Light Bladder Leakage
Do you leak when you cough, sneeze or laugh?
Do you leak when exercise?
Incontinence is a problem that affects one in 4 women and one in 10 men over the age of 20 (Wallace, Roe, Williams, & Palmer, 2004).
Stress Urinary Incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine on effort or exertion (Ghaderi & Oskouei, 2014). During exertion or effort, there is an increase in the pressure inside your abdomen. If your pelvic floor muscles or the muscles around your urethra are not strong enough a leakage of urine can occur. Common activities that this occurs with are laughing, coughing, sneezing and jumping.
Unfortunately, the media has made light of this issue. They are giving us the impression that it is OK to leak and there is not much we can do to help. This is NOT the case. You don’t have to just live with this issue. I hear a lot of women say…… “Oh yes I leak but there really isn’t anything that can be done”….. Well I am here to tell you that there is LOTS that can be done. You DON’T have to just live with this.
We have level 1 evidence (the best there is) that Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help with this problem. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy treatment involves strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles, improving the timing and co-ordination of these muscles, lifestyle modifications and bladder training.
Physiotherapy management of stress urinary incontinence is now being recommended as the first line of treatment (Bo, 2004). Many studies are coming out now reporting that pelvic floor physiotherapy significantly reduces or eliminates episodes of stress incontinence (Arnouk et al., 2017).
The treatment explained:
- Pelvic Floor Muscle Training – this involves a program of pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises that is individually prescribed to each person based on your current strength
- Timing and co-ordination of Pelvic floor muscle activation – this involves learning when the pelvic floor muscles should be switched on in order to prevent episodes of leakage
- Lifestyle modifications – learning how we can make small changes to your lifestyle and movements for a short period of time to reduce these episodes while we are strengthening your muscles. We then progressively add these activities back into your life once we see an increase in strength and functionality of your pelvic floor. We will also look at your fluid intake and diet to eliminate factors that could be causing some of your issues.
- Bladder training – this involves learning when it is appropriate for us to void our bladder and when it is inappropriate and give you strategies to manage these times.
Arnouk, A., De, E., Rehfuss, A., Cappadocia, C., Dickson, S., & Lian, F. (2017). Physical, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine in the Treatment of Pelvic Floor Disorders. Curr Urol Rep, 18(6), 47. doi:10.1007/s11934-017-0694-7
Bo, K. (2004). Pelvic floor muscle training is effective in treatment of female stress urinary incontinence, but how does it work? International Urogynecology Journal(2).
Ghaderi, F., & Oskouei, A. E. (2014). Physiotherapy for Women with Stress Urinary Incontinence: A Review Article. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 26(9), 1493-1499.
Wallace, S. A., Roe, B., Williams, K., & Palmer, M. (2004). Bladder training for urinary incontinence in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev(1), Cd001308. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001308.pub2