Help, I do more than sweat with exercise! Laughing is no laughing matter ….I leak!! I get soaked when I sneeze.
Stress urinary incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence among women. An estimated 15 million adult women in the U.S. suffer from this problem.
Many women consider stress urinary incontinence a normal part of aging or a natural consequence of childbirth. This is not true. Continue reading for practical advice to help this common problem.
First some basic anatomy The bladder acts as a storage tank for urine. The tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body is called the urethra. The urethra is kept closed by the pelvic floor or kegel muscles all day long. When you want to urinate, the muscles of the pelvic floor relax, the tube (urethra) opens, the bladder contracts and …you pee. When you cough, laugh, lift or sneeze, there is an increase in abdominal pressure that pushes downward on the bladder. If the pelvic floor muscles (also known as kegel muscles) do not contract strongly enough or quickly enough to hold the urethra closed, urine leaks out (you wet your pants).
Loss of muscle strength is a normal part of aging. Child birth can certainly traumatize your pelvic floor muscles. However by maintaining general fitness and doing specific pelvic floor exercises you can minimize muscle weakness and prevent urinary leakage.
So let’s cut to the chase…how do you prevent or solve the problem• Exercising your pelvic floor muscles (are you thinking oh no…not kegels?) • Paying attention to how you move (body mechanics) • Adjusting your diet (believe it or not, things you eat or drink can impact continence)
Exercising your pelvic floor muscles so that they can contract fast and furiously can prevent urinary incontinence. But we know many of you are frustrated because you have tried this before and it just didn’t work. So in our next blog we’ll talk about why kegels might not have worked for you and what you can do about it.
Please join us on our blog as we explore topics that concern real women like you. We hope to provide useful information and practical strategies that can be immediately incorporated into your busy life.
The Practical Physical Therapists Kathleen and Mary