Live Without Leaks!

February 27, 2019 | By | Reply READ MORE...

– Dr. Shinee Shanbhag
Consultant Physiotherapist
Women’s Health Specialist

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It’s time we talk about Urinary Incontinence.
It’s International Women’s Day on March 8, and this day is being celebrated with gusto. We are talking about women’s rights, liberation, equal pay etc. But there is an issue, which curtails our freedom, which is so common amongst women, and yet is not talked about openly. It’s a very common yet misunderstood condition called Urinary Incontinence.

 

What is urinary incontinence?

Stress urinary incontinence (most common) – The complaint of involuntary (without our control) leakage of urine on any kind of effort, like laughing, sneezing, coughing, stair climbing, running, lifting weights.

The other kind is called Urge Incontinence, in which there is a sudden need to pass urine, which cannot be controlled.

This makes women conscious about going out to social events, tasking long trips, or even going to the gym and having fun while dancing or even attending a comedy show.

In fact, 1 in 4 women will have experienced some form of urinary incontinence once in their lifetime.

 

Who is at risk?

  • Females: any age due to pregnancy especially normal delivery, (young mothers) recurrent urinary tract infections, more muscle tone
  • Elderly women, due to decreasing muscle strength, reduced mobility
  • Those with back pain, slip discs
  • Those with diabetes, constipation
  • Obesity
  • Heavy gymmers, heavy weight lifters, runners

 

Why does it happen?

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Image: News Medical

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles which supports the genitourinary structures of the body ( both male and female). Due to the above mentioned reasons, and many more, they lose their capacity to contract on time and with enough strength to control the urine. Hence there is leakage of urine when there is an increase in the abdominal pressure. This generally happens when there is increased effort like coughing, lifting weights. However in some people, if there is a lot of weakness, urine can leak continuously, or with simple actions like getting up from a chair.

 

What are the symptoms?

  • Urine leaking with any physical activity.
  • Difficulty in passing urine.
  • Abnormally strong sudden need to pass urine, inability to control it till you reach a restroom.
  • Urine passing while having intercourse.

 

What are the treatment options and who can help?

Fortunately, medical science has progressed well in this matter. You simply need to get in touch with your gynecologist or your women’s health specialist physiotherapist.

They will take a detailed history of yours, and identify the structures, and the contributing factors, which cause the pelvic floor to weaken and how they can be strengthened. Sometimes you may be asked for further investigations like a blood test, or ultrasound to be sure of the diagnosis and your treatment plan. Taking care of the factors like asthma, and constipation is important too.

According to the ACP (American college of Physicians), there is a solid evidence that pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) is an effective incontinence training as compared to other treatment forms, like drugs and surgeries.

Some countries like Australia have made it mandatory for women to undergo PFMT first for 2-3 months before considering options like surgery for tightening the pelvic floor.

 

How does Physiotherapy help?

As mentioned earlier, the pelvic floor is a group of muscles, which has weakened. By using specific strategies (the most popular being kegels), your pelvic floor therapist can help you achieve freedom from bladder problems. The physiotherapist will also suggest effective core strengthening strategies (like Pilates) and exercises as the pelvic floor is an integral part of the core.

A good exercise program which is non-impact may need to be adopted for cardiovascular fitness and weight loss before the pelvic floor picks up in strength. A healthy core is required for a healthy pelvic floor and vice versa.

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Spread the word

Urinary incontinences are so common that most women think that it’s normal. It’s NOT. It is a medical condition which can definitely be cured or managed well. Spread the word, be aware and ensure everyone is having freedom from urinary incontinence. We at PhysioRehab have a highly specialized group of pelvic floor specialist who are happy to help.

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