura), Terazosin (Hytrin), Alfzosin (Uroxatral) and Tamsulosin (Flomax) are used to relieve urinary incontinence caused by bladder outlet obstruction and prostate enlargement. These drugs relax the smooth muscles of the bladder neck and prostate, encouraging the normal flow of urine and preventing abnormal contractions of the bladder, which may cause incontinence.

(b) Imipramine: The drug Tofranil, which belongs to the tricyclic antidepressants class, works by relaxing muscles and blocking nerve signals that might lead to bladder spasms. This helps to relieve urinary incontinence in men.

(c) Antispasmodics: Drugs such as tolterodine (Detrol LA), trospium chloride (Sanctura), solifenacin succinate (VESIcare), darifenacin (Enablex), oxybutynin (Ditropan XL) and Finasteride (Proscar) work by relaxing bladder muscles and relieving muscle spasms, which in turn helps to relieve urinary incontinence.

(d) 5-alpha reductase inhibitors: Drugs such as dutasteride (Avodart) and finasteride (Proscar) inhibit the production of DHT, a male hormone believed to be responsible for prostatic enlargement. When administered, the 5-alpha reductase inhibitors relieve urinary incontinence through the shrinking of an enlarged prostate.

3. Self-catheterization

Urologists at St Pete Urology in St. Petersburg may recommend self-catheterization for men having overflow incontinence due to a weak bladder or a blockage. The catheter (a thin, hollow tube) is inserted through the urethra to reach the bladder and help drain the bladder in men having urinary incontinence. In some cases, urologists may recommend self-catheterization when their evaluations have established that surgery is not ideal for their patients.

4. Surgical treatments

If you are suffering from urinary incontinence because of a nerve-damaging event, such as radical prostatectomy or spinal cord injury, then surgery is the best treatment for the condition. The surgery performed may be a urinary diversion, male sling or artificial sphincter.

(a) Urinary diversion surgery: If all the bladder function has been lost or the bladder must be removed after nerve damage, the urologist may consider an operation to create a urinary diversion. During this procedure, the surgeon will create a reservoir by removing a small piece of your small intestine and then redirecting the ureters to the reservoir. A stoma (an opening in the lower abdomen that is used to drain urine into a bag or through a catheter) also may be created by the surgeon.

(b) Male sling surgery: In the sling procedure, the surgeon boosts the support for the urethra by wrapping it with a strip of material and then attaching the ends of the strip to your pelvic bone. The sling will ensure there is constant pressure on the urethra and that the urethra does not open unless the patient consciously decides to release the urine.

(c) Artificial sphincter surgery: At other times, the urologist may decide to implant a device (artificial sphincter) that can keep the urethra closed until the patient reaches the bathroom and is ready to pass urine. This operation helps men with urinary incontinence due to weak sphincter muscles or nerve damage that has impaired the functioning of the sphincter muscle.

At St Pete Urology in St Petersburg, Fl, we know that urinary incontinence in men is an underreported and under-diagnosed problem, as many patients are too embarrassed to seek treatment. We apply a personalized, friendly, compassionate and multidisciplinary approach in the screening, diagnosis and treatment of urological problems. This approach ensures that all types of urinary incontinence are correctly diagnosed and treated promptly. If you suspect that you or your loved one is suffering from urinary incontinence, visit St Pete Urology for effective treatment. For more information on urological disorders, visit the “St Pete Urology” site.

What is Urinary Incontinence in Men?

What is Urinary Incontinence in MenAccidental or unintentional leakage of urine is called urinary incontinence (UI). While urinary incontinence in men is not a disease, it is usually a symptom of an underlying urinary tract problem, such as overactive bladder muscles, damaged or weak bladder muscles, nerve damage, and certain prostate conditions. In men, urinary incontinence can occur at any age, with young boys being slower than girls in developing bladder control and being more likely than girls to experience bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis). However, due to anatomical differences, adult men are less likely to experience urinary incontinence than adult women. In adult men, the prevalence of urinary incontinence increases with age, though UI is not an inevitable part of aging in men.Reasons for the occurrence of urinary incontinence in men

Urinary incontinence can happen when:

  1. The bladder muscles squeeze at the wrong time or if they squeeze too hard.
  2. The muscles around the urethra are either weak or damaged, allowing urine leakage even when you do not have a problem with your bladder squeezing at the wrong times.
  3. You frequently experience incomplete emptying of the bladder when you void, increasing the volume of urine in the bladder significantly and resulting in loss of urine when the bladder gets too full.
  4. There is a blockage of the urethra which causes urine build-up in the bladder and results in eventual leakage.

