Urinary incontinence refers to any type of bladder leaking.
Mythbuster: it is common but not normal after children and with age, it does not get better or go away with time, and it is not something you just have to live with! Read on to learn more about leaking and what you can do about it!
Bladder leaking tends to be grouped into different categories:
Stress urinary incontinence – leaking with increased abdominal pressure (physical stress)
Signs you might be experiencing this: leaking with jumping, laughing, coughing, sneezing, lifting or other movements
Urge Urinary incontinence – sudden urge to pee (urgency) and then leaking before you make it to the toiler
Signs you might be experiencing this: whenever you get home from work you have the sudden urge to pee when you pull into the driveway; you always pee before you leave the house “just in case”; you are always on the look out for where bathrooms are when you go to new places
Overactive Bladder – leaking that is not associated with stress or urge; increased frequency
Signs you might be experiencing this: you have urinary leaking without realizing you had to pee; you feel you have to pee all the time/more often then the average person
The good news is that Pelvic Health Physiotherapy tends to address urinary incontinence very successfully, and is actually part of medical management guidelines as a first step to addressing incontinence.
Ways Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help:
assess pelvic floor muscle response
assess soft tissue integrity supporting the bladder
discuss and address whole-body factors that may be contributing to incontinence
assess exercise postures and bracing strategies
talk to the option of using a pessary for bladder support
advise if further medical management might be beneficial (medication, screening tests etc)
Things you can do now:
monitor bladder habits – it should take about 10-12 seconds for you to pee, and most people can hold their bladder for 3-4 hours
avoid bladder irritants - caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, citrus, carbonated beverages, spicy food, some medications (ask your pharmacist)
drink enough water – concentrated urine is a bladder irritant. Pee should be slightly yellow and smell like urine. If it is dark yellow or cloudy then it suggests you are not drinking enough water. It should not be completely clear and odorless – this means you are drinking too much water and you are just filtering it out, which can be hard on the kidneys long term. General suggestions are 30mL/kg body weight, or total weight in lbs/2 = oz of fluid needed. Usually 2-3L of fluid intake is enough for most people.
reduce stress levels – check out ways to decrease the stress response here
avoid constipation – pushing and straining has a negative impact on pelvic organs and the pelvic floor