There are many things that may cause a weak bladder. Sometimes incontinence and the frequent urge to urinate are caused by a urinary tract infection. For example, one type of urinary tract infection is called cystitis, which is marked by a burning sensation during urination. A person may also notice a small amount of blood in her urine with this type of infection. If this is the cause of a weakened bladder, antibiotics can be used to treat the infection, and the bladder weakness should clear up on its own.
Sometimes a weak or overactive bladder, which is marked by a significantly increased urge to urinate, isn’t caused by an infection at all and is either caused or worsened by some sort of irritant. For example, some people seem to be sensitive to caffeine, which irritates the bladder and causes weakness. In such a case, cutting back on caffeinated beverages may help. It may also be a good idea to cut back on alcohol when dealing with this condition, as it acts as a diuretic, which is a substance that makes a person have to go to the bathroom more often. If bladder problems are severe, it may be helpful to avoid alcoholic beverages altogether.
A person may also tame a weak bladder by avoiding certain foods. For example, some studies suggest that eating spicy foods and acidic fruits may play a role in urge incontinence, which is marked by an urgency to urinate and may include leakage of urine when the person can't get to a restroom fast enough. Things like sugar substitutes and produce containing lycopene -- a compound in tomatoes and some other types of fruit -- and dairy products may have the same effect. It may help to keep a food/urination diary for a few weeks to try to determine whether there is a relationship between food and beverage consumption and symptoms of a weak bladder.
While the two may seem unrelated, the bowel can have an effect on the bladder. For those experiencing weak bladder symptoms, it can be important to have regular bowel movements. This is because holding the bowels for longer than usual may put pressure on the nearby bladder, increasing incontinence symptoms. Drinking plenty of water, consuming adequate fiber, and staying active can help to keep bowel movements regular. It may also help to avoid bubble baths and feminine hygiene spray, as it is possible for the chemicals in such products to lead to urinary tract irritation or infection.
For women dealing with weak bladder symptoms, Kegel exercises can provide some help as well. These exercises contract and release the pelvic floor, strengthening muscles that are extremely important for bladder control. Some say doing these exercises for a few months can produce significant changes.