1 in 4 women are affected by urinary incontinence (accidental leakage/loss of urine), in those who have had children the number of women affected increases to 1 in 3!
There are different types of urinary incontinence:
Urinary incontinence greatly impacts a person’s quality of life. Those who suffer from incontinence consistently report lower levels of well-being and emotional health, they describe feelings of social embarrassment and will avoid and limit their participation or activities. Unfortunately, 70% of those with urinary leakage do not seek advice and treatment even though their symptoms could be reduced or even cured with non-invasive management strategies.
4 in 10 women are affected by pelvic organ prolapse at some stage in their life. The bladder, uterus and rectum are pelvic organs that are supported in the pelvic cavity by ligaments and fascia (connective tissue). When these supportive tissues are weakened or stretched, the pelvic organs are not as strongly supported and can push down into the vaginal wall. This bulging or sagging of the pelvic organs into the vagina is called prolapse.
The pelvic floor muscles also support the pelvic organs from underneath, weakness in the pelvic floor muscles also means there is less upward support for these pelvic organs which can often allow the prolapse to worsen.
Women will often report prolapse as a dragging, bulging or heavy sensation in the vagina. There may be a lump or bulging in the vagina or just beyond the entrance of the vagina. It may also affect emptying the bladder or bowel or create symptoms during sex.
Prolapse is common in women who have had a baby, particularly if you have had more than one baby, if your baby had a bigger birth weight or if your pushing phase was prolonged or very short. Family history, lifestyle factors like excessive heavy lifting or manual labour and other medical conditions like chronic constipation or chronic coughing (in people with emphysema or asthma) can also increase your likelihood of prolapse too.
Overall Women’s Health Physiotherapy can play a large role in reducing the symptoms of incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. In fact:
At Fit and Flow Physiotherapy we work with women of all ages, to help them change their current pelvic floor function and achieve greater freedom in work, sport and leisure activities. We want women to return to activities that they love or even complete their day-to-day activities, without feelings of fear or embarrassment!
Because pregnancy, labour and child-birth increase the risk of incontinence and prolapse, we recommend all women have a post-natal physiotherapy assessment in an effort to support a safe return to exercise /sport, for more information see Pre and Post-natal page.
Tell us more about your injury. Not sure whether physiotherapy can help wth your current injury or limitation? Fill out the questionnaire with some background information and we can contact you about your specific injury!