It is a common misconception about aging, especially in women, that urinary incontinence or urine leaks are normal and unavoidable. While it can be true that the risk of urinary leakages can increase with age, it is not considered normal. It typically indicates an underlying health issue that should be addressed. Usually, some form of urinary incontinence, a treatable condition, is to blame. Here’s what you need to know about leaks so you can get to the bottom of your symptoms and enjoy your life leak-free.

What Causes Urine Leaks

These leaks can have several causes, including medical conditions, physical disabilities, or habits. Some of the most common causes of leaks with aging include:

  • Pelvic Floor Weakness: The pelvic floor muscles can weaken over time, often due to childbirth, surgery, or lack of exercise. This weakness can result in stress urinary incontinence, which causes leaking when you cough, sneeze, or laugh.
  • Medications: Certain medications prescribed to improve other conditions, such as diuretics, sedatives, and muscle relaxants, can contribute to urine leaks.
  • Chronic Conditions: Certain health conditions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease can affect the bladder’s normal function and cause urine leaks.
  • Hormonal Changes: Decreasing levels of estrogen found in post-menopausal women can affect bladder control and lead to leaks.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Lifestyle factors like obesity, smoking, and poor diet can contribute to urine leaks.

Treating Urine Leaks

You do not have to live the rest of your life struggling with urine leaks. Many different treatments, ranging from lifestyle modifications to surgery, are available. If lifestyle modifications like diet, exercise, and avoiding cigarette smoking are not beneficial in reducing your bladder leaks, here are some other treatments available to help reduce your symptoms.

  • Pelvic Floor Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening your pelvic floor can benefit those struggling with leaks, as weakened pelvic floor muscles can significantly cause urinary incontinence. Your doctor may recommend kegel exercises or a consult with a pelvic floor physical therapist to help you learn strengthening exercises to improve your urine leaks.
  • Medications: Medications are available to help women who struggle with leaks despite lifestyle modifications and pelvic floor exercises. Not everyone is a good candidate for medications, so it is important to speak with your doctor about which medication option may be right for you. Medications your doctor may recommend include:
    • Anticholinergic medications include oxybutynin (Ditropan XL), tolterodine (Detrol), darifenacin (Enablex), fesoterodine (Toviaz), solifenacin (Vesicare), and trospium chloride. These medications work by calming an overactive bladder and can help reduce leaks.
    • Myrbetriq (Mirabegron): This medication relaxes the bladder muscles, which can help the bladder empty more completely and reduce urine leaks.
  • Sacral Neuromodulation: If medications have not been enough to reduce your bladder leaks, your doctor may recommend sacral neuromodulation. This treatment uses mild pulses of electricity to stimulate the nerves that control the bladder, reducing leaks.
  • Surgery: If all other treatments do not help to reduce your leaks, surgical options are available depending on the cause, frequency, and severity of your leaks.

When to See a Doctor

The bottom line is that urine leaks are abnormal, and you do not need to live with them. If you are struggling with bothersome urine leaks or incontinence, it’s time to see a doctor. A urologist can diagnose the specific cause of the leaks and help you formulate a plan to treat them.

Don’t continue to live with urine leaks – schedule an appointment today!