Light bladder leakage, or LBL, is a mild form of incontinence. It's common for women to experience urinary leakage over the course of their lives, worsening as they get older.1 However, just because it's a common occurrence doesn't mean it's something you should just live with. LBL can cause discomfort when it happens, which is why a solution is necessary to keep you feeling your best, no matter what your day throws at you.
Light bladder leakage (LBL) can be categorized as "stress incontinence" or "urge incontinence." If you suffer from stress incontinence, you may leak minor amounts of urine when you stress your pelvic floor muscles and bladder by coughing, laughing, sneezing, or exercising.2 Women with stress incontinence are able to control urine flow most of the time. However, weakened bladder muscles due to pregnancy, aging, weight gain, or a hysterectomy or other major surgeries may allow the bladder to slip down into the pelvic bottom region where pressure exists.2
Urge incontinence may be attributed to bladder inflammation, bladder stones, infection, or blockage. In many cases, no cause for urge incontinence is found.2
Here is an explanation of why light bladder leakage tends to occur, why it worsens as you age, and how you can address it.
What causes LBL?
The urethral sphincter and pelvic floor muscles prevent urine from leaking out of the bladder unexpectedly. Strong pelvic floor muscles are needed to keep your urethra closed, while a healthy urethral sphincter (muscles supporting the urethra) will squeeze the urethra to stop urine from leaking out of the bladder. When you choose to urinate, your muscles relax naturally.4
As you age, LBL becomes more common, and can be caused by a variety of factors:1
- Pregnancy and childbirth: Childbirth can have major side effects on your pelvic floor (the muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place). Your bladder muscles can weaken or experience nerve damage during childbirth, both of which can cause an increase in the amount of leakage and the frequency of LBL.
- Age: Of course, LBL almost always increases with age, but you may not know the reason. Menopause (when you stop having your period) decreases the production of estrogen in your body. Estrogen is credited with keeping the connective tissue in your pelvic muscles strong, so when the area is receiving less, your bladder muscles weaken faster than before. Combined with the fact that your bladder capacity shrinks as you grow older, LBL can suddenly become a source of frequent discomfort as you age.
How can you solve LBL?
Here's the problem: some light bladder leakage here and there isn't enough to drive you to start shopping in the incontinence aisle just yet. The products there are for serious bladder control issues, and they aren't exactly comfortable or discreet. You need something that addresses multiple forms of moisture while keeping you feeling like yourself, no matter the circumstances.
Stayfree® Ultra Thin® Pads are the perfect solution to a multifaceted problem: it's likely that you use pads when you're on your period or to address spotting, but what you need is a pad designed to handle all sources of daily moisture — from LBL to menstruation, discharge, and even perspiration for reliable protection for up to 8 hours.
Stayfree® Ultra Thin® Pads give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you'll be protected against bladder leakage and other forms of unwanted moisture to help keep you comfortable and dry throughout the day.
In addition to being protected against any potential leaks, there are a few other ways to help reduce leakage events:3
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Practice pelvic floor exercises
- Avoid bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol, and acidic foods
- Eat more fiber, which can prevent constipation, a cause of urinary incontinence
- Don't smoke, or seek help to quit smoking
If you experience light bladder leakage, know you are not alone. The U.S. National Institutes of Health4 reports nearly 10 million people in the U.S. cope with LBL daily. Many people use products and techniques to successfully manage occasional leaks. Both Carefree® and Stayfree® offer a range of liners and pads with multi-fluid protection that will help you feel confident and ready for anything life throws at you.
Make an appointment with your gynecologist or another reputable health care provider to learn more about how to manage your LBL.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.