Adults should urinate at least four to six times a day, but occasionally, the pressures of modern life force us to clench and hold it in. How bad is this habit, and how long can our bodies withstand it? This fun You Tube video explains all.
Charitable service, PromoCon, has changed its name to Bladder and Bowel UK as part of a major brand overhaul and investment in its corporate identity.
The service, established over 20 years ago, is the only UK national helpline service providing information and support for adults and children with bladder and bowel dysfunction, their carers and the professionals who support them. The name change comes in a bid to make the service easier to find for anyone seeking support for bladder and bowel issues.
With an expert team of nurse specialists and product advisors, Bladder and Bowel UK provides clinical and product advice, signposting to additional support services, training, consultancy and much more.
Karen Irwin, Nurse Specialist and manager of the newly named Bladder and Bowel UK service, says: “I am delighted at the change of name; it is a landmark moment for the charity and will ensure the service is much more accessible for people living with bladder and bowel conditions as well as medical professionals and the wider healthcare community.
“With PromoCon being so well established among the medical and healthcare community and so familiar to people living with bladder and bowel conditions, we felt it was time for a brand refresh to bring our image up to date, improve our communications and raise the profile of the service nationally. In addition to the name change to Bladder and Bowel UK, we are also enhancing our online and telephone support systems to improve the quality of the service provided.
“Since the Bladder and Bowel Foundation ceased operation earlier this year we have experienced a surge in visitors seeking advice from us and we wanted to make our offering as user-friendly and understandable as possible to support both the medical community and individuals and groups looking for assistance and information.”
Bladder and Bowel UK is part of the wider charitable organisation, Disabled Living, and provides information about services, practical solutions and equipment advice for those who need it.
A helpline is available for patients, health care professionals and anyone who requires further information or support. Call Bladder and Bowel UK on 0161 607 8219 or visit the website on www.bladderandboweluk.co.uk.
When embarrassing bladder troubles stopped rugby-playing mum-of-two Claire Cartwright from taking part in the sport she loved she decided it was time to tackle the problem head on.
Forty-three-year-old Claire had suffered with bladder weakness since being a teenager but the problem worsened with the birth of her two sons and, despite months of pelvic floor exercises, began having more and more impact on her life.
She explained: “It got increasingly worse to the point where I would leak if I coughed, sneezed or made any sudden movement. I would never play with my children outside if it meant running or jumping and would never run for a bus or train. The thought of having to suffer any longer wasn’t an option for me, I wanted it sorted ASAP and surgery was my best option. For many years I accepted the problem as something that happened to some women after having children. I felt ashamed and felt it was my fault as I probably hadn’t done enough pelvic floor exercises when I was pregnant. I didn’t talk about it with anyone else but now I am sure there are many women out there having exactly the same feelings and I want to tell them there is no need to suffer in silence.
Yes it is embarrassing but I am sharing my story in the hope that other women will find the courage to talk about it and get help – I only wish I had done it years ago.”
A recent article published by netdoctor in collaboration with TENA Lady discusses how your bladder can reveal a surprising amount of information on the state of your body and wellbeing.
1. Pain on urination
Any pain with urine is a sign that something is wrong. Usually this is a sign of infection, which causes a burning sensation when passing urine. Always seek medical advice for prompt treatment.
2. Urinating too much
Passing too much urine is not just inconvenient, it can also be significant as a symptom. If you are passing a tiny amount of urine very often, up to every 30 minutes in some cases, this is usually a sign of a urine tract infection. Certain medications, such as those used for blood pressure, may cause frequent urination. The need to urinate often, along with a significant thirst, can sometimes be the first signs of diabetes. Overactive bladder syndrome causes a number of bladder issues such as the need to urinate often.
That sudden and overwhelming feeling that you must find a toilet is called bladder urgency. It can be a temporary symptom when you have a urinary infection. However, for many women who experience some form of incontinence, the urge can be a more permanent side effect. Usually the cause is an overactive bladder.
Unexpected leaks from bladder weakness are exceedingly common and estimated to affect between 3 and 6 million people in the UK. Leaks can occur when there is uncontrolled passing of urine, due to pressure on the abdomen, and this is known as stress incontinence.
5. Blood in urine
It is never normal to have blood in your urine so always consult a doctor. Often, blood in the urine is caused by an infection of the urinary system or bladder, like cystitis. Similarly, if you have kidney stones, you will experience pain and blood when you pass urine. Passing blood with no pain is an important symptom. This can be a sign of bladder cancer and must always be urgently checked out with your doctor.
A specialist incontinence service has been recommended as a blue print for others to follow nationally. The clinic has helped 1,000 women in Cornwall since it began two years ago. Farah Lone, a Consultant Gynaecologist who set it up has won a National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) award for its impact.
More than 5 million women in the UK are affected by the problem, England’s Chief Medical Officer said.
A spokesman for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said: “Large numbers of women are affected by differing degrees of urinary incontinence and it is those with the most complex cases that are referred to the team.”
