Urinary Incontinence (UI) is a common problem suffered by women with advancing age or after childbirth. It refers to the loss of bladder control which is distressing and socially disruptive. It can be caused by personal health issues or hygiene problems.
It can lead to restriction in employment or educational opportunities for women. It may also increase the risk of hospitalization or admission to nursing homes.
As it is a sensitive issue, some women for months hide it because of embarrassment or shame. However, the problem can worsen if not treated on time. Women think UI is a natural thing after childbirth or with advancement in age, but many are not aware that there are several treatment options for it.
So, ladies you don’t need to suffer with this!
Urinary Incontinence can be treated with Physiotherapy.
Physiotherapists understand specialized treatments that can help people with urinary incontinence manage their symptoms, and reduce their dependence on surgery or medications.
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary Incontinence refers to the loss of control over urination leading to leakage during the day or night. According to studies, almost 400 million people globally suffer with urinary incontinence. People who are suffering with this condition struggle in starting the urine stream and holding it.
The medical condition involves pelvic floor muscles too. These muscles are attached to the bottom of the pelvic bones, and stretched front and back. They make a hammock structure that can be lifted to support the internal organs and control the sphincter muscles in the body. The pelvic floor muscles also support the lower back, stabilize the pelvic bones, and help in sexual activity.
Generally, women are more likely to have urinary incontinence, however, men are not very far behind.
Stats for Female Urinary Incontinence?
- 50% of women in their life cycle experience some urinary incontinence
- 33% of women develop regular problems
- 50% of nursing home residents are incontinent
- 23% women say that it affects their sex life
- 31% dress differently because of the condition
Types of Urinary Incontinence
This involves the leakage associated with coughing, sneezing, running, exercising, and jumping. It happens when there is a high intra-abdominal pressure and the pelvic floor muscles cannot control it. This can be caused due to weakness or lack of support in the pelvic muscles. Women who have this condition usually have pelvic floor dysfunction because of:
- Pregnancy and childbirth which may cause stress or pressure on the bladder and puts pelvic floor muscles in trauma
- Inflammation like cystitis
- Surgery in women’s vagina or rectum
- Injury or trauma like pelvic fracture
- Lack of physical activity in daily lifestyle
This refers to the leakage because of an uncontrollable and an increased urge to urinate. People who have urge incontinence feel a sudden urge to urinate and then leak before reaching the bathroom. This condition is controlled by a contraction of the pelvic floor muscles that decreases the urgency to urinate and keep the urethra closed.
But people lose this control because of pelvic floor weakness or tightness or spasms that cause uncontrolled bladder contractions.
The condition can also result from a habit. For example, if a person has a habit of going to the bathroom after coming home from outside, they can start associating reaching home with going to the bathroom. So, this person may feel the urge to urinate even before reaching home. The feeling of urgency leads to urinary incontinence.
This refers to an increase in frequency of urination or going to the bathroom too often to urinate. People with urinary frequency feel they need to empty the bladder often throughout the day and more than once during the night.
Urinary Frequency can be caused by diseases that affect the urinary tract. This includes the kidneys, tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder, and the duct through which urine passes from bladder and goes out of the body. Some other factors that may cause urinary frequency are:
- Infection, disease or injury in the bladder
- Conditions that may cause an increase in urine production
- Specific cancer treatments
- Changes in muscles, nerves, and other tissues that affect the functioning of bladder
- Drugs or alcohol that increases urination
This refers to involuntarily losing control of bowels. Fecal Incontinence, also known as anal incontinence, occurs with or without your knowledge. It is seen more in women than in men, and happens often with older people.
Some causes of fecal incontinence are:
- Joint pain or muscle weakness that makes having a movement difficult
- Confusion, dementia, or delirium
- Feelings of depression or anger
- Use of a walker which slows movement
Also Read: Pelvic Pain Physiotherapy
What are the Social Consequences of Urinary Incontinence?
- Decreased self esteem
- Impaired emotional status
- Impedes social activity
- Impedes physical activity
- Heavy economic burden on parents, families, and society
How Physiotherapists Diagnose Urinary Incontinence?
Physiotherapists conduct a thorough examination to identify the causes of urinary incontinence in the patient. They will ask you about your symptoms and problems you are suffering daily. They might assess your pelvic floor muscles, hips, and low back along with the strength, coordination, and flexibility of your pelvic floor muscles.
The therapists may also advise you for additional tests, such as diagnostic ultrasound, urodynamic testing, or MRI to examine pelvic floor muscle problems to ensure everything is diagnosed.
They also help to improve your quality of life by providing patient training and education, prescribing movements, and ensuring healthcare. You can directly talk to our expert physiotherapists for consultation or evaluation.
How can Physiotherapy Treatment for Urinary Incontinence Help?
Physiotherapy is clinically effective in treating Urinary Incontinence. Physiotherapists create a customized treatment program depending on your needs. With this, they help to improve your pelvic floor muscle function. They also help you have control over your symptoms and reduce the need for medications, surgery, and pads.
Here are some more benefits of having physiotherapy treatment for urinary incontinence:
- Training and strengthening of pelvic floor muscles (supporting bladders and urethra). It helps women with stress incontinence, urge or mixed incontinence.
- If physiotherapy is offered to women in their pregnancy, it can work as a preventive strategy for UI.
- Physical therapists advise to women with urinary incontinence on how they can improve their lifestyle and well-being. It includes weight loss, physical exercises, cessation of smoking, etc.
Also Read: Pelvic Pain Physiotherapy
What are the treatments to improve Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Physiotherapy includes several treatments that can help you improve the functioning of the pelvic floor muscles. It majorly helps to have better control on your bladder. Here are the treatments that are involved.
- Kegel exercises: The Kegel exercises are conducted by squeezing the sphincter muscles that help to stop the flow of urine.
- Muscle strengthening exercises: Physiotherapists will train you with strengthening exercises to stretch and strengthen pelvic floor muscles. It helps to support the functioning of your bladder.
- Biofeedback: Your physiotherapist may employ electrodes to measure the activity of your pelvic floor muscles. The use of electrodes depends on your symptoms and the level of comfort. The biofeedback is provided to the patient to stay aware of the right way to use pelvic floor muscles.
- Electrical Stimulation: Physical therapists apply gentle electrical stimulation to improve the awareness of your pelvic floor muscle function.
Bowel & Bladder Behaviour: Physiotherapists help to correct the behaviour of your Bowel & Bladder. It helps you to have a better control over it and get rid of the urinary incontinence condition.
Connect with our Physiotherapists Today
Urinary Incontinence can have a major impact on your quality of life. If you are suffering with this condition, do not neglect it thinking it is natural. You can connect with our physiotherapists to get diagnosed and examined.
Physiotherapy for urinary incontinence may do wonders for your health. We will offer you specialized treatment programs along with the right guidance to find relief from the condition and live a healthy life.
Book an appointment with us to get your treatment program started!