Those suffering from urinary incontinence or overactive bladder (OAB), know how frustrating and embarrassing it can be. Constant trips to the bathroom and sudden leakage can make even everyday tasks seem difficult. Those struggling with bladder control can be reluctant to leave the house, go on long trips, or be away from the restroom for too long. These conditions can cause people to turn down social invitations, lose sleep, and even develop anxiety and depression. Luckily, the 21st Century has brought those who struggle with bladder control a variety of excellent tools that can be accessed directly from their phones.
Who Struggles with Bladder Control?
People struggling with bladder control are not alone. A recent study reveals that over 33 million Americans suffer from OAB. Those numbers account for 17 percent of women and 16 percent of men over the age of 18 in the U.S. Additionally, 25 million adults in the U.S. struggle with incontinence; 70 to 80 percent being women.
Bladder control issues can happen at any stage of life. These problems can occur after childbirth, after surgery, or simply because of weakened bladder muscles. And while the condition may seem permanent, bladder control issues are often temporary and curable.
Top Apps for Bladder Control
No matter what factors of bladder control a person is struggling with, whether it is leakage, sudden urges, or stress incontinence, there are apps for that. Here are a few bladder control apps that can help those with incontinence and OAB take back control of their lives.
The InterStim App by Medtronic is truly the first app of its kind. This app, which is paired with an implant device, allows users to control their overactive bladder or bowel incontinence from their phone. This treatment, that was just approved by the FDA last month, connects the implanted device to the user’s smartphone via WIFI. The device targets the nerves that control the bladder, and the app gives sufferers the choice of how much therapy they need at a given time. Currently, around 225,000 people have undergone this treatment method with an 80 percent success rate in the first year. However, unlike the other apps on the list, this app requires a device to be implanted via surgery. Those considering this option should speak to their urologists to see if they are a good candidate for the treatment.
Tat is a new app for Android designed to help women struggling with stress incontinence. The app works as a coach to help women build up their pelvic floor muscles, which can be especially affected after childbirth. Users are guided through exercises that start off easy and become more challenging as they work through the program. Each exercise comes with graphs and illustrations to show women exactly how to do each workout. Users can also enjoy lifestyle advice, helpful tips, and notification reminders to help them keep up with their regular pelvic floor exercises.
During its short time on the market, Tät has reaped notable results. In a recent case study for the app, a group of women with stress incontinence were challenged to use the app. Of those users, 2 out of 3 were satisfied with their results after three months.
UroToday Bladder Diary
The UroToday Bladder Diary App is an easy and effective way to log your daily activity. The app allows users to record their toilet entries, when beverages have been consumed, when leakage occurs, when medication is taken, and even how strong the urinary urges are throughout the day. After three days of recording data, the app offers metrics and graphs to help users and their clinicians better understand the patient’s condition. This is a great app for those who suspect they are suffering from a bladder control problem and want to provide their doctor with records at a consultation appointment. UroToday is also helpful for those who know they have a bladder control condition and want to track their progress as a part of their treatment.
Bladder Strategy App
Bladder Strategy is another app that is great for recording bladder habits throughout the day. However, unlike UroToday, this app also offers users recommendations based on their data. This app will help users better understand their condition and offer tips to overcome some of the issues they may be facing. Additionally, this app allows users to download their data into an excel spreadsheet to share with their urologist.
Kegel Trainer PFM Exercises
Similar to the Tät app, Kegel Trainer PFM Exercises helps guide users through Kegel exercises to help build strength and stop sudden leakage. This app offers 10 different exercises to users and also allows them to set reminders if they are prone to forgetting their daily exercise.
Sit or Squat App
Sit or Squat is a fun, interactive app by the makers of Charmin toilet paper that helps people quickly find the nearest restroom using Google maps technology. This app is excellent for those struggling with sudden, intense urges to urinate while away from home. Users can simply open the app and immediately locate nearby public restrooms. Additionally, the app will direct users there via GPS to take the stressful navigating out of getting to the restroom quickly. The app also offers a rating system, so users can rank a bathroom based on cleanliness. Users are able to decide if the restroom is clean enough to “sit” or if others are better off “squatting” to avoid the dirty surroundings. This data is shared with other users to make their choice of restrooms in the future even easier.
When to See a Urologist
While apps and new technology have made it easier than ever to manage bladder control symptoms, it is still necessary to have regular checkups with an experienced urologist. If you are experiencing frequent and sudden uncontrollable urges to urinate, leakage from sneezing or laughing, more than one-bathroom trip in the night, or any other bladder control issue, it is important to speak to a professional about your symptoms. While OAB and incontinence are often curable, they may be the sign of a larger issue that needs to be addressed by a physician.