Ask a Physiotherapist ~ those distressing, embarrassing leaks are NOT normal
By Christine Haley, BSc., PT
Whether you are 27, 46 or 70, embarrassing leaks are nothing short of distressing!
Urinary incontinence is defined as any involuntary loss of urine. It is a common and distressing problem which may have a profound effect on quality of life of both men and women.
Many people believe urinary incontinence is a normal part of aging when in fact it is not. Others may be embarrassed to talk about incontinence and therefore do not seek medical advice. Many will feel embarrassed due to unpleasant odors or the fear of losing bladder control therefore avoid going out. This can lead to isolation and depression. The good news is urinary incontinence is almost always secondary to an underlying treatable condition.
The most common urinary incontinence called “stress incontinence” is secondary to insufficient strength of the pelvic floor musculature. If you suffer from this condition, you will note involuntary loss of urine with coughing, sneezing or laughing. Sometimes leakage will occur with lifting, jumping, running or even fast walking or bending. This scenario can, but not always, be compounded by another type of incontinence called “urge incontinence”. It is described as episodic and often unusually frequent distressing urges to urinate.
These types of incontinence respond very well to physiotherapy treatment. The physiotherapy program for this commonly seen condition is strengthening of the weakened pelvic floor musculature, behavioral modification, education, muscle stimulation and biofeedback. You may also be given advice regarding general conditioning which has been found to enhance the recovery process. The compliant patient will most often see a complete recovery.
There is currently a new product on the market called “uresta”. Dr. Scott Farrell, urogynecologist from Halifax, has created this device. It is a bladder support that the female client inserts to help control stress incontinence.
Historically, one would have to see a gynecologist or urologist for this but this new innovation, in conjunction with physiotherapy, has eliminated the inconvenience of wait times. You can be symptom free during this time.
If you suffer from any urinary incontinence, seek medical advice to determine the cause and pursue the necessary treatment to alleviate this condition. Be sure to find a physiotherapist specially trained in treating urinary incontinence.
by Christine Haley, BSc., PT