What Is Urinary Incontinence?

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is a common condition where there is leakage of urine.  The reason for the leakage can vary depending on the type of urinary incontinence you are experiencing.  Below the different types of urinary incontinence are outlined as well as the usual cause of leakage for each type.

Types:

1) Stress Urinary Incontinence

  • Urine leakage due to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure (i.e. when you cough, sneeze, laugh, lift heavy weight or exercise)
  • Typically this is a small amount of urine loss, not a full emptying of the bladder
  • This is typically due to a weak pelvic floor that can’t counter the pressure created with the above activities
  • It is completely reversible with strengthening of the pelvic floor – your pelvic floor physiotherapist will assess your strength, teach you how to properly perform the exercises you need to strengthen these muscles and progress your exercises as you need to meet your particular activity demands

2) Urge Urinary Incontinence

  • Urine leakage due to a strong, uncontrollable need to void (i.e. inability to delay voiding/can’t make it to the washroom in time)
  • Typically this is a large amount of urine loss
  • This type of incontinence is usually caused by a pelvic floor that is too tight but can be due to a weak pelvic floor as well – only by having an internal assessment will your pelvic physiotherapist be able to determine which is the causal factor for your symptoms and guide you on how to manage this
  • This is also a condition that does very well with conservative treatment by a pelvic floor physiotherapist

3) Mixed Urinary Incontinence

  • Urine leakage due to a combination of stress and urge incontinence

Treatment

Pelvic floor physiotherapy has been shown in research to be very successful in the treatment of all forms of urinary incontinence.  Although this is a common condition, it is not considered normal and can be treated.  Urinary incontinence is the number one reason elderly are admitted to assisted living homes and can greatly impact your ability to participate in recreational or social activities.  It is never too late to have this addressed.  Please speak to a pelvic floor physiotherapist if you are suffering with urinary incontinence.