Both men and women may experience an urge to suddenly pass water. The first signs may be noticing they you have to keep an eye out for where toilets are when you are going out of the house. Doctors often call this urinary urgency. Some patients who have more severe symptoms may experience leakage of urine (incontinence). It can be embarrassing to discuss with your doctor and patients often put up with symptoms for a long time before seeking help. This is a shame as treatment is often very effective.
Urinary urgency may happen at any age but is more common as you get older. There are simple measures that can help such as changing your diet to avoid caffeinated drinks (such as Tea and Coffee) and acidic fizzy drinks. Although problems are most commonly not caused by underlying conditions, your doctor may request you have a urine check to rule out infections and check for blood in your wee. These are to make sure there is no underlying problems with the bladder in women or the bladder and prostate in men. More women than men are affected and we can help either. Men may also need a PSA and prostate check, particularly if they are older (often above 50) and sometimes it is necessary to check that the bladder is emptying by doing a ultrasound scan of the bladder.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Learning pelvic floor exercises can be helpful. This is true both in patients who leak when they lift or cough but it is also often helpful to patients with urinary urgency and leakage as it can allow them to be confident about putting off going to the toilet. At the Spire hospital Alastair works with a pelvic floor physiotherapist to allow a combined approach with expert medical assessment and non invasive physiotherapy part of treatment if appropriate.
If simple measures such as these don’t help and other tests are normal or not needed it is often possible to sort out urgency using medication. If your GP has already prescribed this and it has not worked then it may be possible to consider other medications. Further tests can be performed including urodynamic assessment and treatment with drugs such as BOTOX may be helpful for some. Once you have been assessed we can help put together an individualised treatment plan to help you control your symptoms.