Bladder problems

Here are some common terms:

  • Urinary incontinence is the accidental leakage of urine (wee).
  • Stress urinary incontinence is the leakage of urine when you increase your intra-abdominal pressure like during a sneeze, cough or exercise.
  • Urinary urgency incontinence is the sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an accidental loss of urine (wee).
  • Bladder urgency is the sudden urge to urinate.
  • Increased frequency is the need to go for a wee more often than normal.

The symptoms can be distressing and can make it difficult to go about your normal routine, but you do not have to put up with these symptoms. There are things that can be done to improve and prevent them and there are specialist Physiotherapists who can help.

Self help and advice

  • Start exercising your pelvic floor muscles 3 times a day.
  • Make sure that you have good bowel health. Drink 2 litres of water a day and eat a healthy diet which includes fresh fruit, vegetables and fibre.
  • Avoid caffeine, fizzy drinks or acidic drinks such as fresh pineapple or orange juice, as these can make urgency symptoms worse.
  • Avoid constipation and straining as this will put extra pressure on your pelvic floor. See your GP or pharmacist if you do become constipated
  • If you have an urgent need to rush to the toilet, try and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and then relax them to see if this will control the urge and prevent leakage.
  • Make sure you fully empty your bladder and don’t strain. Try to take your time and relax on the toilet. Sometimes rocking backwards and forwards or applying a gentle pressure on your lower tummy with your hand can help you to fully empty the bladder.

For guidance on how to correctly perform pelvic floor exercises please click on the video. If you have bladder problems, start pelvic floor exercises before seeing a pelvic health physiotherapist. If the exercises don’t seem to be helping please see your GP for a referral or use the self-referral form.

More information

Pelvic floor exercises for women - North Bristol NHS Trust