Women’s Urological Health – Common Issues and Solutions

Women’s Urological Health – Common Issues and Solutions

Women have unique urological issues that can impact their quality of life. These problems can be caused by a variety of factors such as hormone changes, pregnancy and childbirth or aging.

Some women may avoid addressing these issues, but seeking help from the best Urologist in Melbourne, is the key to improving one’s quality of life. Some common urological health concerns include urinary tract infections, overactive bladder and pelvic pain/interstitial cystitis.

Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition that causes sudden urges to urinate and sometimes urine leakage. It may also lead to frequent urination, such as multiple trips to the bathroom during the day and night, or nocturia (getting up to urinate during the sleep hours).

OAB can be caused by many things. Some are related to a person’s lifestyle, such as drinking too much water or taking diuretic medications for high blood pressure or diabetes. These medications can make the bladder hold more urine and cause a strong urge to urinate. Other factors that can cause OAB are aging and menopause, which can affect the way the brain and bladder work together.

Urinary tract infections can also trigger OAB symptoms. A health care provider can diagnose the condition with a urinalysis, which can find bacteria, white blood cells and other substances in urine. A physical exam and a history of the symptoms are also important to identify the cause.

Symptoms of overactive bladder can be treated with simple changes in behavior. Drinking more fluids, using a schedule for bathroom trips and using pelvic floor muscles can help manage symptoms. If these measures are not successful, a urologist for men and women or female pelvic medicine specialist can offer injections to relax the bladder muscle. These are usually given in a doctor’s office.

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Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The pelvic floor muscles support the rectum like a sling an`d must contract and relax to allow for bladder, bowel and sexual functions. Problems with these muscles can cause urinary frequency, urgency and leakage, as well as pain in the lower back, pelvic area or genitals. Pelvic floor dysfunction c
an be caused by a number of things, including traumatic injuries (like car accidents or falls), previous pelvic surgery, births and difficult childbirth, and aging, when the muscles tend to weaken.

A weakened pelvic floor can also lead to prolapse of the rectum, which may result in a pocket or pouch in the anus and/or pelvic region. This can be painful and may feel like something is “falling out.” Prolapse of the coccyx, or tailbone, is called coccodynia and is usually due to recent or long-standing trauma or by poor blood flow to the area. It is characterized by distinct pain that is elicited by pressure or manipulation of the coccyx and often worsens during and after bowel movements.

It can be embarrassing to discuss urological problems such as urine leakage, overactive bladder or pelvic pain, which can deter some patients from seeking treatment. But a visit to a urologist, who can identify the problem and offer treatment options, is a good first step toward relief.

Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that most often affects the lower part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. A UTI can cause pain or burning when you urinate, blood in your urine, a fever and chills, a feeling that you need to urinate right away, and painful or sore muscles in the back or pelvis. You may also have a bad smell or cloudy appearance to your urine.

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Women are more likely to have a UTI than men, and many people get repeat infections. This is because the tube that goes from the bladder to the outside of the body (the urethra) is shorter in women. That makes it easier for bacteria from the vagina or rectum to travel up into the bladder.

If left untreated, a UTI can spread from the bladder to the kidneys and can be life-threatening. Treatment usually involves antibiotics, which destroy the bacteria and make you feel better. Follow the directions on your prescription, and be sure to drink plenty of water to flush the bacteria out. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking any medicine for a bladder infection.

Bladder Leakage

Urinary leakage can be more than just an annoyance. It can be a sign of serious problems like pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or bladder cancer and it affects women of all ages. Leakage can happen during exercise, coughing, sneezing or laughing, but also during normal activity because of conditions that put pressure on the bladder such as arthritis, childbirth or excess body weight.

The most common cause of leakage is urinary incontinence, especially stress incontinence. This occurs when there is a sudden and unexpected extra pressure on the bladder and muscles involved in controlling the urine, such as lifting heavy objects or having a baby. Women who have had a child are more likely to have this type of incontinence because of the strain pregnancy and childbirth can have on the pelvic floor muscles. This problem can also occur as women age because the hormones that control these muscles change during menopause.

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Over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers are often enough to treat these problems, but for more severe symptoms there are surgical options available. These include urethral inserts that are placed in the urethra before activity, pessaries that fit inside the vagina, radiofrequency treatment that heats tissue to make it firmer and sacral nerve modulation, which is an implanted device that sends electrical pulses to the bladder nerves to reduce frequency, urgency and pain. Surgery to enlarge the bladder, remove the bladder or reroute the flow of urine may be needed if these therapies do not provide relief.

Perera Urology
Suite 118/55 Flemington Rd,
North Melbourne VIC 3051
1300 884 673
www.pereraurology.com

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