Female Urinary Incontinence – What is it and how we can help you
Urinary Incontinence (UI) is ‘the complaint of any involuntary leakage of urine’. The most common form is stress UI, which is leakage of urine on coughing, sneezing, laughing or during any physical effort or exertion.
Urinary Incontinence can be very distressing and can be socially disruptive leading to embarrassment and exclusion from normal social activities.
A considerable amount of research has been carried out on this subject and some of the findings indicate that:-
- It has been estimated that UI affects over 20% of people over the age of 40 which is equivalent to over 5 million people in the UK. In women, this figure increases to above 35% at age 80 or over.
- 50% of women reporting UI were moderately or greatly bothered by it.
- 25% described feelings of frustration and/or embarrassment.
- 27% were unwilling to go to places where they were uncertain about the availability of toilets.
- 23% of women reported that it affected their sex life.
Heartlands Physiotherapy Clinic can help!
Unfortunately, many women do not appreciate that effective treatments are available which do not involve the use of drugs. Women’s Health Physiotherapists specialise in the treatment of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, the symptoms of which are reduced bladder control, urinary incontinence or prolapse.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance states that training and strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder, urethra, womb and bowel is recommended as the first line of management for women with stress, urge or mixed urinary incontinence.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
The Pelvic Floor consists of layers of muscle which stretch like a hammock from the pubic bone in front to the bottom of the backbone. They help to support the bladder, womb and bowel and to close the bladder outlet and back passage.
How can Pelvic Floor Exercises Help?
Pelvic Floor exercises can strengthen these muscles so that they provide the necessary support to the bladder, womb and bowel. This will help to improve your bladder and bowel control and to improve or stop leakage of urine. There may also be a lack of confidence in the effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training; this may be due to the fact that some women may need expert advice in order to assist them in obtaining the maximum benefits.
How effective is training to the Pelvic Floor Muscles?
Research has shown that pelvic floor muscle training is more effective than one of the main incontinence drugs. Other research comparing non- surgical treatments found that intensive pelvic floor muscle training, alongside lifestyle changes , is the most effective method for the treatment of urinary and bowel incontinence.
Heartlands Physiotherapy Clinic is able to offer female urinary incontinence assessment and treatments. Birgit Scott has expanded her knowledge into this speciality. Please click this link for a full biography
What does the treatment process entail?
A typical course of treatment would include an initial assessment lasting 40 minutes, during which time the physiotherapist will discuss with you the details of your problem and your general health. Following careful explanation and with your consent she may need to assess the strength and health of your pelvic floor muscles, which would involve carrying out an internal (vaginal) examination. This will be carried out in strict privacy in an individual room with curtains for extra screening to put you at your ease. Everything discussed remains completely confidential.
At heartlands we fully appreciate the sensitivity of such issues and you are welcome to bring a chaperone with you during this examination if you wish.
An assessment would typically be followed by the teaching of a simple structured pelvic floor muscle training programmed tailored to your individual requirements and lifestyle.
Follow up treatments may be prescribed to assess progress and for further training.
Urinary Incontinence can have a major impact on all aspects of a women’s life however, this need not be the case and help can be simple and very effective.
To learn more please contact us
Click here to email or phone 01327 706833 to arrange an appointment.