Sharon Cooper, 53, said she had surgery after her incontinence stopped her from doing her job properly at a school. “I thought it would be better to have an operation and more quality of life,” she said. “I couldn’t walk my dog before because of it and I couldn’t go out dancing with my friends.”
Dr Lone said: “There are many causes of urinary incontinence and we work closely with uro-gynaecology and colorectal experts at both Bristol and Plymouth hospitals. “Most women who need specialist surgery can now have that here in Cornwall rather than having to travel out of county.”
An ‘Easy Step Guide’ has been developed for referral to simplify the pathway for patients and regular teaching sessions with GPs have also been set up.
The work Miss Lone has developed in Cornwall through her specialism is one of a handful of similar services around the UK. She will work on the future national development of models of care and research in the field, having been appointed to the Royal College of Gynaecologists’ Scientific Advisory Committee.
Incontinence is one of the women’s health issues that Dame Sally Davies, the Government’s first female chief medical officer, wants women to discuss more openly.
Women are being urged to stop suffering in silence when it comes to embarrassing health issues like incontinence and menopause.
Dame Sally says: “We need to challenge taboos around the menopause and incontinence to make sure embarrassment is never a barrier to better health. Problems ‘below the waist’ are not generally seen as attractive topics for public discussion, and women are often reluctant to seek help for common disabling conditions. This needs to end – women should never suffer in silence. Breaking the taboo around these subjects will help more women come forward and get the care they need.”
Dame Sally said that incontinence affects more than five million women in the UK and along with prolapse, costs the NHS more than £200 million a year in treatment and support.
Women should not be afraid to discuss incontinence with their doctor, and the earlier they do, the better, she said.
A variety of treatments can help, she said, including weight loss, physiotherapy and medication.
The report has been welcomed by journalist and campaigner Kath Sansom, who set up awareness campaign, Sling The Mesh, to make women aware of the risks of a mesh sling operation given to women to fix incontinence, often suffered after childbirth. Kath said: “For some mums the pelvic floor remains strong but for others, around 40 per cent, they never get back to what they were. If you had a big baby, suffered from spd or had a long labour you are more likely to fall prey. Even actress Kate Winslet has joked how she suffers this after childbirth. I would urge women to seek help, but if offered a mesh operation to fix it, then do some serious research and be aware of the risks, also know repairs can be made using the body’s natural tissue.”
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage is one of a team of MPs meeting in Parliament with North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay and Kath next month to discuss the complications of mesh operations. She said: “The impact of mesh surgery to treat stress urinary incontinence has caused serious unintended medical problems for many women throughout the UK. “That is why I am working alongside other MPs to see how we can tackle this complex issue and ensure that women who have suffered from complications associated with mesh surgery are listened to and supported.”
“I am incontinent.”
When people discuss the things that scare them about aging, the idea of not having control over one’s bladder is typically among the pack. We imagine that when we get to that point, our life may not be worth living.
Of course, that’s not the case. But if your parent is struggling with bladder control they might be embarrassed to talk about it. Here’s a few ways to help them if you suspect incontinence is an issue.
1. Bring it up – If you notice it might be an issue, pick a time when you can sit down privately to discuss the matter. Opening the door to discussing the problem can be a great way to let them know it is a normal problem for many people.
2. Offer solutions – Once you’ve discussed it with your parent, try to figure out how you can help them manage their incontinence. This might require you to do a little research on your own. What products are available that could help your parent? What is the cost of incontinence aids? There can be a lot of variables. It is important not to make any assumptions.
3. Suggest a doctor visit – It can be very difficult to convince a parent to go to the doctor, especially over something that can be seen as embarrassing, such as incontinence. But it is wise to suggest it because incontinence can be a sign of a more serious health problem. It also can be treatable in some cases.
Incontinence can affect people at all ages for many different reasons. And people live very normal, active lives despite the condition. If you suspect your parent is incontinent, it can be a tough topic to bring up. But it is important to do so so that your parent can enjoy a full and active life.
In a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, actress Kate Winslet revealed that she suffers from stress incontinence so can’t jump on trampolines anymore.
“When you’ve had a few children, you know, it’s just what happens.”
‘It’s bloody awful’
Kate says that she experiences bladder leakages when sneezing or if she jumps on a trampoline:
“It’s amazing, two sneezes I’m fine, three… it’s game over. It’s bloody awful, especially if you’re wearing a skirt!”
“I can’t jump on trampolines any more, I wet myself.”
Most women aren’t as open as Kate about their incontinence, but the truth is that up to one in every three women suffer from the condition at some point in their lives, according to a study published in Reviews in Urology.
Women who have had children, especially those who have had multiple natural births, are at a greater risk of developing stress incontinence as are women who overweight or over the age of 60.
Like Kate, these women experience urine leakages when the bladder is under additional pressure. Common triggers include coughing, sneezing and jumping.
Watch Kate open up about her incontinence on the Graham Norton show:
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