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.
So this time a year a lot of times people resolution is to get healthy and workout more which is awesome. We see a lots of exercise routines and new workouts started but unfortunately sometimes that can bring to light a problem that people don’t know that they have … pelvic floor dysfunction.
Today I want to talk to you about 10 signs that pelvic floor dysfunction may be affecting your workout.
- You have Bladder Leakage when you run, jump do burpees, jumping jacks, jump rope, Push ups, Squats any physical activities. Leakage with Physical activity is not normal, “It is not a badge of honor to leak while you exercise” it is a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction and there’s something that you can do about it.
- Low back, pelvic, hip or a Abdominal pain with or soon after your workouts, “Pain should not be a part of your workouts.” Yes should be pushing yourself hard but there’s a difference between muscles burn and pain. And if you’re dealing with pain any of these areas it may be a sign that your core muscles are not functioning well together and you need to make a change.
- If you need to pee, pre and post workout then this is a sign that your bladder and pelvic floor muscles may not be function optimally, if you’re doing a 40 to 60 minute workout you should be able to make it without having to urinate before or after class.
- You are experiencing pelvic heaviness, pressure or falling out feeling during or shortly after workouts, This can be a sign that you are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction and/or pelvic organ prolapse and it’s a definite sign you need to modify activities in order to performed at a level that your core and pelvic support muscles can function at appropriately.
- Your belly bulges out or pushes out especially when you’re performing abdominal exercises. You should be able to maintain a gentle belly pull in during the exercises. If you feel that your abdominal wall is pushing out or your back arching off the floor then “you are not using right support muscles to perform the exercise and you’re actually not going to get the same benefit out of it” This also is putting more pressure down through your pelvic floor area. It can be a sign of dysfunction.
- You need to pee mid workout. Again going back to number 3, you should not need to pee before after or during workout and if it’s only 40 minutes to an hour long. So if you need to stop your workout to make sure that you don’t pee your pants then it’s a sign that you probably have some bladder or pelvic floor issues that need to be taken care of.
- You hold your breath to complete an exercise. Whether you doing crunches, plank, squats, lunges, bridges or any type of exercise, “If you find that you have to hold your breath to complete those exercises that is using a pressure system to create stability vs thoroughly engaging your core support muscles well”.
- You feel that your form fails you or you get exhausted easily from your exercises. Again it’s can be a sign that your core support muscles are not working the way that they should be and your body’s trying to compensate with other areas but it’s not able to do so.
- “You skip part of your workout because you know you will have bladder leakage if you do it”, So if you are avoiding the double unders, jump lunges, jump ropes, jumping jacks or squats because you will know you will leak when you do them, then that is a sign that you have pelvic floor dysfunction. There is something you can do about it so that you can get back to doing your entire workout.
- You have gas leakage while performing your exercises. So if you cannot hold the fart in while your are exercising then this is the sign that your pelvic floor muscles are not performing optimally.
So we just went through 10 signs that pelvic floor dysfunction may be affecting your workout. How many of these applied to you? If they do, Don’t worry. There something that you can do! Partnering with the pelvic physical therapist is one of the best options that you can do to make sure that your pelvic floor and core muscles are performing optimally to get you back to your exercise routine. We want to help you reach those new year resolutions and goal that you would like to achieve. So if you answered yes to anyone of these 10 signs then we’d love the opportunity to work with you. You can give us a call @ 636-225-36-49 and we can get you setup for a free discovery session to find out if pelvic physical therapy is right for you.
Today I want to clear up of some common misconceptions about bladder health that we hear all the time. Do you know how to keep your bladder healthy and happy? Check out below to learn 10 simple tips for a healthy bladder.
- Do not push to pee. We are not designed to strain or push to empty our bladder. Women especially tend to be what I called “Power peers.” They go as quick as they can because they hurry to get in/get out out and get back to their day.However forcing or pushing to urinate puts more strain on our pelvic floor and bladder. We are designed “just to sit and relax and let the urine come out”. Take a moment sit down and let the flow happen vs trying to strain or push.
- “To keep your bladder happy, you need to drink more water”. Most people, especially if they are dealing with bladder leakage, urgency or frequency will limit their fluid to reduce the amount of times that they have to go to the bathroom or that they leak. Unfortunately when we limit fluid it actually irritates the bladder. Concentrated urine is more irritating to the bladder, so we need to take in plenty water throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep the bladder happy. You can tell that you are drinking the right amount of fluids by looking at the color of your pee. Your pee it should be a pale yellow color. If it’s a dark yellow or even towards a brown side that is definitely a sign that you are not drinking enough water.
