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Bladder Problems: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

Many women experience a variety of bladder issues (like frequency, nocturia, urgency or urinary incontinence) but you don’t have to suffer in silence.

The Female Bladder

The Female Bladder

A lot of women feel self-conscious about their bladder problems, while others believe bladder problems are a normal and unavoidable part of aging or a result of giving birth to children. Instead of getting help, many women adapt their life around their bladder by skipping physical activities that make them leak, changing their routine to be closer to a bathroom, or avoiding social gatherings altogether to prevent the chance of an accident in front of others. 

Most people need to urinate about four to five times a day and this shouldn’t interfere with their quality of life. It’s normal to wake up in the middle of the night having to pee occasionally but if you need to get up to go multiple times a night and/or every night, that is abnormal. Additionally, unless you’re suffering from stress incontinence, pressure caused by laughing, sneezing or exercising shouldn’t cause you to leak urine. It’s not healthy to hold your urine for a long time, but you should be physically capable of holding your urine and getting to the bathroom in time. If you need to pee more than ten times a day, that’s also unusual. If any of this sounds like you, keep reading to learn more about the common bladder problems many women face.

Tamara Bavendam, M.D., a Women’s Urologic Health expert states, “Silence around bladder health has made the topic taboo. We often ignore our bladders, as long as they don’t give us any trouble. And when women do experience bladder problems, we often feel too embarrassed to get help…Taking care of your bladder is a way of loving yourself.” 

Countless ladies are too embarrassed to reach out for help but every woman should understand how her bladder operates and how to keep it healthy. We don’t typically talk about the bladder, because of this, many people don’t know that bladder problems are very common. The subject becomes taboo because of the silence around bladder issues, even though as many as 30 million Americans have bladder issues.

Common problems include:

  • Frequency: needing to go eight or more times during the day.
  • Nocturia: needing to get up to go at night.
  • Urgency: fearing you might not make it to the bathroom in time because you have a very strong, immediate need to go.
  • Urinary incontinence: unwanted loss of urine from your bladder. There are two types and you can have both types.
    • Urgency incontinence is when you can’t get to the restroom in time. Women with urgency incontinence can experience an almost constant urge to go, a drop before they go and using the bathroom a lot every day. It can be caused or made worse by low estrogen levels. 
    • Stress incontinence happens when physical activity, such as coughing, sneezing, jumping, running or lifting, puts stress on your bladder. This can be caused by low estrogen. Having children and how many children you have, can also affect your chances of developing stress incontinence. 


Adapting your activities or lifestyle might seem easier from day to day but it is important to consider the long-term costs to your health and quality of life. For example, cutting out physical activity may lead to muscle weakness and weight gain.

Don’t let bladder problems control your life. They are not an inevitable part of getting older, having children or being a woman. If you are experiencing bladder difficulties, please give us a call at (530) 345-0064, extension 281. Let’s become healthier in the years to come by paying more attention to the bladder. 

Come back next week for a more in-depth understanding of urinary incontinence. 

Posted in Bladder, Diseases and Conditions, Examinations, Hormones, Incontinence, Overall Women's Health, Pelvic Floor Muscles, Pelvic Floor Pilates, Procedures, Resources, Symptoms Tagged with: ,

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