As a Women’s Health Physiotherapist, I see a lot of women from an array of ages and life stages dealing with the embarrassment, inconvenience and discomfort of stress incontinence. Some women are more open about their situation while a lot of women suffer needlessly because they think it’s ‘normal’ or too embarrassed to mention it.
So how do I know if I have Stress Incontinence?
Firstly you would have noticed that you have accidently leaked urine.
This can be brought on by certain activities such as:
- Lifting Heavy Objects
What causes Stress Incontinence?
Stress Incontinence is predominately due to a weakening of the Pelvic Floor muscles usually after pregnancy and childbirth. However some other factors can contribute to its frequency:
- being overweight
- chronic constipation that causes you to strain
- chronic coughing
- chronic back pain
- frequent lifting of heavy objects, including children and weights at the gym
- reduction in the hormone oestrogen after menopause
- some medications
- pelvic or abdominal surgery
- Caffeinated drinks.
So what can be done for Stress Incontinence?
Most women notice it happen the first time and think, it won’t happen again, or that it is quite normal for a women post pregnancy to have occasional leakages. However we need to break this belief system in women…. It is common, not normal.
No woman should have to put up with incontinence… period.
Stress incontinence can cause mental health issues, isolation and having to make unnecessary lifestyle changes.
So what can be done?
- Keep a Bladder Diary:
Keeping a diary can help you determine what is most likely to bring on this unnecessary leakage, whether it be high impact exercises or just coughing/sneezing. It also allows you to note how much you leak also, is it minimal or enough to change your underwear.
- Start your Pelvic Floor Exercises:
Most women after having a baby never continue to do their pelvic floor exercises, yeah you might have done them while pregnant however you need them more now than before. Re-starting your pelvic floor exercises can help, however you have to make sure you’re executing them correctly otherwise this can cause more issues than good.
- PUT YOURSELF FIRST:
You may have just had a baby, had a baby a few years ago and your babies may be all grown up. This is the time to put yourself first, don’t let the stigma of this inconvenience being normal keep you from leading a normal active and healthy lifestyle.
- Get Help!
Probably the most important thing to do. Call your local Women’s Health Physiotherapist and discuss this with them. Women’s Health Physiotherapists have a special interest in the area and are trained specifically to help women going through incontinence.
Put yourself first and book in to see a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
Its Common, Not Normal.