Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence in the involuntary loss of urine.

There are several types of urinary incontinence.

There are several types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress urinary incontinence: The loss of urine with exertion. This is the leaking with coughing, sneezing, jumping, running, lifting, etc.
  • Urge urinary incontinence: The loss of urine with a sudden and uncontrollable urge. This is the leaking on the way to the toilet with a really strong urge. Urge incontinence is often accompanied with increased frequency of urinating.
  • Mixed urinary incontinence: A combination of stress and urge urinary incontinence.

Approximately one in four women over the age of 18 and half of middle-aged and postmenopausal women experience urinary incontinence, and it's often under-reported.

Approximately one-third of women report urinary incontinence in the first 3 months postpartum, and women with persistent stress urinary incontinence at 3 months postpartum have a 92% risk of having stress urinary incontinence at 5 years.

Why is urinary incontinence so common?

Risk Factors for Urinary Incontinence

  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Vaginal Delivery
  • Chronic Coughing
  • Menopause
  • Hysterectomy
  • Obesity
  • Constipation

Your pelvic floor does a lot to support bladder control, and it goes through major changes during pregnancy and birth. The tissues are significantly stretched and possibly torn, and often there's not enough guidance provided on how to adequately rehab these muscles after childbirth (except if you see a pelvic floor physical therapist!). In addition, your abdomen (especially if you've had a cesarean birth), your movement patterns, and your posture can all be affected by pregnancy and birth and can contribute to incontinence.

Urinary incontinence is associated with depression, anxiety, social isolation, admission to nursing homes, and sexual dysfunction, and affects physical activity, social interactions, sleep, and overall quality of life.

This is why it's important to do something about it!

It's never too late to get help for urinary incontinence. Pelvic floor muscle training, behavior modifications, and bladder training are first-line treatments for urinary incontinence.

Pelvic floor physical therapists help with all of these! They can educate you on normal bladder habits, techniques for bladder control, and how to train your bladder. They can also examine your pelvic floor muscles to determine if they are contracting and relaxing well and at the right times. (Yes, your pelvic floor needs to relax well, which is why kegels aren't always the answer!) Pelvic floor physical therapists also assess intra-abdominal pressure management strategies, total body movement, and posture, which are all important to look at in finding the why behind urinary incontinence.

If you are wondering if pelvic floor physical therapy can help you, contact us!