Have you ever sneezed, coughed, jumped or laughed and ‘leaked a little’? As surprising and embarrassing as this may be, you are not alone. 30% of all women, and 1.5 million Canadians, experience some form of incontinence in their lives.
Urinary incontinence, which is the partial or total loss of bladder control, can range in severity from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that's so sudden and strong you don't get to a toilet in time.
Though incontinence occurs more commonly as we age, it should not be an inevitable consequence of aging. If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, a pelvic health physiotherapist as your first line of defense may be for you.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
Stress incontinence. Urine leaks when you exert pressure on your bladder (coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising)
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.
Overflow incontinence. You experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to a bladder that doesn't empty completely.
Mixed incontinence. You experience more than one type of urinary incontinence.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence:
· Diuretics (certain drinks, foods, medications)
· Urinary Tract Infection
· Aging of the Bladder Muscle
· Obstruction, such as a Tumor or Urinary Stones
· Neurological Disorders, such as MS, Parkinson's, a Stroke, a Brain Tumour or a Spinal Inquiry
NOTE: Urinary incontinence isn't a disease, it's a symptom. It can be caused by everyday habits, underlying medical conditions or physical problems. A thorough evaluation by a pelvic health physiotherapist is necessary to determine the underlying cause of your incontinence.
How to Decrease your Risk of Urinary Incontinence
· See a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
· Maintain a healthy weight
· Avoid bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol and acidic foods
· Eat more fiber to prevent constipation
· Don't smoke