Stress Urinary Incontinence
Today, I want to talk about a specific type of bladder leakage called Stress Urinary Incontinence. One in 3 women will experience bladder leakage at some point in their lifetime and although it is common, it is not normal. Let me reiterate that…
Bladder leakage is not normal. Not when you exercise. Not when you sneeze. Not after you have had a baby. Not when you laugh. Not when you are post-menopausal. Not when you lift. Bladder leakage is never normal. It is a sign of dysfunction in our core support system.
Stress incontinence happens when physical movement or activity — such as coughing, sneezing, running or heavy lifting — puts pressure (stress) on your bladder. Stress urinary incontinence is often a result of weakness or poor recruitment patterns of the pelvic floor muscles.
With stress incontinence you may experience urine leakage when you:
- Stand up
- Get out of a car
- Lift something heavy
- Have sex
Amount of leakage can vary from a few drops to a complete emptying of bladder. Some people experience the bladder leakage with many different activities and for others it is limited to a single activity type.
Treatment for Stress Urinary Incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence is probably one of the most common things that I see here at my practice. The good news is that it respond really well to conservative treatment and simple changes that you can make in your daily routine.
Contrary to what the Poise commercials want us to believe, the treatment for stress incontinence is not buying the latest, greatest absorbent pad or diaper. Instead, most people report a significant improvement in their leakage with training for their pelvic floor muscles. Many times stress incontinence is a result of weak pelvic floor muscles.
Not sure if your pelvic floor muscles are weak? See if you can stop the flow of urine mid stream. When you contract your pelvic floor muscles (AKA Kegel exercise) you should be able to get the stream to stop completely. If you can’t, then this is a sign that your pelvic floor muscles may be weak.
Word of caution… do not repetitively start and stop your flow of urine as a exercise. This can mess up the normal mechanisms for completely emptying your bladder.
One of the tips I tell people to do if they are having leakage with a cough or sneeze is what we called “The Knack.” It is a little precontraction of the pelvic floor to brace for the load of that is going come from the pressure of the cough or sneeze. If you have warning that a cough or a sneeze is going to happen then stop where you are and contract your pelvic floor to brace for the load.
If you are experiencing stress incontinence, know that you are not alone and there are things that you can do to make a difference. Partnering with a pelvic physical therapist can be a great option. They can help you identify your pelvic floor muscles and come up with a rehabilitation program specific to your individual needs and goals.
Bladder control issues are not a normal part of aging and they are definitely not something that you just have to live with!!!! Take this short quiz courtesy of the American Urogynecologic Society to find out if it is time for you to do something to take back control of your bladder.
YES NO Are you using the bathroom so often it disrupts your day?
YES NO Do you find yourself making a mental note of where all the bathrooms are when you enter a building?
YES NO Do you find it hard to make it to the bathroom, maybe even having accidents sometimes?
YES NO Are you using pads or other forms of protection to absorb bladder leakage?
YES NO Are you worried that you will leak with sneezing, coughing, lifting heavy objects, laughing, exercising?
YES NO Have tampons become too uncomfortable to use or do they fall out?
YES NO Are you experiencing pressure or bulging in your vagina, especially after you stand for long periods of time?
YES NO Has your urine stream become weak or turned into spray?
If you answered YES to one or more of these questions, consider talking to your physician about your symptoms and available treatment options. To learn more about physical therapy as a treatment option for bladder control issues visit the Legacy Physical Therapy website or call us at 636-225-3649 to set up your free screening appointment.
Now is the time to get informed and to take control of your health. Bladder conditions will be taking center stage on Lifetime TV network and Lifetime Real Women Network this weekend. Bladder Monologues will be airing multiple times this weekend on “Defining Moments.”
Women’s Health Foundation (WHF) and founder, Missy Lavender will be featured on Lifetime Television’s Defining Moments. Also highlighted in the segment are participants of the Foundation’s signature pelvic wellness and education program, Total Control® who were filmed at Galter Life Center in Chicago, IL.
The show focused on three women with bladder control problems and their journeys back to healthy, vibrant lives. The women share their unique “Defining Moment,” when they seek treatment, find community, and overcome the challenges of years of embarrassment and silent struggles. “We are proud to be part of this show which celebrates the possibility of taking control of your bladder and pelvic health,” said Lavender. “Our part of the show highlights the need for behavioral options such as appropriate exercise, education and physical therapy to help women with bladder control issues,” she added.
You’ll recognize these women from your daily life; they could easily be your neighbor, your sister or YOU! Defining Moments shows us that bladder conditions can affect anyone, regardless of income or race, but those who have reclaimed their lives through treatment often share a common message: “Stop suffering in silence! Seek a solution!”
Legacy Physical Therapy can be part of your solution. Please contact us today to see if therapy is right for you. 636-225-3649
So you leak urine sometimes. That much has been established fairly easily. What you don’t know is what type of urinary incontinence you have. Determining what type of incontinence you have can put you on the right road to recovery. Below are the symptoms of the 3 most common types of urinary leakage: urge urinary incontinence, stress urinary incontinence, and mixed urinary incontinence.
URGE URINARY INCONTINENCE (Otherwise known as “The gotta go’s, oops I went”)
- Frequent strong, sudden urge to urinate
- Regularly going to the bathroom 8 or more times in a 24 hour period
- Getting up 2 or more times during the night to go to the bathroom
- Leaking all of a sudden for no good reason
- Knowing where all the good bathrooms in town are and how long it takes to get there, because you never know when you will have to go “just in case”
- Limiting the amount of fluid you drink so there is less urine to leak
- Once you pull in the driveway or put the key in the lock it is a mad dash to get to the bathroom
Even if you do not leak in these situations, but you still experience them, you may have overactive bladder.
STRESS URINARY INCONTINENCE (Otherwise known as “pee pee when you hee hee”)
- Losing urine with physical activities such as lifting or exercising
- Losing urine when you cough, laugh, or sneeze
- Losing urine when you stand up or sit down
- Experiencing most or all of the symptoms of overactive bladder and stress urinary incontinence