“I peed on myself during barre class. Thank God it was just a little sprinkle but man, I was mortified.”
Guess what ladies? You aren’t alone. One in four women over the age of 18 experience episodes of involuntary urinary leakage¹. While leaking is crazy common, it’s definitely not normal. You were potty-trained back in the day so why is this problem popping into your life again? Why are you peeing when you laugh, sneeze, cough, lift, run, jump and basically, MOVE? Goodbye sexy panties, hello panty liners and disposable briefs for the rest of your life…
Stop!!! Kick those worries to the curb, my fellow gf’s! Contrary to what the media and adult diaper industry wants you to believe, there’s help. But first, let’s “myth bust” before embarking on this leak-free journey:
1. “My doctor told me the only way to fix leaking is to kegel.” Sorry but, this theory is so 1994 (and before). You can kegel up a storm but when all is said and done, you can still be pp’ing on yourself. Why? A. One in four women is able to do a kegel correctly², B. Kegel exercises are not dynamic- the pelvic floor is a part of a system and that team needs to work together in order to prevent the leaking. C. Your pelvic floor musculature could be “hypertonic” (increased muscle tone). In that case, doing kegels can exacerbate your leaking.
2. “My health care providers, friends and family said I leak because I have had multiple children and it is just something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life.” NEWS FLASH: While leaking is a very common postpartum complaint³, the issue CAN be addressed. Typically postpartum leakage is due to muscle imbalances and coordination deficits. And here’s a brain buster for those peeps, why do some teenage females (who have never been pregnant) leak with sports, exercise, laughing, coughing or sneezing? Will they have to deal with it for the rest of their lives?
3. “Honey, I leak because I’m old.” Age is just a number. If you have a pelvic floor (PF) (even if it’s an old pelvic floor), and your nerve/muscle function is intact, in most cases, we can resolve this “pee pee” problem.
First, there’s a name for this annoying (and often, embarrassing) symptom: Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). As you have probably figured, SUI is an involuntary leakage of urine upon exertion or effort or when laughing, coughing or sneezing. While SUI is very common among females of ALL ages, it isn’t normal. And contrary to popular belief (ie. fake news), SUI is definitely treatable.
The pelvic floor is comprised of a network of connective tissue, muscles and nerves and sits like a hammock within the pelvis, encircling the vagina, urethra and anus.
There are three primary functions of the PF muscle group: supportive, sphincteric and sexual. If the supportive function is compromised due to muscle weakness, one result could be urinary leakage. If we dig a little deeper, SUI is often beyond just a “ pelvic floor muscle weakness” issue and in actuality, can be due to a myriad of impairments including poor postural alignment, deep core motor coordination deficits, diastasis recti, hypertonic PF, pelvic organ prolapse, etc. Overwhelmed by the potential causes?! Don’t fret! Your women’s health physical therapist will be able to determine the underlying causes for your SUI. If it’s something beyond the typical and very common “musculoskeletal dysfunction,” your therapist will refer you to the appropriate specialist.
Intrigued? Want to know more as to why the core could be a culprit to your SUI? Most people refer to the “core” as the abdominals ONLY and while the innermost abdominal, Transversus Abdominis (TA), is a part of the core, the pelvic floor muscle group is also a team member (in addition to the diaphragm and multifidus musculature). When “Team Core” is not in sync, out goes the urinary leakage and/or other potential symptoms. If you want to learn more about “Team Core,” read HERE. If you are sick and tired of wearing pads or changing your clothes after you laugh, sneeze, jump or exercise, contact us HERE. MommyPT can help!
Dr. Amy Moore specializes in orthopedic physical therapy with an emphasis in women’s health and craniofacial disorders. It is her mission to save one mommy at a time from the effects of dysfunction after pregnancy. If you live in Raleigh, NC, contact her today to schedule your in-home or office evaluation. Want a unique baby shower gift for your Mommy To-Be? Gift cards are available! Office appointments can be made for women who are interested in any of the MommyPT services and live in the vicinity: Garner, Cary, Durham, Knightdale, Chapel Hill, Apex and Holly Springs, etc. Contact Dr. Moore today at 919-426-2002 or via www.mymommypt.com
- National Association for Incontinence, Facts and Statistics
- Kandadai P, O’Dell K, Saini J. Correct performance of pelvic muscle exercises in women reporting prior knowledge. Female Pelvic Med Reconstr, 2015.
- Mannion CA, Vinturache AE, McDonald SW, Tough SC (2015) The Influence of Back Pain and Urinary Incontinence on Daily Tasks of Mothers at 12 Months Postpartum. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0129615. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0129615