Physiotherapy for Urinary Incontinence

Catherine Browne

What can Physiotherapy do for Urinary Incontinence?

When we think of physiotherapists, we may immediately think of the guy or girl on the side of a rugby pitch checking Brian O’Driscoll’s neck or Tommy Bowe’s knee!! However physiotherapy is a much broader profession and deals with a wide variety of issues, one of which, a growing and essential area, that of women’s health physiotherapy. One particular aspect of women’s health physiotherapy deals specifically with urinary incontinence.  Urinary incontinence symptoms can range from the occasional leak when you laugh, cough or exercise to the complete inability to control your bladder, which may cause you to completely wet yourself.

 

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary Incontinence is the accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder. It is extremely common and it is estimated that almost one third of Irish women leak urine upon a simple sneeze, cough, laugh or bout of exercise. Alternatively, there can often be an urge to rush to the toilet, with the sensation of almost ‘not making it in time’.

 

Who is affected by urinary incontinence?

Urinary Incontinence can be associated with pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, increasing age, post surgery or injury, and a range of chronic conditions.

 

What are the symptoms of Urinary Incontinence?

  • Do you sometimes feel you have not completely emptied your bladder?
  • Do you have to rush to use the toilet?
  • Are you frequently nervous because you think you might lose control of your bladder?
  • Do you wake up twice or more during the night to go to the toilet?
  • Do you sometimes leak before you get to the toilet?
  • Do you sometimes leak when you lift something heavy?
  • Do you sometimes leak when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise or play sport?
  • Do you plan your daily routine around where the nearest toilet is?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you may have a bladder control problem.

 

What is the treatment for urinary incontinence?

The good news is, women should not accept this as their fate! Urinary Incontinence can be addressed successfully by a Women’s Health Chartered Physiotherapist. Treatment includes pelvic and abdominal muscle exercises, breathing techniques, bladder re-training, manual techniques to release tight muscles.

 

Of course, ideally, we would start our pelvic floor exercises early and prevent or reduce the risk of urinary incontinence. Here again it is useful to see a women’s health chartered physiotherapist in this situation to ensure correct technique and, or to take part in a clinical pilates class.

 

It is important that we prioritise our needs and quality of life, and not just accept urinary incontinence as ‘normal’. Unfortunately, many people don’t realise that help is available and they suffer in silence.

 

If you feel that this issue applies to you and you notice some of these symptoms in your life, call for an appointment with Chartered Physiotherapist and Women’s Health Specialist Catherine Browne at Evidence-Based Therapy Centre today on 091 727777.