Pelvic Health Conditions in Women
Incontinence and Bladder Problems
What is Incontinence?
Incontinence is a term that describes any accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder (urinary incontinence) or bowel motion, faeces or wind from the bowel (faecal or bowel incontinence).
What is Stress Incontinence?
Do you leak when you cough or sneeze? Or maybe when you run and jump? Or even just getting out of a chair? You most likely have STRESS incontinence.
Stress incontinence occurs because your pelvic floor muscles are unable to close your urethra in time (the outlet pipe from your bladder). You will leak urine when the pressures, or stresses in the bladder are greater than the closure force in the urethra (from the pelvic floor muscles).
This can happen because the pelvic floor muscles are weak but can also happen because they are too tight. Your pelvic floor muscles may also contract correctly but they may not be co-ordinated and do not contract in the correct way to close the urethra.
What is Urgency, Frequency and Urge Incontinence?
Do you suddenly have a major urge to go to the toilet and you have to go RIGHT NOW, maybe you don't even make it in time and you have an accident? Do you go to the toilet to wee more than every 2 hours and cannot put it off? You may be suffering from URGENCY, FREQUENCY or URGE INCONTINENCE
Sometimes referred to as "overactive bladder" or "spastic bladder," urge incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine that usually occurs when a person has a strong, sudden need to urinate.
How can a physiotherapist help with incontinence?
A Pelvic Health Physiotherapist will be able to assess you and determine what type of incontinence you are suffering from (sometimes it is a mixed picture) and what is the underlying cause.
Just like everyone is unique, each person's case is unique and your physiotherapist will be able to evaluate what is happening in your body.
They will then address the problems specific to you.
Treatment options include
Keeping a bladder diary
Pelvic Floor Re-education
Treatment of any associated dysfunction (eg constipation, back problems, hip problems etc)
What signs may show you have problems with your bladder or bowel problems?
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 or bowel?
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, sneeze, cough or laugh?
Do you sometimes leak when you exercise or play sport?
Do you sometimes leak when you change from a seated or lying position to a standing position?
Do you strain to empty to bowel?
Do you sometimes soil your underwear?
Do you plan your daily routine around where the nearest toilet is?
What are the signs of a Healthy Bladder?
A normal bladder:
empties 4-8 times each day (every 3-4 hours)
can hold up to 400-600ml of urine (the sensation of needing to empty occurs at 200-300 ml)
may wake you up once at night to pass urine and twice if you are older (i.e. over 65 years of age)
tells you when it is full but gives you enough time to find a toilet
empties completely each time you pass urine, and
does not leak urine.
Post Natal Checkup
Having a baby is no small feat. You have to grow a 2-4kg human being inside of you and then somehow get it out!
Whether you go the vaginal route or through the sunroof with a Caesarian section, pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on your body.
In France, it is standard practice for every new mom to receive Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy after they have given birth. The French know how important the pelvic floor is and that it is vital for new mums to spend a little bit of time on themselves especially when they have a tiny human to look after.
What does postnatal physiotherapy check-up entail?
At your postnatal check-up, we will check on your pelvic floor muscles, assess for any bladder or bowel problems (think incontinence and constipation), check your tummy for a diastasis rectus abdominus and evaluate at your caesar scar. We can also assess anything else you may be worried about.
When should I do my post-natal check-up?
You can come anytime from 6 weeks after giving birth. We love doing a 6-week and 12-week checkup because at 6 weeks we can pick up any potential problems and at 12 weeks is often a lovely time to get checked out because your baby is slightly older and you often feel more ready to start looking after yourself a bit more. You can also come when your baby is 6 months, 12 months or 12 years old! It is never too late.
Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation
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