The weak bladder fallacy is an interesting one and I suspect finds its roots in our vernacular language – just as the term “slipped disc” is common lay terminology but is anatomically incorrect….but we all know what we ‘mean’ when Bob says he has “slipped a disc”.
The “weak bladder” has similar familiarity….we know what Sally means when she says “Oh I have such a weak bladder” but it is anatomically and physiologically incorrect and implies that it is something she was born with , hence stuck with just like her red hair or large nose.
I don’t know how many times I have heard it from patients, and it is presented to me like a well documented fact : I have a weak bladder so I don’t know what you are going to do about it. I am only here because the doctor insisted ( thank you wise doctor!)
What Sally actually has is either a poorly functioning or damaged urethral sphincter ( the tap washer that keeps your bladder neck closed) or dysfunction of her pelvic floor muscles which work to help the sphincter stay closed under pressure (coughing,sneezing, lifting, laughing ) .
Note I say dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles. It is not necessarily a problem purely of weakness – this often goes hand in hand with poor co-ordination of the pelvic floor complex - but often we also see the opposite : a pelvic floor so tight and highly strung that it won’t allow the bladder to function properly.
There are other causes of a “weak bladder” and these can include UTI ( Urinary Tract Infection) Interstitial Cystitis (IC or chronic bladder inflammation) POP ( Pelvic Organ Prolapse) and in men, LUTS (Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms) BPH (Benign Prostate Hyperplasia) and Prostate Cancer.
In both sexes – chronic constipation can have a significant impact on bladder function.
A congenitally small bladder/kidneys or urethra may be at fault but this is uncommon.
There are more causes for both women and men so a bladder and pelvic health check-up is always your first choice before treatment.
So, chances are ….Sally’s actual bladder isn’t weak , the structures that support and control it are weak or dysfunctional and most of these things can be addressed and treated with the correct professional help.
So….are you going to do something about your “weak bladder” or allow ti to continue to rule your life?
Get a check-up from your GP , Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist or Continence Nurse and check out our range of helpful BOOKS
Here’s to a healthy bladder !