Bladder Control

Women's Urinary Incontinence - More Than One Cause

Women's Urinary Incontinence - More Than One Cause

Women's Urinary Incontinence - More Than One Cause
By Elizabeth Houser, M.D.and Stephanie Riley Hahn

"Why am I leaking urine?"

This is one of the most common questions asked by women who experience urinary leakage. The answer to this question is not as simple or straightforward as it might seem, since there can be multiple causes for this condition. If you are leaking urine, then you may be looking for more than one culprit. This article outlines possible risk factors for women's urinary incontinence.

Risk Factors for Women's Urinary Incontinence

Unfortunately, women are twice as likely as men to suffer from urine leakage. Part of the reason for this statistic is that pregnancy and childbirth are major contributors to urinary incontinence. Childbirth, especially vaginal deliveries, can stretch and tear the muscles and ligaments in the pelvic region, weakening the pelvic floor muscles and causing urine leakage.

Other risk factors that can contribute to urinary incontinence include:

Weight Gain and Obesity: Every pound puts downward pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles

Aging: Muscles in the pelvic floor tend to sag, just like muscles everywhere else in the body

Smoking and Chronic Cough: Nicotine can irritate the bladder in some women while chronic coughing puts stress on the bladder, causing involuntary leakage

Menopause: Decreased levels of estrogen linked to menopause can lead to thinning of the urethral and vaginal walls, which in turn offer less support for the bladder

Medication: Certain classes of medicine, such as broncho-dilators and diuretics, can contribute to urine leakage

Urinary Tract Infections: Chronic infections in the bladder or urinary tract can eventually lead to urinary incontinence

Other causes include pelvic organ prolapse, dietary issues, and bladder stones. The key is to realize that more than one factor may be contributing to your urine leakage issues.

That is why it is important to check with your healthcare provider as soon as you experience any symptoms of urinary incontinence. The earlier your doctor can diagnose your condition, the more easily your symptoms can be treated and cured. In addition, early detection means that conservative measures, such as physical therapy and lifestyle changes, are more effective.

Diseases That Contribute to Urinary Incontinence

In addition to the factors listed above, certain diseases can cause urinary incontinence. While this is more prevalent in the elderly or the ill, you are more likely to suffer urine leakage if you have or have had:

- Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease

- diabetes

- multiple sclerosis

- stroke

- pelvic floor or spinal cord injuries

- bladder cancer

As always, knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have about your condition the more you can contribute to your own health and well-being. To be your own best health advocate, especially when it comes to matters "down there," take two important steps:

1. Contact your healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis and explore your treatment options.

2. Learn are much as you can about your condition, especially about the different types of urinary incontinence

Good luck and remember that urinary incontinence is neither inevitable nor untreatable!

Urologist Dr. Elizabeth Houser and physical therapist Stephanie Hahn are two health professionals on a mission to educate women about pelvic floor health. They help women with all kinds of urinary incontinence, as well as other pelvic floor issues including pelvic organ prolapse, decreased sexual sensation, and pelvic floor weakness. Find helpful tips and information for dealing with and curing these conditions at or by downloading their free "What's Up Down There?" ebook at

Article Source:,_M.D.

Kidney Stones – Pain And Prevention.

Kidney Stones – Pain And Prevention.
By Pieternel Van Giersbergen

Working as an emergency room RN, I have seen many people
suffering from kidney stones. About 80% are men, why we don’t
know. They have lower abdominal pain or flank pain on one side.
The pain they feel is intense. 

We first ask them for a urine sample. Using a dip stick the
nurse typically finds blood in the urine, often with hardly any
infection (though there may well be infection, and often the
presence of ketones, a sign of dehydration). The patient is then
given intravenous fluids (salt water) to help flush the kidneys,
and after the doctor’s formal diagnosis, pain medication also.
The aim of the pain medication is to give the patient a rest as
the fluids help the stones pass through less painfully. 

A blood test and cat scan is often ordered for further
confirmation. The scan can show both the size and location of
the stone. If there is no sign of infection, the patients go
home with pain medication and instructions to increase their
water intake. They are also advised to use a strainer to catch
and save the kidney stone, which can then be sent for analysis.
Certain foods may then be proscribed to diminish the likelihood
that more kidney stones are produced.

