Feel like you’ve sprung a leak every time you sneeze, laugh, or jump? How about in the middle of the night? Or when you’re working out? These are signs that you’re dealing with symptoms of bladder incontinence.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BLADDER INCONTINENCE?
There are a few signs that you may experience that lead you to believe you have too weak or too tight pelvic floor muscles. Common signs and symptoms of urinary incontinence include:
- Leaking urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising.
- Sudden and/or uncontrollable urges to urinate.
- Frequent urination (more than once every ~3 hours).
- Frequently voiding throughout the night
There are several things that you can do to train your bladder muscles to decrease or eliminate urge and frequency. Before we move further into treatment options, let’s discuss the types of incontinence.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF BLADDER INCONTINENCE?
While many people describe their symptoms of incontinence as ‘leakage’, it is important to differentiate the type of incontinence you’re experiencing for your healthcare provider to be prepared to help you fully.
When it comes to talking about bladder leakage vs incontinence, bladder leakage simply doesn’t give us enough info to go off of– so we use the following categories to describe when and why things are happening:
- Stress Incontinence – moments of temporary stress (like jumping on a trampoline, sneezing, coughing, etc.) cause your bladder muscles to release urine
- Urge Incontinence (Overactive Bladder, OAB) – strong and sudden need to urinate that is difficult to delay
- Mixed Incontinence – stress and urge incontinence occurring together
- Athletic Incontinence – sudden bladder muscle release when you engage in high-impact or strenuous activities
- Functional Incontinence – occurs when one cannot reach the toilet in time to relieve bladder
- Total Incontinence – occurs when the bladder cannot store fluid at all, leading to constant leaking
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SYMPTOMS OF BLADDER INCONTINENCE
While there is no clear-cut cure for symptoms of bladder incontinence, there are many methods for treating and ultimately alleviating these common pelvic floor health problems. Pelvic floor physical therapy is a common, non-invasive treatment for symptoms of bladder incontinence that includes evaluation and subsequent treatment of joint dysfunctions, muscular tightness, weakness and incoordination.
A physical therapist can offer a spectrum of interventions, including targeted therapeutic exercises, behavioral modifications, product recommendations, and counseling, among other things.
Kegel Training: Kegels are a common type of exercise that Pelvic Floor Physical Therapists prescribe to patients to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. When working with my clients, I often recommend the Luna Smart Bead Kegel Trainer to assist in this practice.
Fluid/Caffeine Decrease: Simple lifestyle changes like changing your fluid and/or caffeine intake can be a good step to reducing urge and leakage.
Bladder Training: The bladder can hold 1.5-2.5 cups of water, so rushing to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge may be confusing your system. Instead of rushing to the toilet, try implementing timed voiding releasing the bladder between the 2 and 3-hour mark.
Electrical Stimulation: A TENS Unit can encourage some bladders to expel more normally.
Pressure Management Training: Oftentimes leaking can be attributed to poor breathing or body mechanics. Learning how to breathe properly and hold your body in an ideal position when completing your favorite athletic task or just typical activities of daily living is hugely important.
HOW TO GET ACCESS TO TREAT SYMPTOMS OF BLADDER INCONTINENCE?
While urinary incontinence is common, it is not normal. You can find a better quality of life and relieve your symptoms of bladder incontinence with the right Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.
Dr. Laura Meihofer’s Pelvic Floor Therapy focuses on helping patients understand the source of their condition, find balance and retrain their pelvic floor muscles to regain control of their bladder functions. Patients will learn techniques and products to relax or strengthen pelvic floor muscles that control bladder functions.
Want to consult with Dr. Laura Meihofer? Book a FREE 20-minute consultation HERE.
More content you may like:
- Bladder Basics: How The Bladder Works and How to Work it
- Silences Women Keep: Urinary Incontinence
- How to Stop Frequent Urination at Night
- Your First Pelvic Floor PT Appointment: What To Expect & How to Prepare
- Smart Strategies To Handle Stress Urinary Incontinence
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