Types of urinary incontinence in men

Urinary incontinence can be either a short-term problem or a long-term issue. Short-term urinary incontinence in men is usually caused by an underlying health problem or an ongoing treatment while long-term (chronic) incontinence may be caused by a wide range of physiological problems. The types of urinary incontinence in men include:

  1. Stress incontinence: Leakage of urine when a man sneezes, coughs, laughs, lifts something, changes position, or performs an activity that strains or puts stress on his bladder.
  2. Urge incontinence: It is an urge to urinate that is usually so strong that a man can’t make it to the toilet in time. This type of urinary incontinence can happen when the bladder squeezes at the wrong time, resulting in loss of urine even when the bladder has only a small quantity of urine. Overactive bladder is a common example of urinary incontinence, though not all men with overactive bladder will experience leakage of urine.
  3. Overflow incontinence: Occurs when a man has the urge to urinate but can only release a small amount of urine at a time. Since the bladder does not empty fully as it should, the urine remaining in the bladder leaks at a later time.
  4. Functional incontinence: Occurs when a man cannot make it to the bathroom in time either because he is not able to walk on his own or because something prevents him from reaching the bathroom promptly.
  5. Total incontinence: When a man’s sphincter muscles can no longer work, urine will always leak and the man will have no control on when to urinate. This is called total incontinence.

Causes of urinary incontinence in men

Different types of urine incontinence have different causes.

  1. Stress incontinence: Can occur after the prostate gland is removed or when there is damage to the nerves or the sphincter, which reduces the support afforded to the lower part of the bladder.
  2. Urge incontinence: Occurs when bladder muscles squeeze extremely hard and make it difficult for the sphincter to hold back urine. As a result of hard squeezing, a man will experience a very strong urge to urinate.
  3. Overflow incontinence: Can occur when something blocks the urethra, resulting in the build-up of urine in the bladder. Overflow incontinence may be caused by enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, a narrow urethra, or weakened bladder muscles.

In men, urinary incontinence is usually related to prostate problems and various treatments. Nevertheless, excessive drinking of alcohol may make incontinence worse while over-the-counter or prescription drugs such as antidepressants, sedatives, diuretics, narcotics and sedatives can affect the type of symptoms experienced.

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis of urinary incontinence involves a medical history and a physical examination, but also may include keeping a bladder diary. Your urologist will examine you physically and ask some questions about your past health and current symptoms before ordering any tests. Usually these steps will enable your urologist to determine the cause of your urinary incontinence. But at other times, particularly when your symptoms have more than one cause or have an unclear cause, the urologist may include urodynamic testing and an ultrasound in order to come up with a more accurate diagnosis.

The treatment offered will depend on the type of incontinence and how the condition is affecting your life. Generally, urologists treat urinary incontinence in men using medicines, behavioral treatments (such as Kegel exercises and bladder training), surgery, or a blend of two or more of these therapies. A few men may require surgery to regain their bladder control, but most men do not. Apart from the treatments offered by the urologist, there are a few things that men can do at home to help them regain control over their bladders. Such actions include:

  1. Cutting back on caffeine-containing drinks, such as tea and coffee. Alcohol should be reduced to not more than 1 drink per day while fizzy drinks such as soda pop also should be reduced.
  2. Eating foods highly rich in fiber to prevent constipation.
  3. Keeping a healthy weight.
  4. Stopping cigarette smoking. Talk to your urologist about stop-smoking medicines and programs.
  5. Practicing double voiding whenever you urinate. This means trying to lose as much urine as you can, relaxing for a short while, then going again.
  6. Visiting the bathroom many times per day. It is important to wear clothes that you can remove with ease and make your route to the bathroom as clear and quick as possible.
  7. Engaging in simple pelvic-floor exercises, such as Kegels.
  8. Using a diary to monitor your urinary symptoms and any leakage of urine. This will help you and your urologist choose the best treatment for you.

Are you experiencing symptoms of urinary incontinence? Do not feel embarrassed to inform your urologist about them. Most men with urinary incontinence can be helped or effectively cured. At St Pete Urology located in St Petersburg, Fl., we fix all urinary incontinence issues affecting men. We have done this for many decades and have some of the best technologies and techniques to help men regain control over their bladders. For more information, visit the “St Pete Urology” site.

4 Best Treatments for Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder (OAB) is not just an embarrassing and annoying condition. It can have serious impact on every aspect of your life. For instance, it can compel you to avoid vacations, dinner outings and other social events, miss out on valuable time with friends and family, or lose out on many hours of sleep. Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to treat the condition and restore your life back to normal. Minor cases of OAB can be effectively treated with pelvic muscle exercises, bladder training and absorbent pads, while severe cases can be successfully treated with medication and surgery.

The 4 best treatments for overactive bladder are:

1. Bladder training

As a non-drug remedy with almost no side effects, bladder training helps to change how you use the bathroom and allows you to gain control over your bladder. Through scheduled voiding (urinating at set times of the day), you can learn to control the urge and gradually overcome embarrassing symptoms. Bladder training should begin with waiting for a few minutes before voiding and progressively increase to one hour or more between your bathroom visits.

2. Pelvic floor exercises

Carefully selected exercises can strengthen muscles that control urination and in turn relieve overactive bladder symptoms. During pelvic exercises, such as biofeedback and kegel exercises, you voluntarily tighten, hold and relax muscles responsible for starting and stopping urine flow and gradually regain control over your bladder.

