Urinary incontinence (accidental loss of urine) is incredibly common. Around ¼ of the population over the age of 15 experience incontinence. The prevalence is highest in women (particularly in older age or after having had a baby), but men are affected too.
There are two main types of urinary incontinence:
Stress urinary incontinence – leakage occurs when there is extra pressure in the abdomen such as during laughing, coughing, sneezing, lifting, carrying, running, jumping etc.
Urge urinary incontinence – leakage occurs when the bladder forcibly contracts (not necessarily related to any physical activity).
You may also have mixed urinary incontinence where there is a combination of stress and urge urinary incontinence.
There can be many factors that contribute to urinary incontinence. For stress urinary incontinence, there may be dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles (weak, lacking endurance, or not well co-ordinated), a lack of good bladder support (anterior wall prolapse), or poor control of abdominal pressure.
Urge urinary incontinence can also have many contributing factors, such as irritation of the bladder, poor bladder habits and constipation.
Luckily, help is at hand! Physiotherapists trained in pelvic health can assess what is contributing to your incontinence and develop an effective treatment plan targeted to your specific situation. So whilst urinary incontinence is common, it is not ‘normal’, and it is not something that you have to just live with.
If you have bothersome urinary incontinence, then see a physiotherapist trained in Women’s and Pelvic Health to get your continence back under control.
You can also read more here.