Incontinence is common - but it doesn't have to be normal.
Urinary incontinence is when you unintentionally pass urine (pee). It's a common condition that is often extremely distressing for the men and women who have it.
The most well known type of incontinence is stress incontinence, which is when there is leaking or dribbling of urine when the bladder is under pressure (or stress). This might mean you unintentionally pee when coughing, laughing running or doing some kind of exercise. It's not related to mental stress.
Other types of incontinence include urge incontinence (a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate at the same time, or just after, bladder leakage), overflow incontinence (an inability to completely empty the bladder, which causes frequent leaks) and total incontinence (when the bladder can't store any urine at all).
What causes incontinence?
Stress incontinence is described by the NHS as being caused by "weakening or damage to the muscles used to prevent urination, such as the pelvic floor muscles". This is a very common explanation, with the advice being to "strengthen the pelvic floor muscles" through Kegal or pelvic floor strengthening exercises.
Why Kegals don't always help incontinence
The pelvic floor is a web of powerful muscles that cover the big hole in the middle of the pelvis. It is designed to both slightly contract - or move upwards (on breathing out), and slightly expand - or move downwards, (on breathing in). Exercises such as kegals help the pelvic floor contract, or tighten, but this can be problematic as this means the pelvic floor becomes tighter, and cannot move downwards.
It might be easier to imagine being given exercises to strengthen your bicep - if those exercises simply taught you to contract the bicep all the time, as soon as you tried to pick something up (which would involve extending the bicep), the bicep would fail to work as you'd expect, because it was actually weak, and you wouldn't be able to pick up the item at all.
The pelvic floor muscles are the same. By simply working on contracting the muscles of the pelvic floor, when they need to extend, such as when supporting the bladder during movement or stress, it will fail, and urine leakage will result.
Pelvic floor muscles need to move
In order to work properly, your pelvic floor muscles need to contract and relax, not just contract. So if you're continually practising pelvic floor lifts or Kegal exercises, but still suffering with stress incontinence, it may be that your pelvic floor muscles are too "tight".
By working the muscles of the pelvic floor, and helping them relax, we can help the pelvic floor work as it should. Treatment of your pelvic floor muscles at State 11doesn't involve you needing to get undressed or any internal work by yourself or your therapist - instead we access the muscles by applying pressure through the gluteal muscles.
We may also work along your diaphragm, the large band of muscle that separates your lungs from your digestive system. The diaphragm works with your pelvic floor muscles to maintain your core, and it can also be linked to stress incontinence.
Reversing stress incontinence and creating a better functioning pelvic floor will require some exercising at home for full resolution - but we'll show you exactly what to do (and it doesn't involve "clenching" or trying to "hold your pee"!).
We help a lot of people with a lot of different physical problems at State 11. This little video shows some of the techniques we use to help people - and the variety of places that we've helped people at! If you're interested in having us come to help your sports team or staff, get in touch on 07788 287098 or via our Contact page.
Getting treatment at State 11 Soft Tissue Therapy, Spalding
At State 11 in Spalding, we use a variety of advanced techniques to help people in pain or discomfort.
We are injury and pain specialists, and do not offer relaxation or "spa" style massages.
The techniques we use for reducing your pain include RAPID NeuroFascial Reset - an advanced Canadian technique devised by two Canadian therapists frustrated at not being able to make rapid, lasting change for their clients. This is a clothed technique that does not require removal of clothing, or the use of any waxes or oils. We are the only clinic offering RAPID in Lincolnshire.
We may also use sports massage techniques, kinesiology taping, fascial cupping or Instrument Assisted Massage.