With 1 in 3 women experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, it is no surprise that most of the women I see report an issue with their bladder function.
This issue is not just attributed to the mature woman, or a woman who has birthed a baby. Research suggests that women who have NEVER had a baby, are experiencing stress or urge incontinence.
So, what is the difference between ‘stress’ and ‘urge’ incontinence?
Stress incontinence is loss of urine without an urge to void that is usually triggered by an activity causing an increase in intra-abdominal pressure. This is the force generated within the abdominal cavity. This is the type of urinary loss caused by coughing, sneezing, jumping, lifting or pushing a swing. It is often associated with exercise, hitting a ball, gymnastics, cross fit or high-impact aerobics. Women with stress incontinence may urinate frequently, but this is done in an attempt to keep the bladder empty, not because they have frequent urges to void. Other things that can lead to stress incontinence are being overweight and taking particular medications.
This is also called overactive bladder. With this type, you have an urgent need to go to the toilet, and may not get there in time. Urge incontinence is the loss of urine associated with a strong urge to pass urine. Although it may occur spontaneously, it may be preceded by certain activities such as putting the key into the lock of the front door, known as “key-in-lock” incontinence. Examples of other such provocations are the sound of running water, showering, washing the dishes, cold weather or changing position. Many women describe urine loss that occurs with little or no warning — that “when you gotta go, you gotta go” feeling. Urge incontinence is often associated with urinary urgency, frequency and urination at night. These are all symptoms of an overactive bladder.
If you can answer YES to any of the following questions, then you are experience urge, stress or a combination of the two bladder dysfunctions:
Do you leak urine when you cough, laugh, stand up, jump or exercise?
Do you ever feel sudden urgency to get to the toilet (and maybe not make it in time?)
Do you feel like you empty your bladder completely when you urinate?
Do you ever have to sit back down on the toilet again after you thought you had finished?
Do you get constipated?
Do you sit down on the toilet seat or hover above it to pass urine?
Are you going to the toilet often? (more than once every two hours?)
Do you ever go to the bathroom ‘just in case’?
Do you need to get up at night to urinate?
Do you drink enough water? (1.5 litres per day)
Do you wear a pad during the day?
Do you have any pain/urgency/straining/burning/numbness/tingling when you urinate?
All of these questions, along with an internal pelvic assessment, will help me decide on the best treatment plan as different issues need different solutions.
Women have been taught to accept that leaking is common and NORMAL – and it certainly is not. There’s almost always something you can do to improve the situation. Get in touch if you want advice and help. BOOK HERE