With 1 in 3 women experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction, it is no surprise that a great number of the women who make appointments with me report some sort of problems with their bladder function.
Some of the questions I ask:
- Any leaking when you cough, laugh, stand up, jump or exercise?
- Do you ever feel sudden urgency to get to the bathroom (and maybe not make it in time?)
- Do you feel like you empty completely when you urinate?
- Do you ever have to sit back down again after you thought you had finished?
- Do you get constipated?
- Do you sit down fully on the toilet to urinate?
- How often do you go to the toilet? (more than once every two hours?)
- Do you ever go to the bathroom ‘just in case’?
- Do you have to get up at night to urinate?
- Do you drink enough water?
- Do you wear a pad during the day?
- Do you have any pain/urgency/straining/burning/numbness/tingling when you urinate?
All of these questions, along with a pelvic assessment, help me decide on the best treatment plan – different issues need different solutions
There are different types of bladder dysfunction which I treat, but the main types of incontinence are stress incontinence (leaking when you laugh/lift/cough/sneeze/ jump/run) or urge incontinence (there is an urgent desire to pass urine and sometimes urine leaks before you have time to get to the toilet.) The good news is that both types are very responsive to treatment – usually quite quickly!
Some strategies for dealing with urgency issues can be seen on this video: they can be summarized to:
Avoiding bladder irritants (especially tea, coffee, alcohol,spicy foods, citrus, nightshades
Doing your pelvic floor exercises, especially ‘Quick Flicks’ to calm the bladder down(go to the Resources tab for helpful hints)
Slow, Deep Breaths – Don’t panic or Rush to the Bathroom
Avoiding constipation (go to the Resources tab for helpful hints)
A couple of different things happen when I start working on finding solutions to help women deal with their bladder dysfunction – this is usually relief at finding strategies that are simple to put in place and that work quite quickly to resolve the problem. Then comes anger and frustration – ‘Why hasn’t anybody told me this before?’ The reality is that there aren’t enough skilled pelvic health professionals BUT I think the bigger issue is the fact that we as women have been taught to accept that leaking is common and NORMAL (it’s not!!) There’s almost always something you can do to improve the situation, so I’m putting the final touches on a new book which will be out next month – ‘Happy Healthy Bladder’. I’ll be posting more information closer to the release date!