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Light bladder leakage: Know the facts

Also called incontinence, light bladder leakage (LBL) is a common condition that affects millions of women. Here’s a look at this common and often misunderstood issue.

Causes, treatments and prevention
Restroom sign

Stress incontinence vs. urge incontinence

There are two common types of bladder leakage: stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

Stress incontinence happens when a small amount of urine is expelled from the body because of a brief “stress” to the body, such as sneezing, coughing or laughing. These sometimes violent actions will result in light leakage.

Urge incontinence occurs when a person can no longer control the “urge” to urinate. The sensation can arise unexpectedly and can be caused by health changes (like menopause or cancer) or a person’s surroundings (for example, if they’re near a faucet and hear running water).

Common causes of bladder leakage

A few of the most common reasons someone can experience urinary incontinence include the following:

  • Chronic coughing. The constant, involuntary tensing up of the body that coughing results in can cause small amounts of urine to escape.
  • Exercising. Jarring body movements like running or weightlifting can result in a sudden and light loss of urine.
  • Weight gain. An increased amount of weight can put stress on a woman’s pelvic floor, thereby leading to a loss of urine at unexpected times. Pregnant women often experience this.
  • Drinking too much liquid. Drinking too much or, surprisingly, too little water on a given day can result in light bladder leakage. Too much water increases the sensation to urinate, while too little can impede the proper functioning of the bladder.
  • Menopause. Major hormonal shifts, like a dip in estrogen, can weaken the pelvic floor.

What you can do about urinary incontinence

While no surefire way to prevent bladder leakage exists, there are a few things you can do to improve your condition:

  • Drink a consistent amount of water on a regular basis. This will help keep your urinary tract system in tip-top shape.
  • Perform Kegels. These vaginal exercises strengthen the pelvic floor walls and sphincter, and can help them adapt to extra weight gained as a result of hormonal changes or pregnancy.
  • Talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to prescribe medication to control the condition (if necessary). Your physician can also point you in the direction of the right light bladder leakage pad to use.

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