Friday, July 06, 2018 Written by Jackie Lake, Physical Therapist

The Loss of Bladder Control

Urinary incontinence, the loss of bladder control, is a common complaint among women, but it is not normal.  The most common type of urinary incontinence is stress urinary incontinence which occurs with an increase in abdominal pressure such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, movement and exercise.  While leaking urine is a common problem during or following pregnancy, it can also be present in individuals who have never been pregnant.  The muscles of the pelvic floor can be compared to a hammock.  This “hammock” provides support for the internal organs and function for the control of bowel and bladder activity.  Over time or with increased stressors, the muscles of the pelvic floor can become slack, stretched, slightly damaged or weakened.

In one study, 76.4% of women reported urinary leakage after 12 years postpartum (after giving birth).  Again, while this is a very common occurrence, it is not normal.  Physical therapy can help.  Just as one can strengthen any other muscles in the body, a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor therapy can establish an appropriate exercise program to improve the function and support of the pelvic floor to prevent accidents.  If you or someone you know is experiencing urinary incontinence symptoms, talk to your doctor. Prairie Lakes Rehab provides therapy to help people in the Watertown region overcome incontinence by offering a non-surgical approach to treating it.

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Source cited: Study published in BJOG, an international journal of obstetrics and gynecology.