Dispelling the Myths about bladder leakage
• It is NOT normal to have bladder leakage with age
• It is NOT normal to have bladder leakage with pregnancy or post-partum
• There ARE treatment options for bladder leakage that don’t include surgery
Bladder leakage is also known as urinary incontinence and this is the involuntary loss of urine. There are muscles, which are called our pelvic floor muscles, that provide support to our pelvic organs and keep us continent. These muscles act as a sling that connect our tailbone to our pubic bone and from our sits bone to the other sits bone.
Did you know that more than 3.3 Million Canadians are living with urinary incontinence? That means that every 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men have bladder leakage. Yes, men too experience incontinence! Even teens and athletes can experience leakage, especially with societal demands to look a certain way, and the increased popularity of boot camps and CrossFit. These are great forms of exercise but if a woman increases the intensity of her workouts too hard, or too fast or if she does not have the proper pelvic floor muscle strength, then she may experience bladder leakage.
Now let’s talk about Kegels. Kegels are the contraction of your pelvic floor muscles and they are used to improve the strength of your pelvic muscles. Often these muscles are weak which can lead to leakage so it is very important that if you have a weak pelvic floor you utilize the Kegel to keep your continent and keep your inner core strength. How do I, Kegel? Let’s start with the core breath…..as you inhale you will expand your belly and ribcage and on the breath out (exhalation) you will visualize gently squeezing and lifting a blueberry up your vagina. Now don’t squish your blueberries ladies!! Just a gentle squeeze and lift. This is the first stage of a Kegel. This must be don’t correctly to properly work and there are many progressions from this exercise to further improve your inner core strength. If you are unable to feel these pelvic floor muscles contracting or if your symptoms haven’t changed or worsened then please see your pelvic health physiotherapist to help guide you. Kegels may not be appropriate for everyone.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is very effective and has Grade A level 1 Evidence for the treatment of urinary incontinence. Don’t be limited by embarrassment or fear and stop living with your leakage. Take control over your body and achieve the freedom to function.
By, Sherry Heenan
Registered Orthopaedic and Pelvic Health Physiotherapist