Incontinence is the accidental or involuntary leakage of urine, faeces or wind. It is a common condition; one in three women who have had a baby, and up to 10% of women who haven't had a baby, have bladder incontinence. There are always ways that incontinence can be improved. Mild symptoms unfortunately tend to worsen over time, so seek help as soon as possible. Know that it's never too late, and you are never too old to improve.
What is normal bladder and bowel function?
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 200-300ml)
may wake you when it is full, but gives you enough time to find a toilet
does not leak urine.
Normal frequency of emptying the bowel when you are healthy can be anything from three times a day to three times a week. You should have a warning that you need to empty your bowel, but be able to get to the toilet in time without having to hurry.
Types and symptoms
Urge incontinence: The bladder muscle contracts with little warning
Stress incontinence: Urine or faeces leaks when you exert yourself, such as when you sneeze, cough, laugh or jump.
Mixed incontinence: You experience both urge and stress symptoms.
Overflow incontinence: Occurs when the bladder fails to empty properly, becomes over-full and then tends to leak
Causes of incontinence
There are many contributing factors to incontinence including weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles act as the 'sling' of muscles that supports the bladder, bowel and uterus.
Prevention & management
You can help to prevent and manage bladder and bowel incontinence with a number of simple dietary and lifestyle actions:
Complete your pelvic floor exercises regularly as prescribed by your physiotherapist
Drink plenty of water: 6-8 cups a day
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Consume plenty of fibre to avoid constipation:2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables daily
Undertake regular Physical activity: aim for 30 minutes a day
Avoid heavy lifting and bracing your abdominal muscles
Practice correct toileting posture to reduce the load on your pelvic floor muscles
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy our physiotherapists will be able to guide you through this whole process performing an assessment to determine your individual needs and goals. They will then assist you with an individualised program targeted towards your goals and best suited to your needs.
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Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy
Melbourne Sports Physio has a range of qualified and experienced professionals who can help provide ongoing support and treatment. Our friendly team are located in across Melbourne in Essendon, North Melbourne and Blackburn South, and appointments can be made by calling or booking online.