Diagnosing & Treating Bladder Issues
Bladder issues include conditions such as incontinence, urinary tract infections (UTI), and bladder pain syndrome (interstitial cystitis). At Dignity Health, our women’s health experts understand that bladder issues can affect quality of life, including emotional well-being, sexual health, and daily activities. Women of any age can have bladder issues, and we can provide the care you need.
Use our online tool to Find a Doctor at Dignity Health in Bay Area who specializes in caring for women with bladder issues.
What Causes Bladder Problems?
Bladder issues are more common in women than men, although men can still develop some types of bladder problems.
Risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing a bladder problem include:
- Being overweight. Being overweight increases the risk of bladder problems, especially incontinence.
- Childbirth. Vaginal childbirth can stretch and weaken the pelvic muscles that affect the urinary system. Certain medical procedures associated with delivery, such as the use of forceps and episiotomy, also increase the risk bladder issues.
- Hormonal changes. Bladder problems are more common after menopause due to hormonal shifts.
- Medical conditions. Diabetes increases the risk of urinary tract infections.
- Pregnancy. Some of the muscles that control the tube that urine travels down to leave the body (urethra) and bladder can be stretched out of shape during pregnancy.
Incontinence & Other Symptoms of Bladder Issues
Specific signs depend on the bladder issue and severity of the problem. Symptoms vary from woman to woman, but may include:
- Cloudy urine
- Frequent urination (more than eight times during the day or more than two times at night)
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Painful urination
Pressure or pain in the lower abdomen
- Sudden urge to urinate
- Urinary leakage
Treatment of Bladder Issues at Dignity Health
What bladder issues treatment your doctor recommends depends on the specific problem. Medical history, lifestyle habits, and risk factors may also play a role. Common treatment options offered at Dignity Health include:
- Lifestyle modifications, including eating a healthy diet and losing weight if you are overweight can sometimes decrease bladder issues and improve your overall health. Other useful lifestyle modifications include drinking fewer caffeinated beverages and drinking plenty of water or cranberry juice. Bladder training can also be used to treat incontinence.
- Medical devices that deliver electric current to specific muscles and nerves of the urinary tract. Doctors may use these devices to treat overactive bladder. A pessary — a small plastic ring that supports the bladder or urethra — is used to treat incontinence.
- Medication to prevent or treat urinary tract infections. Other medications are used to relax the muscles that affect the bladder and decrease the urge to urinate.
- Surgery, such as incontinence sling surgery or bladder suspension, can help with bladder issues if other treatments have failed to provide relief.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our caring doctors to find the right treatment for you.