Bladder leaks are never something we look forward to during the day, but for those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), bladder leaks can be even more of a challenge.
If you have Multiple Sclerosis, then you know that it results in damaged nerves. These are the very nerves in charge of sending messages to your muscles. So as a consequence, your muscles are more difficult to control. In fact, according to the National MS Society, about 80% of people diagnosed with MS also suffer with bladder function to some degree.
The Link Between Multiple Sclerosis and Leaks
What does Multiple Sclerosis have to do with bladder leaks? Well, when your bladder starts to get full, your body sends signals to your brain that you need to go to the bathroom. It’s usually not something we think about, but there’s always that little voice in our head letting us know, “it’s time to go!”
With Multiple Sclerosis, scarred areas, also called lesions, develop. Long story short, these lesions can essentially destroy any pathway of communication between the brain and the bladder. And when your brain can’t get messages through to your bladder, that’s when you might find yourself experiencing overactive bladder or incontinence.
But Here’s What You Should Know
You don’t have to accept bladder control issues caused by Multiple Sclerosis as something you just have to live with. If ignored, bladder control issues can lead to other problems, like bladder infections and even kidney damage. Not to mention the repercussions leaks can have in your everyday routine. It can be hard to leave the house or do your everyday activities with an overactive bladder.
Not only can you talk with your doctor about how to address bladder control issues caused by Multiple Sclerosis, but there are also some lifestyle changes you can make to ease the leaks.
Treating Leaks Due To Multiple Sclerosis
There are a variety of ways to treat leaks due to Multiple Sclerosis. For starters, there are some medications that can help reduce muscle contractions and lead to a tamer bladder. These medications are called anticholinergics. It’s definitely important to talk to your doctor about any side effects or interactions these medications may have with other MS medications.
There’s also pelvic floor physical therapy, which helps strengthen the weakened pelvic floor. This is great to develop more strength.
Botox for the Bladder
If medications don’t help the bladder spasms caused by Multiple Sclerosis, did you know botox can help? Gone are the days where botox was only meant to change your appearance and get rid of a few wrinkles. As it turns out, botox is an FDA approved form of botulinum toxin that can cause paralysis of overactive muscles. Botox treatment for the bladder is done under anesthesia, so you don’t have to worry about any uncomfortable sensations. The doctor uses a special scope to view the inside of your bladder for the most accurate application.
Consider Some Lifestyle Changes
If you’d like to make some changes in your everyday routine that could help with combating bladder leaks, then look no further! For one, it would be best to steer clear of caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. Also, Kegel exercises are perfect for strengthening pelvic floor muscles and nobody even has to know you’re doing them. You can do these exercises from the comfort of your own home or even at the local coffee shop.
If you want to whip your bladder into shape, then consider training and strengthening it with bladder training. All you have to do is stick to a bathroom schedule that could get you into the habit of not having to go as frequently. It would also be best to limit fluid intake before bedtime, so there’s no urgency to go in the middle of the night.
Last but not least, consider absorbent products, like Lily Bird. These products will give you the confidence you need to go out into the world without worrying about bladder leaks. We all know that sometimes drips and spritz happen, but nobody has to know about it except you.
You’re Not Alone
Leaks from Multiple Sclerosis can be a pretty common thing. Luckily, research has produced a variety of ways to help address bladder leaks and make sure you are living your most confident life. Whether it’s cutting back on the coffee or asking your doctor about possible medication treatments or using a great absorbent product, you have the power to take bladder leaks into your own hands.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH