‘P!SSED OFF’ with Stress Urinary Incontinence?
Hearing mums say ‘I can’t go on the trampoline as I might pee myself’ or ‘I laughed so hard I peed my pants’ kind of makes me laugh but also makes me sad and angry too!
It needn’t be like this ladies!
Stress incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine due to coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise or sex. It is usually the result of the weakening of, or damage to, the muscles used to prevent urination. Such as the pelvic floor muscles and the urethral sphincter.
Certain things can increase the chances of urinary incontinence developing. Pregnancy and vaginal birth amongst other things. This is not just a problem for little old ladies and new moms though. It can even affect athletes.
But many women have never had treatment for this problem. The reasons for this include a reluctance to seek help. A lack of access to help. A lack of awareness that help actually exists and time restraints.
When I did a quick Google search on “Stress Urinary Incontinence” I found this snippet. Taken from the NHS Choices website.
“Initially, your GP may suggest some simple measures to see if they help improve your symptoms.
These may include:
• Lifestyle changes – such as losing weight and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol
• Pelvic floor exercises – exercising your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing them, taught by a specialist
• Bladder training – where you learn ways to wait longer between needing to urinate and passing urine, guided by a specialist”
I don’t entirely agree with the second suggestion that the NHS makes here. Read on to find out why. Also see my blog ‘Why Kegels Aren’t Always the Answer’
The Pelvic Floor System
The pelvic floor has long been the only muscle targeted in the battle against incontinence. Yet ignored in our pursuit of a strong ‘core’. New research has helped us understand that the pelvic floor is actually a critical part of the ‘core’ team. This integrated teamwork, linked to the up and down piston action of our breath, provides a sturdy foundation that supports our joints and movement, accelerates fitness, and keeps us dry.
If you’re wetting your pants while exercising (or sneezing, coughing, laughing, etc.), it’s not a mark of kicking butt. Rather a malfunction of your pelvic floor, breathing patterns, diaphragm and unbalanced intra-abdominal pressure.
Just like when you squat to pick up your child or a laundry basket. Your body should work in a fluid motion, with multiple muscles working together to make an action happen. So, why would we think that just tightening our pelvic floors is going to solve the problem? There’s a team of muscles, (your diaphragm, your pelvic floor, multifidus and transversus abdominis), working together like gears to keep your core stable but supple. So you can lift, jump and sneeze without leaking.
So with appropriate exercises to strengthen your entire pelvic floor and core, huge improvements can be made to your issues of wetting when under physical stress. It’s a common problem but it certainly isn’t “normal” and don’t let anyone try to convince you it is!