Urinary incontinence is when you lose urine unintentionally.
There are two common types of urinary incontinence in otherwise healthy women. These are:
Urge Incontinence: leaking urine or sometimes losing the entire contents of your bladder with the sudden onset of an urge to pee.
Stress Incontinence: leaking urine with activity such as jumping, coughing, laughing, sneezing or exercising.
Stress incontinence is common during pregnancy and after childbirth due to the stress on the pelvic floor.
But stress incontinence can show up in women who haven’t had children, even young women and girls such as high school athletes.
The good news is that urinary incontinence can be fixed! I see many women who have spent months or years suffering from incontinence.
That is far too long when physical therapy offers a solution with no side effects!
Urinary urgency, frequency and urge incontinence are relatively easy to treat! Here are
Three Steps to Eliminating Urge Incontinence
1. Developing voiding intervals.
Getting on a regular pee schedule will help calm your bladder down. You do this by picking an interval of time that works for you (no longer than 3 hours), and sticking to it like glue.
For example, if you tend to pee every 45 minutes, then you might start with 45 minute intervals. This means you pee every 45 minutes whether you need to go on not.
The tricky part is this, if you feel like you need to pee IN BETWEEN that 45 minutes, so say 30 minutes after you last peed, you DO NOT GO. You MUST wait until the 45 minute mark. To do so, you will need to employ urge suppression strategies.
2. Urge suppression strategies
When the urge comes on, do not run to the bathroom. Instead, employ deep breathing to calm the nervous system.
Sitting down will help to support the pelvis during the urge.
3. Kegels to inhibit bladder contraction.
A rudimentary description of a kegel, or pelvic floor muscle contraction, is to contract your pelvic muscles like you are trying to stop your urine stream
If you don't know how to kegel, I HIGHLY recommend getting a consult with a pelvic floor physical therapist to learn how.
Once the urge has passed (and it will) you can either continue on until your voiding interval arrives, or you can approach the toilet slowly if it is time to pee per your voiding interval, no rushing!
Rushing will only hype up your nervous system again and bring on the urgency.
When your selected voiding interval starts to feel easy, then it’s time to bump it up. Once you bump up the interval, you have to stick to it!
So go slow. You will increase your intervals until the urgency is completely gone and night time peeing has resolved. At that point, you can start to pee normally or whenever you have a natural urge.
Stress incontinence is involuntary urine loss with laughing, coughing, sneezing jumping (or any movement really).
Postpartum women often come to me after they notice the development of pee leaks while attempting to run again.
Stress incontinence is a sign your pelvic support system is not functioning properly. It does not always mean your pelvic floor muscles are weak and need strengthening (kegels).
I commonly see poor firing from the glutes and abdominal wall are the cause for the incontinence, not the pelvic floor. This is true even postpartum!
Not every woman needs kegels. That’s why it’s so important to get a pelvic floor exam by a physical therapist prior to initiating a kegel program.
Essentially, stress incontinence is the inability of the core system to work as a unit. My job is to hunt down the weakest link and help restore balance to the system. Here are
Top 3 Exercises for Addressing Stress Incontinence
Single Leg Bridge
3. Single Leg Squat
These exercises will help strengthen your core and keep you from unwelcome pee leaks.
They are high level however, so if you are still having trouble or struggling with these exercises, make sure to book your free consult with me here!