What is it?
Incontinence is the accidental or involuntary loss of Urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or bowel motion, faeces or wind from the bowel (bowel incontinence).
Incontinence is a common problem experienced by many. However, it can be managed and in many cases even cured. The management process will vary for the different types of incontinence. In this article we will focus on stress urinary incontinence.
What are the different types of incontinence?
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI): leakage that occurs when attempting things such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, running or standing from a chair.
What causes incontinence?
That factors that lead to incontinence vary with the different types of incontinence. In the case of SUI, it is related to poor coordination of pelvic floor muscles, weakness of pelvic floor muscles, damage to the fascia and/or inner urethral factors.
What can be done about it?
If you are experiencing leaking or any of the above symptoms mentioned, then the first thing you need to do is visit a women’s health physiotherapist. As mentioned there are different types and causes and these will require a different management plan.
Your visit will involve taking a history and a thorough assessment to come up with the best management plan for you. Treatment will likely involve an individualised pelvic floor muscle training program as well as addressing any other lifestyle factors that may be contributing to your incontinence.
It is important to remember that incontinence is COMMON but it is NOT NORMAL and you can get help.
How long will it take?
The journey of managing incontinence is exactly that, A journey. It will require commitment to the program prescribed by your physiotherapist. Generally speaking strength programs take at least 8-12 weeks to become effective and in some instances this will require lifelong management. This is a small price to pay if it means you stay DRY and don’t require the use of pads, or avoiding fluid intake before exercise or avoiding exercise all together.
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