What is Stress Urinary Incontinence ?
Stress urinary incontinence is the uncontrollable loss of urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Any activity that results in an increase in pressure in the abdominal cavity may contribute to stress urinary incontinence. This happens when pelvic floor muscles have been weakened and the bladder has slipped lower. Stress urinary incontinence is a common medical condition and is treatable. Physiotherapy may be tried first, failing which surgery may be necessary.
What are the causes ?
Stress incontinence may occur as a result of weakened pelvic muscles that support the bladder and urethra or because of malfunction of the urethral sphincter (the muscle that helps control the flow of urine). The weakness may be caused by prior injury to the urethral area, neurological injury, some medications, or after surgery of the prostate (men only) or pelvic area.
What factors can bring these symptoms on?
- Pregnancy and vaginal delivery
- Repeated lifting of heavy objects
- Prolonged coughing
- Repeated straining during urination or bowel movement
What can I do to prevent the conditions getting worse?
Keep your body weight within healthy limits. By doing so, the weight of the abdominal contents pressing against the pelvic floor is lessened and this prevents the pelvic floor from weakening further
- Eat a diet rich in fiber and drink plenty of fluids
- Seek early treatment for prolonged coughs
- Tighten up your pelvic floor before lifting heavy objects
- Change your position before coughing or sneezing
- Pelvic floor exercises, especially during and after deliveries
- Lift heavy objects repeatedly
- Strain when moving your bowels
What does Physiotherapy for Stress Urinary Incontinence include?
- Pelvic Floor Exercises are prescribed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and may involve the use of vaginal cones and biofeedback.
- Electrical Stimulation Therapy makes use of electrical currents to strengthen pelvic floor muscles this may be recommended if pelvic floor execises have little effect.
- Bowel Movement Retraining teaches passing motion without straining the pelvic floor muscles.
The Physiotherapist will review your programme on a monthly interval or more frequently if required. You will be prescribed a home exercise programme of pelvic floor exercises. Treatment is completed after you have achieved optimal results as determined by you and your Physiotherapist.
Your Physiotherapist will evaluate your condition through an assessment and a physical examination. The Physiotherapist will interview you and ask you questions related to your urinary leakage problem. This is to determine the severity of the condition and your perception of it. After that, the Physiotherapist will complete a physical examination to measure the strength of your pelvic floor muscles. Based on the findings, your Physiotherapist will tailor the therapy to best suits your needs.
The Rehabilitation Department offers a wide range of therapy services for both women and children. Our team of dedicated Activity Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists Therapists aim to deliver high quality specialized services to all patients.
What can I do to prevent the conditions getting worse? Do:
Physiotherapy is the first line of treatment for some urogynaecological conditions like urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapses and overactive bladder. Physiotherapy treatment is safe and non-invasive and can be an option before surgery is considered. Patients are often referred to Physiotherapy by a urogynaecology specialist.
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