One out of every three women who have ever had a baby will experience some incontinence!
During pregnancy the growing baby puts enormous pressure and strain on the pelvic floor muscles. This causes overstretching and subsequent weakness of the musculature and can lead to incontinence. This is further exacerbated by the natural birth process.
What age groups are susceptible?
All women appear to be susceptible at any age. Stress incontinence is fairly common in young women (including teenagers) particularly those involved with high athletic or gym activity. With women of child bearing age, the number of pregnancies increases the chance of becoming incontinent. Woman undergoing menopause during this period may notice they are becoming incontinent. Estrogen is responsible for keeping the urethra and the lining of the bladder healthy. It also stimulates blood flow to the pelvic region, increasing strength in the pelvic muscles. As oestrogen levels drop during menopause, the pelvic muscles weaken further.
What is urinary incontinence?
Any unwanted or involuntary leakage of urine, no matter how small.
The two most common types of incontinence are:
Stress Incontinence – leakage with activities such as coughing, laughing, sneezing or playing sport/participating in exercise
Urge Incontinence – leakage occurring when you urgently need to go, but don’t get there in time.
Urge incontinence often occurs with urinary frequency, a need to pass urine very frequently during the day or night. Someone with frequency knows every toilet around!
What is normal then?
- Go to the toilet around 4 to 6 times per day, and no more than once overnight.
- Pass more than a cupful each time
- Get to the toilet without having to rush
- Have no trouble starting the flow of urine and have a strong stream
- Have no need to strain to pass urine
Helpful tips on preventing incontinence
Firstly, keep your pelvic floor muscles strong especially during and after pregnancy, around menopause and if you are having gynaecological, abdominal or spinal surgery.
Keep within your healthy weight range.
Don’t do anything that strains the pelvic floor muscles: avoid repetitive heavy lifting and don’t get constipated…. fibre, fluids and general exercise help this.
If you have back problems, keep your pelvic floor strong as well as your abdominals….your physiotherapist will help you with this.
If you have respiratory problems and have prescribed prevention medication, use it! Stop that cough!
Check with your GP if any medication you are on may contribute to your incontinence.
Treating incontinence at PHYSIO4ALL?
Katrina enjoys running, playing netball, and going to the gym, and therefore appreciates and understands
people’s desires to keep active and healthy.
It is her passion to help her clients achieve their goals in sport, work,
and daily life. Katrina also has a special interest in continence rehabilitation and Women’s Health.
Seek help! Some useful links:
§ National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66
For further information on Women’s Health, click here.
To download the PHYSIO4ALL Bladder Chart, which needs to filled 3 days prior to your initial assessment, click here.
For a great article on Pelvic Girdle Pain during Pregnancy, click here.
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