Urinary incontinence is a common problem that affects millions of women worldwide. It is a condition where there is involuntary leakage of urine, which can be embarrassing and inconvenient. This problem can occur in women of all ages, but it is more common in women who are over 50 years old. In this blog post, we will discuss female urinary incontinence in detail, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.
Causes of Female Urinary Incontinence
There are many causes of female urinary incontinence, and these can be divided into two main categories: temporary and long-term. Temporary urinary incontinence can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Certain medications
- Alcohol and caffeine consumption
- Pregnancy and childbirth
Long-term urinary incontinence, on the other hand, is usually caused by a more serious underlying medical condition, such as:
- Overactive bladder (OAB)
- Stress urinary incontinence (SUI)
- Neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease
- Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
- Bladder cancer
Symptoms of Female Urinary Incontinence
The symptoms of female urinary incontinence can vary depending on the type of incontinence a woman is experiencing. The main types of urinary incontinence are:
- Stress incontinence: This type of incontinence occurs when a woman experiences urine leakage during activities that put pressure on the bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, or laughing.
- Urge incontinence: This type of incontinence occurs when a woman experiences a sudden urge to urinate and cannot make it to the bathroom in time.
- Overflow incontinence: This type of incontinence occurs when the bladder is not able to empty completely, causing urine to leak out.
Treatment of Female Urinary Incontinence
The treatment of female urinary incontinence will depend on the type of incontinence a woman is experiencing and the underlying cause of the problem. Some common treatment options include:
- Pelvic floor exercises: These exercises can help strengthen the muscles that control the bladder and improve bladder control.
- GWHA can give you the full picture when it comes to Pelvic Floor exercises. Its more than Kegels!
- Kegels are an important strategy if the goal is strengthening the pelvic floor. Like any other muscle the pelvic floor muscles need to start with a healthy and pain-free foundation.
- SOME CLIENTS SHOULD NOT KEGEL! Our physiotherapy team will assess each client for their individual needs. Many clients need to create a healthy pelvic floor foundation through relaxation exercises, implement strategies to reduce pain and address any environmental or emotional triggers BEFORE they start strengthening.
One way to appreciate if your pelvic floor rests in a healthy relaxed state is to practice deep diaphragmatic or tummy breathing. As you breath in you should see your belly expand outwards with the movement of your diaphragm but you should also feel like your pelvic floor is gently expanding downwards. Then on the exhale you should feel and see your abdominal wall tighten and get a sense for your pelvic floor lifting or contracting. A great place to practice and feel this sensation is sitting on hard chair or stability ball. The pressure of the seat of the chair or stability ball should increase your pelvic floor awareness. As you inhale you should feel more pressure into the seat-pan of the chair or stability ball and when you exhale you should feel a gentle lightening feel or lift. Got it? You may be ready to add on strengthening!
- Medications: There are several medications that can be used to treat different types of urinary incontinence, including anticholinergics, beta-3 agonists, and estrogen.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct a problem that is causing urinary incontinence, such as pelvic organ prolapse or bladder obstruction.
- Lifestyle changes: Making changes to your diet and lifestyle can also help improve bladder control. For example, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, staying active, and quitting smoking can all help reduce the risk of urinary incontinence.
Female urinary incontinence is a COMMON problem that affects millions of women worldwide BUT lets NOT NORMALIZE it!
It can be embarrassing, inconvenient and push women into a sedentary and isolated lifestyle. There are many treatment options available to help manage the problem. If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, a Pelvic Physiotherapist can help you determine the underlying cause of the problem and develop a treatment plan that is right for you. With the right treatment, you can regain control of your bladder and improve your quality of life.