It's World Continence Week!
Yea! Let’s celebrate!
I’m not quite sure what we are celebrating....................the ability to maintain continence I guess ????
but I’ll take any excuse to party. It’s summer today, the spring craziness is finally dying down around here, and I’m ready to relax at the beach. I mean at least for 5 min, until I have to build a sandcastle with one of the kids.
Turns out the ability to maintain continence is more difficult than one might expect.
Around 50% of women have incontinence at some point in their life, so it does not just affect elderly women like many people may expect.1 It can affects teenagers (10%), young adults (20%), 30-40 somethings (50-70%), and high-level female athletes (28-80%). 1,2
Yes, it is much more common than people think, affecting a variety of different age brackets of women. And yes, men are also affected, to a lesser extent. Just another example of #genderinequality, but I digress. (It's more related to anatomical differences).
Anywho, There are a few types of incontinence: stress, urge, and mixed (a little bit of both).
Stress urinary incontinence: peeing when the body is “stressed”, during sneezing, laughing, coughing, jumping, or running.
Urge incontinence: needing to pee NOW! And maybe leaking a little bit on the way to the toilet.
Mixed: Both of the above, Fun!
So why does this affect so many women? There can be many factors: weak pelvic floor muscles, overactive pelvic floor muscles, increase in intra abdominal pressure (during exercise or maybe due to constipation), overactive bladder, and also other medical comorbidities. This is why incontinence products is a billion dollar industry.
Ok, so you’re probably thinking, I pee a little bit sometimes too, but I’m a mom, so I thought that was expected after childbirth.
WRONG! It is common after childbirth, but not normal. #commonnotnormal
So what do I do now?
Wear black all the time?
Pee right before exercising?
Pee every hour so I don’t leak?
Don’t drink as much water so I won’t leak?
Buy stock in Depends?
Wrong! (Except maybe wearing black, that's always in)
Physical therapy is perhaps the most effective conservative treatment for urinary incontinence.3 You no longer need to suffer in silence……...or wetness.
See a women’s health PT that can teach you many strategies to effectively manage all types of incontinence.
1. Nitti, V. THe Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence, Reviews in Urology. 2001; 3(1) S2-S6)
2. Heath A, Folan S, Ripa B. et. Al. Stress Urinary Incontinence in Female Athletes. Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy. 2014;38(3):109.
3. Berghmans L, Hendricks H, Bo K, Hay-Smith E, De Bie R, Van Waalwijk van Doorn E. Conservative treatment of stress urinary incontinence in women: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. British Journal of Urology. 1998; 82, 181-191.
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Pelvic health physical therapist, wife, mother, yogi, foodie.