Many people, both men and women, suffer from bladder control problems. The control of our bladders is by a group of muscles called the "pelvic floor" muscles.
It is thought that up to 30% of women are not able to isolate and use their pelvic floor muscles adequately.
During our lives there are many factors that can affect these muscles leading to "stress" incontinence - this means that when you cough, sneeze, run or jump you may leak.
One can also suffer from "urge" incontinence which is a sudden need to rush to the loo (key in the door symptoms). Some people suffer from both.
Factors that lead to stress incontinence:
- Pregnancy and childbearing puts a lot of downward pressure on the muscles of the pelvic floor.
- Hormones, such as a fall in oestrogen during menopause, cause muscles to lose tone.
- Repeated episodes of cystitis.
- Constipation and being overweight puts more pressure on our pelvic floor.
Specific exercises can be taught by a physiotherapist to help you isolate these muscles effectively, and set you up with a graduated programme that over a period of months can help make a difference. These exercises usually need to be done for life to be effective.