Urinary Incontinence in Women – IT IS NOT NORMAL!
Urinary Incontinence (UI) is the involuntary loss of urine, meaning you urinate when you don’t want to – while sneezing, running to the train, jumping on a trampoline, or simply with the urge to go. Regardless of age or how many babies you have had, leaking urine is NEVER NORMAL! Common? VERY! Are there treatment options? YES!
UI typically happens at one of two stages in a women’s life. Firstly, either during a pregnancy or post-partum; and secondly, when women become menopausal. In pregnancy, the expanding uterus and gain in weight can put extra pressure on the bladder. This extra pressure in combination with pelvic floor muscle dysfunction (weakness or tightness) may lead to leaking. After childbirth, women are more likely to experience UI due to the stress and injury to the pelvic floor from vaginal delivery. Later in life when women become menopausal, there is a decline in the hormone estrogen. This hormone helps in pelvic floor health and a decrease may result in thinning of the vaginal tissue around the urethra, reducing bladder support.
Now, what if you don’t fit either of these populations, but you are experiencing UI? There is another group of women who are affected, and this is women with a hypertonic (or overly tight) pelvic floor. When the muscles are in a constant state of contraction, they are unable to do their job properly. Imagine any other muscle in your body being in a constant state of contraction – do you think it would function properly in its day to day activities?
Aside from an inconvenience of wearing pads or panty liners, or having to change your pants mid-workout, UI can have other negative impacts on your health and quality of life. Many women report anxiety or depression related to their UI, which can have an impact on their work performance, their social experiences, and even their intimate relationships.
Are you experiencing urinary incontinence? The first step is to be assessed by a professional to determine the cause of your leaking. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy is a great first option in the management of UI and doesn’t involve surgery or medications!