3. Medications

If a specific cause is identified, overactive bladder can effectively be treated using appropriate drugs. For instance, if a urinary tract infection is the underlying cause, antibiotics can be used to alleviate the symptoms. Likewise, topical application of estrogen vaginal cream can be used to relieve OAB symptoms associated with atrophic urethritis.

Drugs commonly used to treat overactive bladder include:

  • (a) Anticholinergics: This group of drugs relieves symptoms by blocking nerve signals associated with involuntary contraction of bladder muscles. The drugs also reduce the urge to go to the bathroom and increase bladder capacity. Examples of anticholinergics are Darifenacin (Enablex), Tolterodine (Detrol), Fesoterodine (Toviaz), Trospium (Sanctura), Oxybutynin (Oxytrol) and Solifenacin (Vesicare).
  • (b) Antidepressant imipramine hydrochloride (Tofranil), which relaxes the muscles of the bladder and relieves symptoms.
  • (c) Botox: When injected into the bladder muscles, Botox causes them to relax and minimizes involuntary muscle contractions. Botox also boosts bladder capacity. However, Botox is only recommended when oral medications, bladder training and exercises have failed.

4. Surgery

Urologists opt for surgery as a last resort when medications and behavioral therapy have failed. There are many surgical options available for treating overactive bladder, including sacral nerve neuromodulation and percutaneous tibial stimulation, which typically are used for severe overactive bladder symptoms. For successful treatment of OAB, urologists often combine two or more treatments such as combining behavioral interventions with oral medications.

Other measures for alleviating overactive bladder symptoms include:

  1. Limiting the intake of bladder irritants such as caffeine and alcohol.
  2. Cutting down excess weight.
  3. Avoiding spicy foods, citrus fruits, chocolate and tomatoes.
  4. Avoiding artificial sweeteners, which tend to aggravate symptoms.

At St Pete Urology, we have successfully treated overactive bladder for decades. Through open and candid conversations with patients, carefully selected treatments that depend on the underlying cause of symptoms and patient-oriented goals, we can help you to get back to your old routine quickly. Visit us today for evaluation and help with your overactive bladder symptoms. For more information, visit the “St Pete Urology” site.

What is Overactive Bladder?

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition defined by a set of urinary symptoms related to the frequency and control of urination. Most cases of overactive bladder are characterized by a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate even when the bladder is not full (urinary urgency), passing urine 8 or more times daily without excessive fluid intake (urinary frequency), and involuntary loss of urine immediately after onset of an urgent need to urinate (urge incontinence). In the United States, the condition affects at least 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women, with about 33 million Americans having bothersome overactive bladder.

Annoying and embarrassing problem

Untreated overactive bladder comes with symptoms that can cause serious embarrassment and get in the way of your social life, work, exercise and sleep. For instance, with lots of bathroom trips associated with the condition, you may begin to shy away from social events or everyday activities for fear of not finding a bathroom when you need one. As you refrain from going out with friends or engaging in everyday activities, you start to feel lonely and isolated and may even experience relationship problems with your spouse and family. Overactive bladder also can rob you of a good night’s sleep and leave you tired and depressed. Likewise, frequent leakage of urine can lead to infections or skin problems.

Causes of overactive bladder

At St Pete Urology, we are keen on identifying the underlying causes of an overactive bladder in order to boost treatment outcomes. We recognize that while an overactive bladder is quite common in older adults, it is not a normal part of aging but a treatable condition with various causes. Generally, OAB occurs when bladder muscles begin to contract involuntarily even when the volume of urine in the bladder is low. It is the involuntary contractions that cause the urgent need to pass urine. The most common causes of an overactive bladder include:
Neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.

  1. Catheter use.
  2. Obstructions to bladder outflow, such as enlarged prostate.
  3. Pelvic organ prolapse.
  4. Weakened or stretched pelvic muscles.
  5. Weakened or stretched bladder muscles.
  6. Incomplete emptying of bladder.
  7. Excess consumption of alcohol or caffeine.
  8. Structural problems with bladder.
  9. Stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
  10. Hip problems or hip surgery.

When to see a doctor

If your symptoms disrupt your life or cause distress, speak to your doctor about available treatments. While discussing such a private issue with your urologist may not be easy, doing so may be the beginning of restoring your life back to normal. Make sure to see a doctor if the symptoms disrupt your social interactions, work, sleep or everyday activities.

Safe, confidential and effective treatment

If you have overactive bladder, you should not allow the symptoms to weigh you down. Instead of feeling embarrassed, isolating yourself or limiting your work and social life, you should see a urologist for a brief evaluation to reveal the specific cause of your symptoms and help you to get relief. At St Pete Urology, we recognize that you may feel discouraged from seeking treatment because of the sensitive nature of the condition. For this reason, we offer confidential and patient-oriented services to suit your needs. Our candid and private conversations will help us explore your condition, identify the underlying cause and provide the right treatment. We help with all urinary incontinence problems in men and women, but evaluate men with urinary incontinence further to rule out prostate problems. For more information, visit the “St Pete Urology: site.