Continence issues

One in three women suffer from urinary incontinence. Whilst this condition is common it is not normal. Many women often wait years before seeking help and low self esteem, embarrassment and helplessness are commonly reported (Sinclair & Ramsay 2011). Many women withdraw from physical and social activities as a result.

What is urinary incontinence ?
The unintentional passing of urine – there are several different types of incontinence.

Stress Urinary incontinence (SUI)
This is when urine leakage is associated with physical exertion or effort for example coughing, sneezing, jumping, running, playing sport.

Urge incontinence (UI)
This is when urine leakage is associated with an urgent urge to go to the toilet which is often triggered by seeing the toilet, running a tap or turning the key in the door. Urge incontinence often occurs with frequency (known as overactive bladder, OAB) and nocturia (the interruption of sleep one or more times because of the need to urinate).

Mixed urinary incontinence (MUI)
This is symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence.

Physiotherapy is considered an effective first line treatment for these problems (NICE 2013).

What causes urinary incontinence and how can I improve symptoms?
Often urinary dysfunction can be due to the pelvic floor muscles becoming weak, too tight or being poorly controlled. It’s not just a case of strengthening these muscles, assessment of the pelvic floor allows a clinician to assess the strength, endurance and relaxation and ensure a good technique is taught.

The pelvic floor muscles work very closely with deep abdominal muscles and understanding this interaction is important for improving pelvic floor function.

Physiotherapists can help you with finding strategies to manage symptoms, educate on toilet habits and discuss hydration and bladder irritants.

Please don’t suffer in silence Physiotherapy really does work to improve symptoms of urinary incontinence.

Did you know…

  • Women wait 6.5 years before seeing a healthcare professional for bladder control problems
  • Pelvic floor exercises are more effective when supported by a physiotherapist
  • Only 1 in 5 affected women seek help for incontinence issues.

Bowel health
Physiotherapists can help with your bowel health by promoting healthy toilet habits, advising on how to avoid constipation, discuss lifestyle factors that effect the bowel, give advice on how activity and exercise can assist bowel function, encourage diaphragmatic breathing , advise on nutrition and hydration and offer abdominal soft tissue mobilisation.