What to try if you are peeing your pants?
Bladder, bladder...what's the matter?
I once did a community talk with that title (Bladder, Bladder What's the Matter?) and I loved it! Huge turnout which was eye opening to so many women that they were experiencing similar bladder symptoms to the women sitting next to them-no matter their age!
Urinary incontinence, leaking urine with exertion (coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting, exercise etc), happens to 1 in 3 women. If you are in a public place today, look around. That is quite a few women dealing with some sort of leaking. Some of those women have been dealing with it since childbirth because maybe they were told it was normal at the age. Some developed it closer to menopause when tissues and hormones started to change. And some, well, they have been peeing a little bit with exercise since they were teenagers. OR, maybe some of you don't leak (yet), but are experiencing the "gotta go pee" feeling BEFORE you leave for exercise class, when you get to the gym, during the class (fear of leaking) and then after the session. Your bladder is owning you. You fear of leaking is taking over your day and maybe that's why you are only wearing black workout pants anymore.
No matter when your leaking or frequent urgency began, know this, it is a COMMON thing that happens BUT it is NOT NORMAL.
You mean I can be fixed? Sure thing.
First, if you are having the urgency and frequency, it is possible your pelvic floor muscles are contracting (tightening) and you will want to see a pelvic floor physical therapist to learn how to control and calm them down to decrease your symptoms and take back your control of your bladder. Think about all the time your will save from running back and forth to the bathroom. It's worth it!!
Same goes for leaking urine. Not all women with urinary incontinence are dealing with just weakened muscles. A lot of the time, other things are going on, like an imbalance within the muscle tissues. I see this a lot in postpartum and menopausal women. The muscles are not communicating to each other correctly and some develop tightness and some are working how they are suppose to. With seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist, you are able to bring your awareness to those muscles and learn how to control and coordinate them again.
So...this holiday season while spending time with people you love, why not ask a group of gals (maybe over some wine :) ) who has bladder issues going on and what they have done to improve them. Maybe even suggest, you know what, this year, let's take back our health and improve these bothersome symptoms by seeing a pelvic floor PT :).
Just a little food for thought. Delivering a baby, vaginally or cesarean, is a difficult job for our body. I hate to say it, but birth is traumatic to our tissues. The muscles are stretched during childbirth, some are torn or even cut through, in order to do what is best to get baby out safely. As a pelvic floor physical therapist, I have often wondered, why are these women missing out on opportunities to improve the function of their pelvic floor and abdominal muscles after delivering a child? In all other areas of muscle injury (strain) or rupture/ tearing, patients are usually advised to seek the help of a physical therapist for regaining muscle control, range of motion, strength, flexibility, stability and overall function. For instance, someone might have a whiplash injury (similar to a childbirth with minimal or no tearing), they would see a physical therapist to stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles. If someone tore their Rotator Cuff, they may have surgery to fix the muscles (similar to repairing pelvic floor muscles or abdominal muscles after delivering a baby(ies)), then they would seek the help of a physical therapist to stretch the tight muscles, regain coordination of the muscles, teach the brain how to connect with the muscles again, and go through a program of improving range of motion and strength/ endurance of the muscles.
I think we are missing this with our new moms. Think about it. Women are pregnant for approximately 9 months (posture changes, back muscles tighten, abdominal muscles weaken etc) and then they go thru delivery (with tearing or not) and their body's are expected to bounce right back while taking care of a rapidly growing new born.
What I see with my patients are poor postural stances of weakened and stretched abdominal muscles, tight and short low back muscles, sometimes tucked bums or ribs thrusts with carrying and lifting baby/ children/ car seat etc. I think it would benefit so many new moms to be referred to a pelvic floor physical therapist postpartum. Every new mom could come in for a screen to see if they are having any issues and if there are any things a new mom should be working on in the first couple of months. I personally think, it would be beneficial to see a pelvic floor physical therapist for a screen PRIOR to getting back into an exercise program. A pelvic floor physical therapist can evaluate women for diastasis recti, pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence and proper postural and body mechanics. Hopefully with seeing pelvic floor physical therapist, this would prevent more pelvic floor risks and issues in the future.
So...see a pelvic floor physical therapist today, even for a screen, to see if you would benefit from starting a pelvic floor home exercise program. Why not support your tissues for a stronger future?