Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms

The term, lower urinary tract symptoms, includes a number of bladder control symptoms related to bladder emptying. They include:

  • “frequency”, having to go too often,

  • “nocturia”, having to get up during the night

  • “urgency”, a sensation that you will lose bladder control unless you empty immediately

  • “urge incontinence”, Losing urine with urgency

  • “dysuria”, painful urination

These symptoms often occur together and can be quite debilitating. Women with lower urinary tract symptoms often limit their activities to stay near a toilet.

Why do I have these symptoms?
There are a number of different causes for lower urinary tract symptoms, and sorting through the different causes is our first goal. Get evaluated and review potential treatment options for your urinary leakage. The more you know, the more confident you will be in choosing the direction of treatment. Depending upon the extent of your symptoms and treatment goals, there may be one or more options for your bladder control problem

If you have been diagnosed
By making lifestyle and behavioral changes you can help control bladder function.  For many women, a healthy diet and fit lifestyle really make a difference in decreasing lower urinary tract symptoms.  The amount of fluid that you drink determines how much urine you make. Not overdoing fluids will result in less trips to the bathroom.  Also, restricting drinking after dinner can help reduce the number of trips to the bathroom at night. At the same time, you should not restrict you fluids too much either.  Following your thirst is a good guide to how much you should drink.  Women with urinary leakage find it helpful to reduce bladder irritants and artificial sweeteners. Bladder irritants, include caffeine found in coffee, tea, chocolate, cola and some energy drinks. These foods may cause bladder muscle spasms, which can make you suddenly feel like you have to urinate.

Treatment options
There is a wide array of treatment options, ranging from lifestyle and behavioural changes to medical and procedural options.  The good news is that many women who seek help for urinary symptoms find that they improve after treatment.