Have you experienced urinary leakage recently or in the past? If so, have you mentioned it to your GP or have you silently coped with the changes urinary incontinence can bring?
Urinary incontinence (UI) affects nearly 13% of men and 37% if women in Australia. With so many Australians affected it is an important health issue, which fortunately can often be treated.
There are many different forms of urinary incontinence, however, the most common forms are urge incontinence and stress incontinence.
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is the involuntary loss of urine on effort or with sneezing and coughing.
Urge urinary incontinence (UUI) describes involuntary loss of urine associated with urgency. Urgency can arise regardless of the amount of urine in the bladder and the urge can come on so quickly that you are left unable to make it to the bathroom.
Those suffering from UI may often experience a combination of stress and urge urinary incontinence.
More women experience urinary incontinence than men. This is due to the anatomy of the female urinary system as well as the stresses that pregnancy and childbirth can cause. During childbirth muscles can be strained or nerve damage can be experienced – all leading to a decrease in support and increased chance of experiencing urinary incontinence.
The good news is that urinary incontinence symptoms can be improved! There is plenty of quality research demonstrating the benefits of pelvic floor muscle training on urinary incontinence. Pelvic floor muscle training should be correctly prescribed and progressed to ensure the best chance of improving incontinence symptoms. There has been research to show that many of those trying to complete pelvic floor exercises without guidance are doing so incorrectly. Under the guidance of a pelvic floor physiotherapist you will allow yourself the best possible chance of improving urinary incontinence. However its not just about the pelvic floor: assessment of bladder, bowel and dietary habits, in conjunction with pelvic floor strength, can all lead to accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
If you have incontinence and want help, contact a pelvic floor physiotherapist or chat to your GP. Capital Clinic’s Tanya Maselli has post graduate qualifications in pelvic floor rehabilitation and has a special interest in the assessment and management of Urinary Incontinence.