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Women's Health Awareness Week - Stress Incontinence

Do you leak a small amount of urine when you cough, sneeze, lift, laugh or jump? Urinary Incontinence affects up to 37% of women and up to 13% of men. Stress incontinence is generally caused by a weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. In women, the pelvic floor is affected by pregnancy, childbirth and menopause.

During pregnancy and childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles, which support the urethra, become stretched and weaken, causing stress incontinence with activities that push down on the bladder. During menopause, there is a decrease in oestrogen. Oestrogen is required to maintain thickness of the urethra lining to keep the urethra sealed after passing urine. As a result of the loss of oestrogen, some women experience stress incontinence after menopause.

Other factors contributing to stress incontinence include diabetes, chronic cough, constipation and obesity.

How is Stress Incontinence Diagnosed?

A diagnosis can be made using the information given and physical examination during your initial assessment. The physical examination may include an internal vaginal examination.

What Treatment is Available for Stress Incontinence?

A Women’s Health Physiotherapist is often the first line of treatment for Stress Incontinence. Physiotherapy treatment will include advice, education and prescription of an individualised exercise program to strengthen the pelvic floor. If the exercises fail to make a significant change, a device called a pessary may be appropriate. A pessary is a small device which when inserted into the vagina can support the bladder to prevent leakage. For a small percentage of patients, if physiotherapy doesn’t improve their symptoms, they may go onto surgical intervention.

Our Women's Health Physiotherapist Sophie can assess you and get you on the road to recovery, while Nicole offers Post-Natal Pilates Classes for patients needing an active approach to management. Call The Physio Space or book online today!

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