Managing Incontinence – 7 Easy Tricks
Remember when we mentioned having inconvenience during pregnancy? Urinary incontinence is one of the most common discomforts plaguing expectant mothers, and worse still, it’s deemed “normal” and “expected”.
Previously, we discussed how a weak pelvic floor contributes or, in a larger way, cause incontinence during pregnancy. In this edition, Senior Physiotherapist, Emily guides us on how to identify the symptoms of urinary incontinence, how to treat it, and what to avoid.
What is urinary incontinence?
Simply put, urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. This can happen to both men and women, and is especially common among expectant mothers. There are 2 common types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Why can’t I hold it in?
In stress incontinence, the involuntary loss of urine happens during physical activity or exertion, such as sneezing, coughing, heavy lifting, or even jumping — evidently, incontinence doesn’t need to be a result of an extreme amount of exertion. Weakened pelvic floor muscles fail to support the urine outlet and bladder as much as they should. In this type of leakage the physical movement applies pressure on the bladder and abdomen. If the pressure is too high for the bladder outlet to withstand, urinary leakage will occur.
In urge incontinence, it is self-explanatory — the leakage occurs when one has a strong, sudden urge to urinate caused by an abnormal bladder contraction.
How is urinary incontinence improved?
Weakness in the pelvic floor muscles is one of the many causes of urinary incontinence, so physiotherapy is ideal in strengthening them, and resultantly, relieve or improve urinary leakage. First and foremost, a physiotherapist assess the strength of pelvic floor muscles and analyses the patient’s lifestyle habits like diet and bowel movements to determine the various factors contributing to urinary incontinence.
Subsequently, a therapist will introduce pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the relevant muscles that help retrain the bladder and to improve the urinary leakage.
- Regular pelvic floor muscles exercises that are targeted to new mothers, or mothers who have had multiple children.
- Have a physical assessment done by a certified physiotherapist on the pelvic floor muscles after childbirth.
- Avoid constipation, which adds even more pressure to the area.
- Take irritants such as alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea or carbonated drinks as they may upset your bladder.
- Go to urinate “just in case” – instead, go to the washroom only when you need to.
- Try not to urinate more than 8 times in a day.
- Urinating upon waking from sleep, especially more than once.
Consult an expert
Incontinence can take a toll on your quality of life, preventing you from doing the things you love without worrying that you may leak. It is important to address the issue as soon as possible to avoid further complications involving your pelvic floor muscles. Our team of specialist physiotherapists are trained to assess and assist on such matters. Do contact us at 6226 3632 for more information.