What is Stress Incontinence?
Stress incontinence is the involuntary leaking of urine that occurs with physical stresses such as coughing, sneezing, lifting, squatting, running and jumping.
Why does it occur?
Leakage occurs when there is increased intra-abdominal pressure, this increased downward pressure pushes down on the bladder, and if there is not sufficient pelvic floor muscle strength, then small to moderate amounts of urine can leak.
It’s simply an imbalance between the pressure going down vs what the pelvic floor can hold up.
Examples of common occurrences of when there is increased pressure on the bladder are:
Causes of stress incontinence:
- After gynaecological surgery
Managing stress incontinence:
- Pelvic floor muscle training to improve muscle strength and enable stronger closure of the urethra
ie. a stronger pelvic floor
- Using what is called “The Knack”.
This means improving the co-ordination of when your pelvic floor works. Learning to quickly squeeze the pelvic floor muscles before the increased abdominal pressure hits to lift the bladder, clamp the urethra shut and prevent leakage often helps. Once it’s practiced enough it can work like a reflex!
- Balancing the pelvic floor muscles
Sometimes it’s not a weakness but in fact an “overactive” pelvic floor that can be the problem. When you can’t relax your pelvic floor it makes it really difficult to make it work harder when under stress. Healthy pelvic floors that work well need to be able to switch OFF as well as ON.
Returning to sport:
Some sporting activities with continual high impact e.g. tennis/aerobics require increased muscle endurance for bladder support. It is always best to have an individual pelvic floor muscle assessment to obtain an individual training program for your pelvic floor.
We have Women’s specific physios that are very knowledgable in stress incontinence and are here to help you live your best life. Yep – it takes a bit of work on your behalf but it’s worth it! Book an appointment online now or call 99683424.