As a woman, you deserve to feel confident and in control of your body. Urinary incontinence can be a frustrating condition, but it’s important to remember that there are effective treatments available that can improve your quality of life. In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes and treatment options for urinary incontinence in women, recommended by a physiotherapist, so that you can regain your confidence and enjoy all the activities you love.

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a common condition that affects many women of different ages. It can be a distressing experience, but it’s important to know that you’re not alone, and there are ways to manage it. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine, and it can occur during activities such as coughing, sneezing, or exercising, or it can be a constant leak. According to the ISCP, urinary incontinence is a common symptom that affects 1 in 4 women. Prevalence of this problem increases with age, as up to 75 per cent of women above age 65 report urine leakage*

Urinary incontinence may be a complex condition, but it’s important to remember that many factors can be identified and addressed to help manage and even overcome it. Let’s explore some of the causes of urinary incontinence in women to understand better how we can improve our pelvic health.

Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles:
The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for supporting the bladder and urethra, as well as controlling urination. When these muscles are weak, they can’t properly support the bladder, leading to stress urinary incontinence. Weak pelvic floor muscles can result from a variety of factors, including aging, childbirth, and hormonal changes.

Hormonal Changes:
Hormonal changes during pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can lead to urinary incontinence. During pregnancy, the growing uterus can put pressure on the bladder, leading to stress incontinence. Childbirth can also cause damage to the pelvic floor muscles, leading to urinary incontinence. Menopause can cause a decrease in estrogen levels, which can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and cause atrophic vaginitis, a condition in which the walls of the vagina become thinner and less elastic.

Neurological Disorders:
The bladder and urinary tract are controlled by the nervous system. Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke can affect the nerves that control the bladder, leading to urinary incontinence, overflow incontinence, or a combination of both. These conditions can cause muscle weakness, spasticity, and impaired sensation, which can interfere with bladder control.

Certain Medications:
Some medications, such as diuretics, can increase urine production and cause urinary incontinence. Other medications, such as alpha-blockers and sedatives, can relax the bladder muscles and interfere with bladder control. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about any medications you’re taking that may be contributing to your urinary incontinence.

Other Contributing Factors:
Other factors that can contribute to urinary incontinence include obesity, chronic coughing, constipation, and urinary tract infections. Obesity can put pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles, while chronic coughing can weaken the pelvic floor muscles over time. Constipation can cause the rectum to push against the bladder, leading to stress urinary incontinence. Urinary tract infections can irritate the bladder and cause urge incontinence.

Understanding the underlying cause of your urinary incontinence is key to determining the most appropriate treatment. A qualified physiotherapist can help you identify the cause and develop a personalised treatment plan that addresses your unique needs. Don’t suffer in silence – reach out to a healthcare provider today to start regaining control and confidence in your life.

To find out more about possible causes of Incontinence download the ISCP’s guide to Incontinence with Fiona Healy.

At Portobello Physio, we believe in a personalised approach to treating urinary incontinence in women. We always begin with non-surgical options and only move on to surgical treatments if necessary. Here are some of the effective treatment options we recommend:

Pelvic Floor Exercises: Our physiotherapists can guide you in performing pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control.

Biofeedback: We also offer biofeedback therapy, which uses sensors to monitor muscle activity and provides feedback to help improve muscle function.

Electrical Stimulation: Our electrical stimulation therapy uses a mild electric current to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles, which can help improve muscle strength and control.

Lifestyle Changes: Our team can advise you on making lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and quitting smoking to help improve bladder control.

Medications: If necessary, we may also recommend medications such as anticholinergics to help reduce bladder contractions and improve bladder control.

For more resources Head to the HSE website

Urinary incontinence in women can be a frustrating experience, but it’s important to know that there are effective treatments available that can help you regain control and confidence. Our team of physiotherapists can recommend treatments to help you to take back control. Don’t let urinary incontinence hold you back from the activities you love – book an appointment with our women’s health physiotherapy team today and take the first step towards a more positive and confident you.

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