Do you suffer from a leaky bladder? Are you constantly looking for the nearest bathroom? Do you become anxious at the thought of leaving your house in fear of an accident? If this sounds like you, rest assured that you’re not alone. There are many people who share these fears, anxieties, and stresses.
Although bladder problems primarily affect your bladder, it can also take a toll on your mental well-being. When bladder problems and depression co-exist, living day-to-day can be far more challenging and worse yet, researchers are finding a strong link between bladder problems and depression. Your risk of depression may increase if you experience bladder leaks.
You may not realize it, but living with bladder weakness can take a large emotional toll on a person. As mentioned, a person suffering from bladder leaks can live a life of fear, stress, and anxiety. A person may only wear dark clothing to mask possible leaks, they may avoid leaving their home, and it can also affect intimate relationships too.
Sadly, because many people believe there isn’t much that can be done to improve their bladder leaks, they continue to suffer in silence, which can lead them to spiral down into a depression. If depression is left untreated, further health complications can arise.
Complications of depression
Complications of depression include excess weight or obesity (which can contribute to heart disease), pain and physical illness, alcohol or substance abuse, anxiety, panic attacks or social phobias, social isolation, suicidal feelings or attempts, self-mutilation, and premature death as a result of other health conditions.
Complications of an overactive bladder
Social and relationship challenges: An overactive bladder can be distressing and embarrassing, and a person suffering from an overactive bladder may start withdrawing from social interactions because of their condition. This can put stress and strain on their social life and relationships because they no longer want to be out and about.
Quality of life: All aspects of a person’s life become affected by an overactive bladder, because the person is worried about leaks, about finding a bathroom, and about the next urge to urinate. This can take a toll on their quality of life, as they may not take part in the activities they once enjoyed due to their overactive bladder.
Sexual activity: People suffering from overactive bladder will often refrain from sexual activity due to fear of leakage. Interrupting sex in order to go to the bathroom can deplete a person’s satisfaction, making sex less enjoyable.
Depression: Because patients with overactive bladder isolate themselves, live in fear and worry, and have a lower quality of life compared to those without an overactive bladder, this can lead to depression.
Fatigue: Fatigue is a common complication in people with overactive bladder because they often do not get adequate sleep. They wake up several times a night to urinate, which disrupts their sleep.
Treatment for depression
Some treatment methods for depression include talk therapy and medications. Talk therapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy, problem-solving therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Talk therapy helps you recognize any underlying issues and lets you discuss them with a professional to come up with solutions and provide you with strategies to deal with upcoming and future situations. You can also work through your current feelings as a means of properly dealing with them in a healthy matter.
Medications for depression include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). If a medication is unsuccessful, your doctor may change the type you are on or prescribe a different dosage that may be more effective.
Treatment for overactive bladder
The first step to treating a leaky bladder is being willing to talk to your doctor about your struggles. That way, they can be made aware of your problem and offer up some advice and treatment.
Here are some tips to keep your bladder healthy:
- Never hold your urine for too long, as it can damage your nerves that send a response to your brain, instructing you when to go.
- Stay hydrated so your body can expel toxins and bacteria to avoid any future UTIs.
- Perform Kegel exercises. This involves squeezing and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles to maintain bladder control.
- Quit smoking, as it irritates the bladder.
- Lose weight.
- Make appropriate diet changes and avoid trigger foods that can irritate the bladder.
- Manage your stress levels.
- Use incontinence products like pads.
By following these bladder-friendly tips and being aware of the causes of an overactive bladder, you can ensure your bladder stays healthy for many more years to come. Now that’s peace of mind.
Related: 5 surprising fixes for a leaky bladder