LIVING WITH INCONTINENCE
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Pain experienced below the belly button and above the legs is known as pelvic pain and can occur in the uterus, bowel, bladder or muscles. If it feels central and you have continence issues, it could be bladder pain. Bladder pain can be continuous or episodic (coming and going), a dull ache or stabbing and can include pain when urinating, from a slight sting through to a burning sensation. Pain may worsen at your bladder fills, and there may be some temporary relief when it’s emptied. Some women experience bladder pain during sexual intercourse. An irritated, inflamed bladder is causing the pain.
Mostly affecting women, there are three main reasons the bladder experiences pain:
Bladder or kidney stones can also cause bladder pain, but like UTIs, once diagnosed and treated, the pain will subside.
The doctor will begin by discussing your symptoms. They may also conduct a physical examination, pressing on the abdomen and lower back to identify areas of inflammation. They will then test a urine sample for the presence of the bacteria that causes a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), the most common cause of bladder pain.
They might also enquire about additional symptoms to determine the location of pain, other than the bladder, such as:
While there are conclusive tests for UTIs and bladder cancer, arriving at a diagnosis for Painful Bladder Syndrome can be a long, uphill road for many women. Doctors are yet to agree on precisely what PBS is, with some believing that it is in fact, a number of different diseases.
Diagnosis is reached through the persistence of ruling out other possibilities, also called a diagnosis of exclusion. If you have urinary pain that lasts for more than six weeks and is not caused by other conditions, you may have PBS.
It’s thought that 90% of people with PBS are women, most aged over 30, with the risk increasing as we age. Because of the difficulty in reaching a diagnosis, the incidence isn’t exact but estimated at 3-6% of adult women.
The highly respected women’s health organisation, Jean Hailes claims that painful bladder syndrome is common among women with endometritis, while the similarly regarded Mayo Clinic
says that it often presents with other diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or fibromyalgia (a condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness in the body) and seems to be common among people with fair skin or red hair. Exactly what causes PBS is as yet, unknown.
Symptoms and their severity vary greatly and, coupled with the presence of other diseases, compounds the difficulty of diagnosis.
That said, the following experiences are indicators that you may have PBS:
The effects of PBS on a person’s quality of life cannot be underestimated. It can negatively impact your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing in the following ways:
This terrible disease has no cure, but some treatments can alleviate symptoms. Don’t put up with it and persist with a diagnosis. If your doctor is dismissive, find another.
It’s usual to begin with conservative treatments and, depending on the result, move through to interventions like medication and surgery.
TENA has a range of products to manage incontinence. All have been designed to rapidly absorb the thin, fast flow of urine, locking it within the product to keep you dry and odour free.
For daytime, TENA Pads might be suitable. These fit into your regular underwear and range from Ultra Thin Minis for a small leak through to highly absorbent Super Pads. TENA Pants are also a great option. These are soft, stretchy and breathable, looking and feeling just like your usual underwear, but with high capacity absorbency that can handle many small voids. If you’re rushing to the toilet, the pull-down/pull-up of pants could suit your needs.
For night time, check out TENA Pads Maxi Night. It has more coverage at the back and anti-leak guards that provide security regardless of your sleeping position and is safe for sensitive skin. For an undisturbed sleep, have a look at the TENA Specialist Products including the most absorbent products as well as Bed Pads for additional leakage protection.
Deciding on the right product can be challenging. If you’re still uncertain, try TENA’s Product Finder Tool where you can also order free samples.
A final word on PBS - persist
Painful Bladder Disease is a debilitating condition that is difficult to diagnose. Some doctors can be dismissive; others can misattribute the symptoms to other disorders. If you are continuing to suffer, persist with finding a sympathetic doctor who can help develop a plan, including referrals, to help alleviate and manage the pain of this terrible disease.
Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.