Loss of bladder control may present as:
- Stress incontinence – loss of urine related to physical exertion e.g. cough and sneeze or activities of daily living or exercise.
- Urgency – an increased sense of urge in the bladder often at low volumes of filling and related to triggers such as seeing the hall door or the toilet door.
- Urge incontinence – the urgency at low volumes of filling as above but this time not quite making it to the toilet in time.
- Frequency – going to the toilet too often i.e. more than the maximum of eight times in a 24 hour period.
The above symptoms CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE: to young people even teenagers, to young women in their 20’s, or can be as a consequence of childbirth. They may develop later in life and not have presented earlier.
Recent research has shown that up to nearly 60% of women have described some pelvic floor complaint even before becoming pregnant for the first time. It is important to address symptoms early if you suspect that you have any problems.
In childbirth the pelvic floor muscles and passive supporting fascia can be damaged as a consequence of the type of delivery. In this case it is necessary for the pelvic floor muscles to be strengthened to compensate for the loss of support.
The pelvic floor muscle become stiffer and more tense over time and this is one of the reasons that over time women can start to develop symptoms. It is not necessarily that muscles become more lax over time. Weakness can be present through tension as well as through laxity.
Up to 50% of women perform their pelvic floor exercises incorrectly; the only way you can be sure is to have your muscles assessed by a Chartered Physiotherapist with a special interest in Women’s / Men’s Health.
If you would prefer not to have an assessment then realtime ultrasound helps as an alternative form of biofeedback.