Physiotherapy treatment for incontinence in Kalgoorlie

What is Stress Incontinence?

When you leak a small amount of urine during a cough, sneeze, laugh or doing exercise, this is known as stress (urinary) incontinence. It is usually caused by weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. You may also have had some damage to the connective tissue in the pelvis that supports the bladder.

What Causes Stress Incontinence?

A small amount of urine leakage occurs because in certain situations the pressure in the bladder becomes greater than the pressure in the urethra (the tube where urine leaves the body). This bladder pressure could be caused by an activity such as a cough or a sneeze, maybe laughing, running, jumping, or lifting something a little heavy.

These activities cause the pressure inside the abdomen to rise and this pressure is then transmitted to the bladder. The muscles around the urethra are not strong enough to keep the urethra closed so a small amount of urine leaks out. For women, pelvic floor muscles are usually weakened by pregnancy and childbirth.

Does Stress Incontinence Only Occur in Women After Pregnancy and Childbirth?

No, there are many risk factors that can lead to stress incontinence in women including:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • History of chronic respiratory conditions
  • History of chronic constipation
  • Obesity
  • History of regular heavy lifting
  • Elite /high-level athletes, especially in high impact or loading sports, e.g. ballet, gymnastics, running, CrossFit and power and Olympic lifting.
  • Pelvic Surgery
  • Hormonal change
  • Age

How is Stress Incontinence Diagnosed?

Usually, a clinical diagnosis can be made using the information you have given and a physical examination. However, there is also another test that can diagnose stress incontinence. This test is called Urodynamic Studies. It is not usually performed on every person with stress incontinence as it is expensive and invasive. It is usually done for persons considering surgery to make sure the incontinence is actually stress incontinence and not from another cause.

Stress Incontinence Treatment Options

Often, physiotherapy is considered the first line of treatment for Stress Incontinence. Treatment can include:

  • Education
  • Lifestyle recommendations
  • A pelvic floor exercise program
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Internal support devices
  • Temporary management strategies

What Results Can You Expect?

A large proportion of people with stress incontinence will have their symptoms improved or resolved with physiotherapy treatment. However, if left untreated, often the problem continues to gradually worsen.

Will You Need Surgery?

A small percentage of people will not have enough improvement with physiotherapy treatment and may need to go on to have surgery to resolve their symptoms.