- Sit down on the toilet. Many women hover over the toilet because they are worried about germs. However, “we are designed to sit down and relax to urinate.” If you are worried about germs on public toilets, then use toilet seat covers or line the seat with toilet paper, because we need to sit to empty fully.
- Limit or avoid caffeine. Now this can be a sad one for lots of people. Don’t get me wrong I like my cup of coffee in the morning but “caffeine is a bladder irritant” and can cause increased urgency and frequency. If you’re dealing with urinary urgency and frequency the first thing I would recommend is to cut out caffeine. If you absolutely cannot cut it out then for every cup of coffee that you drink, you should also have a cup or 2 of water to try to dilute the bladder irritant.
- Be gentle when you wipe. Our tissue down in there is delicate. Wipe front to back and potentially just dab to be even more gentle.
- “Don’t ignore the urge to go”. Our bladder communicates with our brain to tell it when our our bladder. This usually occurs every 2 to 4 hours. “Listen to your bladder”. When you feel that need to urinate and it’s been close to or over the 2 hour mark then go. If you are going more frequently than every 2 hours then you may be dealing with urinary urgency and frequency.
- Squeeze before you sneeze. When we have warning that a sneeze, a laugh or a cough is coming we want to pre-contract our pelvic floor to brace and prevent bladder leakage. To contract your pelvic floor, try to pucker around the anus or draw the vagina up and in. If you’re having through doing this or not sure that you are doing it right, then this is a great opportunity to connect a pelvic physical therapist to figure out how your pelvic floor muscles are working. We need the pelvic floor muscles to be on and ready to accept that extra pressure that is going to happen when we cough, laugh, or sneeze.
- When you finish peeing, rock side to side and back and forth on the toilet to funnel fluid down in the bladder to make sure that you are emptying completely. Rock ‘n’ roll on the toilet instead of trying push or strain to get that last a little bit of urine out.
- “Don’t Rush”. Sit down, “Relax and let your body do it’s thing”. Rushing can prevent completely empty your bladder fully. While sitting on the toilet take 5- 10 deep breaths to help everything empty out fully. If you have trouble slowing down try setting a timer on your phone for 1 minute to get you to sit for a little longer.
- Partner with a pelvic physical therapist. A pelvic physical therapist can help you evaluate your bladder habits and assess your pelvic floor muscle function. They can help you identify potential bladder problems and come up with a plan to address issues.
After reading these 10 tips for healthy bladder, how many are you practicing? Could your bladder use some healthier habits? We are here to help. Feel free to call us at 636-225-3649 to talk with one of Legacy Physical Therapy’s pelvic physical therapists to get your questions answered.
This holiday season we hope that you will help us give the gift of pelvic health. All too often at Legacy Physical Therapy we hear our patients say things like…
- “I have never heard of pelvic physical therapy.”
- “How come none of my doctor’s told me this was an option?
- “Why am I just hearing about women’s health physical therapy now?”
- “Every woman who has had a baby should see a women’s health physical therapist.”
- “Why isn’t pelvic physical therapy recommended to all pregnant or postpartum women?”
Our goal is to spread the word about pelvic health. We want women and men suffering with bladder issues, bowel dysfunction, sexual problems, pelvic pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, and core weakness to know that they are not alone and there are options for treatment. We hope that we can count on you for your help.
Ways to Spread the Word about Pelvic Health and
Legacy Physical Therapy
- Provide a testimonial for our website
- In 2018, we would like to update our website with new patient stories in our testimonial section. You can greatly help us by writing, even anonymously, about your experience with our group. Email Us Here!
- If you are like me, you might need a little help to get your creative writing juices flowing. Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What kind of impact has it made on your life coming to Legacy Physical Therapy?
- What was the reason that you came to Legacy Physical Therapy?
- What goals have you accomplished at Legacy Physical Therapy?
- What would your advice be to others who are thinking about coming to Legacy Physical Therapy?
- Write a review on Google or Yelp
- Get social with us and review us on Facebook
- Legacy Physical Therapy has a Facebook page where we love to share helpful pelvic health information. ‘Like’ our page and share our pelvic health information with your social circle. While you are there, leave us a review.
- Tell your doctor about your success with physical therapy!
- Your doctor would love to know that you are feeling better and achieving your goals. Please let them know about your success at your next appointment or by sending an email.
- Give us feedback!
- All feedback helps us improve our delivery of care, so please let us know if there’s something we are doing well or if there is something we can do better.
Happy holidays and cheers to a healthy New Year!!!
From the staff at Legacy Physical Therapy
Brooke, Jamie, Rosie and Abbie