Urinary Incontinence

Urinary Incontinence

May 7, 2024

Frequently asked questions about Urinary incontinence

(Article by Erin Butler, Senior physiotherapist, Women’s Health program lead)

Keywords: Women’s Health, Women’s Health Physiotherapy, Incontinence, Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a condition in which a patient loses control over the bladder and its function. It can have multiple causes including surgical, neurological, lifestyle, or functional. The urinary incontinence symptoms can vary in different patients – from small occasional leaks to complete loss of control. Urinary incontinence causes in females can be temporary – due to delivery, recent surgery, or lifestyle change. Common risk factors are gender (females are more prone to have urinary incontinence), age (over 50 is more common to suffer from UI), obesity (extra weight increases the pressure to bladder and might be also connected with muscle weakness), smoking, family history, some diseases (especially neurological character).

There are multiple urinary incontinence types as reported in patients:

Stress incontinence. Urine leaks when you exert pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, or lifting something heavy.

  • Urge incontinence. You have a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may need to urinate often, including throughout the night. Urge incontinence may be caused by a minor condition, such as infection, or a more severe condition such as a neurological disorder or diabetes.
  • Overflow incontinence. You experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to a bladder that doesn't empty completely.
  • Functional incontinence. A physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to the toilet in time. For example, if you have severe arthritis, you may not be able to unbutton your pants quickly enough.
  • Mixed incontinence. You experience more than one type of urinary incontinence — most often this refers to a combination of stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

In general, urinary incontinence has a massive negative impact on quality of life – often brings embarrassment and socialization issues and it is still underestimated in preventative care. Urinary incontinence treatment is given more priority with more medical experts weighing their opinion. Women’s health specialized physiotherapy is one of the great noninvasive ways how to get diagnosed and treated for this issue.


What will happen in my Women’s Health Physiotherapy assessment?

The therapist will perform a full assessment with you which will involve taking a medical history, and current complaints, and will thoroughly assess details about the incontinence and other related topics. After that, you will receive a full-body clinical assessment to determine the symptoms of urinary incontinence – which might focus on the muscles in your pelvis and hips. It can occasionally include an internal examination of the pelvic floor. The goal of this assessment is to identify the cause and type of urinary incontinence. Based on the assessment the therapist will determine the treatment and provide a further rehabilitation plan that includes:

  1. Education and Awareness
  2. Releasing and stretching exercises in case of tight muscles
  3. Strengthening for weak muscles

Is going to the toilet every hour normal?

The average bladder can hold 16-20 oz of urine before it needs to be emptied. The normal voiding interval is every 2 to 3 hours. As we get older bladder capacity can decrease and we may need to pass urine more frequently during the day and x1 at night.

What are some good bladder habits?

  1. Take your time when emptying your bladder
  2. Don’t strain or push to empty your bladder
  3. Make sure you empty your bladder completely each time you pass urine by not rushing the process
  4. Ignore the urge to go if you are urinating too frequently and wait 2 hours between toileting
  5. Avoid going to the toilet “just in case”

Book in to see one of our Women’s Health physiotherapists today to discuss how we can help improve your incontinence.

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