Bladder weakness - causes and symptoms

Bladder weakness or urinary incontinence means that we cannot determine when we empty ourselves. Normally we can consciously control our urine flow. In addition, the unconscious interacts with the consciously controlled nervous system and the bladder.

The nerve pathways pass on the urge to urinate to the brain via the nerves. The bladder has to provide enough volume and the sphincters have to work. When the bladder empties, the bladder contracts and the sphincters relax. Those who suffer from bladder weakness can no longer control these processes.

In women, incontinence can also be due to weakness in the pelvic floor muscles. This occurs primarily after pregnancy. The muscles can no longer absorb the bladder pressure and the urine runs.


When we do heavy physical work, lifting or dragging, exercising excessively, or climbing mountains, urine often pushes out of the bladder into the open. Unlike bladder weakness, it is just a few drops and we can stop the flow of urine at will.

Excessive urge to urinate

If the urge to urinate excessively, we have to go to the toilet constantly because the bladder presses and immediately releases the urine. The bladder empties even without us wanting it and in all postures. With this urge to urinate, the muscles work too intensely: they contract and suggest a filled bladder to the brain. As soon as some liquid gets into the bladder, the urge to urinate occurs. Many serious diseases can be the cause: bladder infections, bladder stones or an enlarged prostate.

Bladder weakness in women

Women often hide the fact that they have bladder weakness because they feel embarrassed. Although incontinence affects older people, every 20th woman under 65 suffers from it, especially young mothers whose pelvis is weakened by birth and is additionally burdened by carrying the baby.

On the other hand, old women develop bladder weakness because their hormonal balance changes. It also affects overweight women and women with weak connective tissue. Lowering the vagina can also lead to bladder weakness. This weakness of the bladder begins unobtrusively. The woman initially only loses a droplet of urine, then it becomes two, and at some point her entire everyday life suffers. In addition, when the pelvic floor muscles are weakened, the back, neck and spine become tense, and the person affected suffers from digestive problems and abdominal pain.

Diagnosis and treatment

The "positive" thing about bladder weakness is that those affected know what is going on. A doctor can easily find out whether the pelvic floor muscles are weak. Treatment is more difficult. Gynecologists, urologists and proctologists are the best contacts here.

Those affected keep a micturition diary in which they note how much they drink, how quickly they have to go to the toilet afterwards, and whether they can control their urge to urinate at all. The doctor palpates the pelvic floor muscles, examines the urine, reflects the bladder and uses ultrasound.

Pelvic floor exercises

In the meantime, some physiotherapists have also specialized in the pelvic floor, and since it is a muscle weakness, training helps to strengthen the muscles and thus the bladder.

For this purpose, those affected sit on a chair and tighten the pelvic floor muscles. You maintain this tension for ten seconds while breathing in and out deeply. The exercise is repeated five times.

Exercise also helps against bladder weakness, but sports that stress the bladder should be avoided. These are, for example, all forms of weight training, in which the lower abdomen is pulled together, or tennis, where the leg position and the stroke movements press on the bladder.

However, all endurance sports are particularly suitable, especially swimming or hiking. Yoga exercises are excellent for strengthening the bladder, sometimes they build up the pelvic floor in a targeted manner.

Obese people who suffer from bladder weakness are the easiest way to help themselves by losing weight. They do not have to completely and permanently change their entire diet: Losing 5% of the weight already helps most of those affected.

Everyday behavior

Simple behaviors that integrate those affected into everyday life can counteract bladder weakness and generally improve well-being. Diuretic drinks should be avoided, especially alcohol, coffee and tea. Instead, water and fresh juices are appropriate.

The diet advantageously consists of fruits, vegetables and fiber - not of finished products. But what does eating have to do with the bladder? If they "spoil" the intestine in this way, it relieves the bowel movements and they have to squeeze less. This relieves pressure on the bladder.

Those affected can get used to standing and sitting upright. This supports the pelvic floor muscles.

Stress promotes bladder weakness, yoga exercises, walks in nature or taking a break from time to time also help.

If those affected have to lift heavily, the techniques that nurses learn are recommended: put your legs apart, crouch and keep your back straight. Then they lift with the strength of their legs - not with the pelvis.

You can also exercise your bladder if you don't run to the toilet every time you feel like you need to urinate. If you sit upright, the bladder can empty completely.

Bladder weakness also arises from urinary tract infections. You can easily prevent them. Do not sit on cold surfaces as this promotes infection. Among the medicinal herbs, bearberry and watercress soothe the infection. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Anne Freimann: Ways out of Bladder Weakness, Schluetersche, 2007
  • Carl-Hermann Hempen: "Treating Bladder Weakness - Urinary Incontinence", in: Chinese Medicine / Chinese Medicine, Volume 24 Issue 3, 2009, Springer Link
  • Daniele Perucchini; Cornelia Betschart; Daniel Fink; David A. Scheiner: "Overactive bladder in women: step by step to the goal", in: Praxis, Volume 106, 2017, Hogrefe
  • Federal Association for Health Information and Consumer Protection - Info Gesundheit e.V .: (accessed: August 9, 2019), exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor

Video: What is Overactive Bladder Syndrome? (January 2022).