What causes a weak bladder and what solutions are out there?

Loss of bladder control occurs when there is excess pressure on your bladder during certain activities. The good news is that there are many solutions for a weak bladder.

We often talk about having a ‘weak’ or a ‘strong’ bladder – especially after a drink or two! But for some people, this is more than just needing to go to the toilet more times than usual. Those suffering from Stress Urinary Incontinence urinate without meaning to, especially when they exercise, cough, sneeze, lift a heavy object or bend over.

Why have I lost bladder control?

To put it simply, loss of bladder control occurs when there is excess pressure on your bladder during certain activities. There are many possible causes, but it is often associated with weak or damaged pelvic floor muscles.

Remind me again – what are the pelvic floor muscles?

Both men and women have a pelvic floor, though the set-up is slightly different. In the following diagrams, you can see why these muscles are frequently involved in stress urinary incontinence.

In fact, it’s the pelvic floor muscles that allow us to control the bladder, supporting all of the internal organs that are involved in the release of urine. If you are interested in finding out more, take a look at the videos we’ve included on the platform.

There are many reasons why the pelvic floor muscles may get weak, including:

  • Ageing
  • Childbirth
  • The menopause
  • Prostate problems or surgery

How can I regain bladder control?

The good news is that there are many solutions for a weak bladder. Given what we’ve said above, you won’t be surprised to hear that pelvic floor exercises are normally the first treatment that is recommended by healthcare professionals. The exercises are different for female and male bodies, but you can find lots of tips and guidance on mastering your technique here.

But I’m worried about urinating when I exercise!

Exercise can be one of the triggers for people with stress urinary incontinence, but pelvic floor exercises are less intense than other forms of physical activity. If you are concerned, you can always try some self-care products as a temporary solution. Whilst incontinence pads should not be the ultimate solution (there are many other long-term options out there!), there are moments when they can help increase your confidence and help you get on with your daily life.

What if pelvic floor exercises don’t solve my weak bladder?

There are a number of more advanced treatments for loss of bladder control, so it is essential that you consult a healthcare professional for more information. Through a discussion of your symptoms, they are the people best placed to diagnose your exact type of incontinence, and suggest specific treatments to help you regain your wellbeing and lifestyle. For advice on how to start the conversation, take a look at our guide here.

Some possible weak bladder treatments include:

  • Surgical treatments such as sling procedures or bladder neck suspension
  • Medical treatments such as bulking agents
  • Mechanical treatments such as pessaries


Don’t forget – incontinence is a common condition faced by millions of people and dealt with on a daily basis by thousands of healthcare professionals. Help is out there – go get it!



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