During November, which is Bladder Health Month, the American Urological Association is urging people to talk with their physicians about any symptoms they may have of possible urological conditions. These include:
- Incontinence. More than 15 million Americans experience either stress incontinence -- the loss of urine during such activities as coughing, sneezing, or even walking or running -- or urge incontinence -- frequent, uncontrollable urges to urinate. Both are treatable, often with minimally invasive management such as fluid management, bladder training, pelvic floor exercises and medication. If those fail, surgery is an option.
- Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS). People with benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH (enlarged prostate), often have LUTS, which can include frequent urination, the need to push or strain to initiate urination, nocturia and urgency. Elderly men with moderate or severe LUTS are at a greater risk for falls, and the risk dramatically increases as the symptoms worsen.
- Urinary tract infections (UTI). Approximately 40 percent of women and 12 percent of men will have one urinary tract infection during their lives. If left untreated, urinary tract infections can migrate and lead to life-threatening kidney infections, especially in young children. Symptoms include pain, a frequent need to urinate and burning during urination.
Bedwetting (enuresis). Bedwetting causes include maturity, structural or anatomical problems, neurological issues and UTI. Children who wet the bed should have a full physical exam to rule out any serious urologic abnormalities. Bedwetting can be treated in several ways, so check with your doctor.
- Bladder cancer. About 53,000 men and woman are diagnosed with bladder cancer annually. Blood in the urine (hematuria) is the most common symptom; others include frequent urination and pain upon urination (dysuria). Smoking is a top risk factor for developing bladder cancer, followed by working with dyes, metal, paints, leather, textiles and organic chemicals, as well as those with chronic bladder infections. Bladder cancer is most treatable when caught early.
- Interstitial cystitis (IC). The symptoms of this chronic bladder condition are urinary urgency (the feeling that you need to urinate), frequent urination and/or pain anywhere between the navel and the inside of the thighs, front or back. The symptoms may be intermittent to constant. IC can be treated with prescription medications.
The American Urological Association has more about bladder health and finding a urologist.