Stress Urinary Incontinence. Is this You?

Stress Urinary Incontinence, or the involuntary leakage of urine, is a COMMON problem, but should not be considered a NORMAL part of aging!  Nor should women who have given birth several months ago still be experiencing incontinence issues!  Nor should healthy people of any age be experiencing issues of stress incontinence!

Yes, we have been led to believe that many things JUST HAPPEN, beyond our control, as we age.  Our muscle fibre resiliency definitely changes as we become older, but if we keep things tuned up well, our resiliency will be that much better.  Think about your car….it feels the wear and tear with aging, but you know that if you keep it tuned up, well oiled and timed up well, your car will purr much better.  Our bodies are the same!

Our pelvic floor muscles are MUSCLES!  We have the ability to strengthen and keep flexible our muscles which means that we have some control over how well they perform.

What is Stress Urinary Incontinence?

This is when you involuntarily leak urine during times of coughing, sneezing, laughing, running or jumping.  This puts more pressure on your bladder than your muscles are able to control.

Why is this happening?

Weak pelvic floor muscles 

Tight pelvic floor muscles

When your pelvic floor muscles (PFM’s) are not strong enough to counteract the pressure put on your bladder by sneezing, couching, etc., you may experience some leakage.

Tight PFM’s can result from trauma (pregnancy, surgery, etc.) or pain from dysfunctional postures, back pain ,etc.  When your PFM’s are too tight, they stay in a contracted state.  This doesn’t allow the normal functioning around the bladder between muscles and sphincters.

Who gets Stress Urinary Incontinence?

Over 3.3 million Canadians experience urinary incontinence.  It is still more common in women than in men.

Risk Factors


multiple vaginal deliveries increases the risk, longer labour times, tears


Abdominal Surgeries

Chronic Urinary Tract Infections

Chronic Straining (during bowel movements, coughing, etc.)

Alcohol and Smoking

What Can I Do About It?

  • Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
  • Increase the flexibility of your PFM’s
  • Change your bladder/bowel habits
  • Make some dietary changes
  • Make an appointment to see a pelvic floor physiotherapist

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists have extra training in order to assess, treat and better understand a functional and dysfunctional pelvic floor.  Having an appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist will:

  1. help you understand your specific pelvic floor issues
  2. help you learn how to properly engage your PFM’s
  3. help you learn some PFM release techniques that you can do at home as well as have some internal release work performed in the clinic
  4. help you understand whether you have optimum bladder/bowel habits and if there need to be any changes made
  5. look at your daily diet to ensure that you aren’t consuming foods that are bladder irritants and your fibre intake is sufficient
  6. assess your posture as your pelvic floor IS connected to the rest of your body

Resources (to find a pelvic floor physio in BC) (in the United States) or google college of physiotherapists in your area (for more information about bladder and bowel issues)

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