Bladder dysfunction and bowel dysfunction refer to problems with urinating and passing stools. These may lead to the unwanted passage of urine or stool, called urinary or fecal incontinence.
If you have these types of bladder and bowel problems, you may feel embarrassed at the thought of bringing them up with your doctor or other health care providers. The conditions can be physically and emotionally difficult to deal with, but you shouldn't feel uncomfortable about talking to your health care provider. Health care providers are used to dealing with these issues and can help you manage the problem.
|Bladder and urethra of a male (left) and female (right).
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For the bladder and bowel to function correctly, certain nerves in your body need to control the right muscles, telling them when to contract and when to release in order to allow urine and feces to be eliminated when you want them to.
This happens when the nerves in the spinal cord send messages from the brain to the bladder and sphincter muscles to control the flow of urine. The muscles within the rectum and anus help control your bowels and sphincter muscles control or release stool.
A number of conditions may affect the nerves and muscles that control the bladder and bowel, resulting in dysfunction and possible incontinence.
For the bladder, these conditions include:
Holding urine in too long (urine retention). Sometimes nerve damage means that the bladder muscles don't get the chemical message that it's time for you to go. If the urine stays in the bladder too long, pressure may build up and lead to infection or damage of the bladder or kidneys.
|The Digestive Tract.
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Fecal incontinence means you may not make it to the bathroom when you have a bowel movement, or you may "leak" a little when you pass gas.
Conditions that raise the risk for fecal incontinence include:
These are other health issues that may contribute to bladder and/or bowel dysfunction:
You could also have metal poisoning, congenital nerve-related problems, or injury or damage to the rectum caused by surgery or by conditions, such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
Depending on the nature of your problem and your symptoms, your health care provider will work with you to create a plan of action. Here are some common treatments:
You don't have to suffer in silence. Finding the right therapy and management techniques can help you overcome bladder or bowel problems and avoid embarrassing incidents