The symptoms and causes of common bladder problems

Many men and women have bladder issues but simple lifestyle changes and, if necessary, a referral to a specialist team, such as the one at Benenden Hospital, can often end any problems.

In this follow up article to our recent feature on continence, our Clinical Nurse Specialist in Continence Care, Jan Chaseley answers questions on bladder problems.

What are the symptoms of bladder problems?

Feeling a sudden hard-to resist urge to go to the toilet can be a sign of an overactive bladder. Some people leak before they reach the bathroom or need to go more than seven times a day and frequently through the night. Others have stress urinary incontinence-leaking when they laugh, sneeze, cough, or exercise.

"Bladder problems really affect people's lives, but can often be easily treated," says Jan.

There are around 14 million people in the UK today with some form of bladder problem, more than those with asthma, diabetes and epilepsy put together," she says.

What causes these issues?

Bladder problems affect one in three women and one in five men. In women, the urethra or tube carrying urine from the bladder is shorter and more prone to leaks. Stress incontinence can affect women after childbirth, because of extra strain on the pelvis or childbirth problems. Either can weaken the pelvic floor muscles which hold the bladder and bowel in place and help to stop leaks.

Men can also develop stress incontinence after surgery for prostate cancer. As they age, and the prostate which surrounds the urethra grows, they may also have difficulty emptying their bladder fully. Some women also develop stress incontinence after menopause, as hormone changes weaken the pelvic floor.

"But bladder problems should never be seen as a normal part of ageing." says Jan, who along with her team treats stress incontinence, overactive bladder syndrome, prolapse and many other bladder issues here at Benenden Hospital.


An assessment with our specialist nursing team can give you the proactive steps to better understand and manage your condition. 

Get in touch or contact our Private Patient Team to access the service by calling 01580 242521

Published on 24 August 2020