From many patients I have heard what works best for kidney
stones. Their advice is first, and above all, to drink lots of
water. If you do not drink a lot of water your urine becomes
more concentrated, making you more prone to develop new kidney
stones. Here are some other tried-and-true tips:

o Avoid stress (as if that’s easy!) Kidney stone patients are
very often 
o under unusual stress.
o Avoid alcohol and sodas. They dehydrate you.
o Drink corn silk tea to flush the kidneys.
o Another helpful beverage is catnip tea with apple cider
o Drink aloe vera (It’s sold in health food stores)
o If your kidney stones are calcium-related, lemonade helps to
absorb the calcium.
o Walk, walk, walk. Prolonged body movement helps to move the
stones out. We call this “the tough way”.
o Be sure to have your thyroid and parathyroid checked. In some
cases there is a connection.

How to prevent kidney stones in general:

1. Again - lots of water. This means eight 8-ounce glasses, and
twelve glasses if you work outside. If your urine is smelly, you
are probably not drinking enough water, and are at risk for a
urinary tract infection (UTI).

2. Take vitamin C – 2,000 mg. a day.

3. No sodas or alcohol. If you do partake, for every glass of
beverage drink an extra glass of water. 

4. Work to strengthen your immune system.

5. Check your family history. Did any of your parents or
grandparents have kidney stones? Get the story and learn from
it, which often means to improve your lifestyle. 

6. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys represent fear. To
counteract any fear, try this positive affirmation: “Water flows
freely through me, making me safer.” As you repeat this
affirmation regularly, try to sincerely feel its significance.
Visualize it as a reality, not just words.

For real inspiration, try this wonderful quote from Aldous

The kidneys are so beautifully organized; they do their work of
regulation with such a miraculous--it's hard to find another
word--such a positively divine precision, such knowledge and
wisdom, that there is no reason why our archetypal man, whoever
he is, or anyone else, for that matter, should be ashamed to own
a pair."

Warmly, Pieternel van Giersbergen. 

© 2005 Pieternel van Giersbergen.

About the Author: Pieternel van Giersbergen is an RN with over
25 years of experience in different fields of health care.
Pieternel discovered the limitations of the tradition health
care system, and developed her own common sense health business


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What Are Kidney Stones?

What Are Kidney Stones?
By Ashely Farrar

Kidney stones are hard stone-like substance that forms in the
kidneys. They may not trouble you as long as they are settled in
one or both the kidneys. It is only when a kidney stone moves
out of the kidney and enters the ureter (the tube that carries
urine) on its way to the bladder that the pain begins. The pain
can be from mild to severe depending on the size and shape of
the kidney stone. The stone can block the flow of urine, and may
cause bleeding too.

Kidney stone formation is a common occurrence and the stones
are so tiny that they pass out with the urine without any
hindrance. The larger ones may cause pain and make things
miserable before making their way out of the body. A large stone
may get stuck in the ureter causing pressure and pain. Chances
of infection rise if the stone remains stuck in the ureter for
long. This may also lead to damage of the kidneys.

Types of Kidney Stones

The crystals in the urine are responsible for kidney stones.
When there is an imbalance in the minerals and salts found in
the urine, it may lead to their formation. Different types of
stones are formed depending on the salts present in the urine.

Calcium Stones: These are the most commonly occurring kidney
stones. 75% to 85% of all kidney stone cases are calcium stone
based. These stones comprise of calcium and oxalate, which are
introduced to the body through the food we eat. Excessive intake
of calcium and oxalate can help form calcium stones. Besides,
excessive vitamin D intake, and hyperactive parathyroid glands
can also cause kidney stones.

Struvite Stones: These stones are not very common and are found
mostly in women. The bacteria that cause urinary tract infection
are responsible for the production of ammonia. Struvite stones,
also known as infection stones, are formed when there is
excessive ammonia in the urine.

Uric Acid Stones: People who eat meat products in excess run
the risk of forming uric acid stones, as meat ingestion leads to
production of uric acid, a by-product of protein metabolism.

Cystine Stones: These are the least common of all stones and
are made from cystine, an amino acid. Cystinuria, a hereditary
disorder, is responsible for the formation of cystine stones.

Preventing the Formation of Kidney Stones

o If you are prone to kidney stones, or would like to avoid
kidney stones in future, the most effective preventive measure
is drinking a lot of fluids, especially water. Two to three
liters of water a day is enough to flush your kidneys thoroughly
of contaminants.

o It would help to learn the type of stones that are formed in
the kidneys, and the cause of formation too. You could change
your eating habits accordingly and adjust the intake of certain
types of salts and minerals that help in the formation of kidney

o If you are prone to calcium stones, you could discuss the
matter with your doctor, who may suggest you to lower your
calcium intake. Foods that are rich in calcium are milk and milk
products, and leafy vegetables.

o If your kidneys have uric acid stones, then reducing your
meat, poultry and fish intake will surely help. Your doctor may
also prescribe medication to manage the uric acid level in the

o People, who get struvite stones, could be given antibiotics
to help remove bacterial infection.

If you have had a kidney stone once, there is always a
likelihood of its recurrence. Thus, it would be in your best
interest to follow the advice on prevention.

About the Author: Ashely Farrar writes on all types of kidney
stones. More information available at


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Signs & Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection

Signs & Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection
By Brenda Stokes

Many people think of urinary tract infections as bladder
infections. While this is sometimes the case, the bladder is
only one part of the urinary tract. The infection could be
located in the bladder, urethra, ureters or kidneys. The general
rule of thumb is that the higher up the urinary tract the
infection is, the more serious it is. So, a kidney infection is
much more serious than a urethral one. But that does not mean
infections of the lower urinary tract are any less painful.

Once you have had a bladder infection, it is very likely you
will have one again in the future. Around 40% of all women will
have a UTI at some point in their lives. Of these, 75% will have
one again later down the line. Only 12% of men have urinary
tract infections.

No one knows exactly why women are so much more prone to these
infections, but one common idea is that the urethra and anus are
very close together in women, making it much more likely for
bacteria to invade the urinary tract and cause an infection.
Another possibility is the fact that the urethra in women is
quite short, while in men it is much longer. Bacteria have to
travel farther in men to reach the bladder, making the
likelihood of a bladder infection or upper urinary tract
infection much less likely.

If you have had a urinary tract infection before, you will
definitely know when you are getting one again. The symptoms are
pretty obvious and uncomfortable. Here are some of the most
common signs of a lower urinary tract infection:

- Pain while urinating

- Burning feeling while urinating

- Frequent need to urinate

- Waking up in the middle of the night to urinate

- Urgent need to urinate or it feels as though you cannot hold

- Even after you urinate you still feel as though you need to
empty your bladder

- Blood in the urine

- Cloudy urine

- Bad smelling urine

- Pain in the abdomen

- A slight fever

Luckily, all it takes is a simple test to determine whether or
not you have a urinary tract infection. There are many types
available as well. You can urinate in a cup and then use a
dipstick in the specimen then read the results. You can urinate
directly on the test strip. You will need to head off to the
doctor to get antibiotics to treat it, however. A UTI left
untreated can travel up the urinary tract into the ureters or
kidneys. Symptoms of an upper urinary tract infection include:

- High fever

- Chills

- Nausea

- Pain in your side—usually only on one side—just above your

- Vomiting

- Symptoms of lower urinary tract infection (sometimes)

If you are exhibiting signs of an upper urinary tract
infection, see your doctor immediately. You may even need to
seek urgent care. This can be very serious so the earlier you
obtain treatment, the better off you will be.

If you have symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection, you
should see your doctor right away as well. However, if you
cannot get an appointment for a day or two, drink plenty of
water and cranberry juice and eliminate sugary, acidic, and
caffeinated drinks or foods from your diet. You can also use
over the counter medications to help ease the symptoms while you
wait to be treated.

About the Author: This article is written by Brenda
Stokes.Stokes also wrote other urinary tract infection and
urinary tract infection testing articles like Could I have
Urinary Tract Infection UTI without the symptoms? fot more
information about visit


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