Incontinence, also known as peeing your pants, is a continuous struggle for thousands of women. Although you may have accepted this as a fact of life for you, what if I told you that this meant you have a dysfunction of one of your essential core muscles? Would that make you care? What if those core muscles determined if you were going to be old in diapers or not? Or in a wheelchair or not? Would that help you care? I meet lots of women who don’t mind that they leak urine. It’s a fact. I mean they still run, CrossFit, Pilates, barre, orange theory and yoga. It doesn’t matter. They leak, and they don’t care because it’s been happening for so long and they want to maintain their exercise routine since that’s what keeps them “healthy”. However, what is very important to know is that incontinence is a sign of pelvic floor dysfunction. What does that mean? You have a hole in your core. Your core is not functioning in the way it is supposed to.
If you are experiencing leaking of urine when you laugh, sneeze, run, vomit, jump, walk or lift heavy objects you most likely have stress urinary incontinence. If you experience these symptoms, it could be that you have a weak pelvic floor. Pelvic floor muscles are essential core muscles. If these muscles aren’t strong and coordinated you could be setting yourself up for arthritis, more peeing in the pants and more problems. If you have a type of incontinence where you can’t hear water running, you put the key in the door and automatically have to run to the bathroom, or feel like you have to go, even though you just went, you probably have urge urinary incontinence. This type of incontinence often tied to a tight or hypertonic pelvic floor (which is also considered weak) but there is more to unravel before you can simply start building strength. Then there is a mix of both stress and urge urinary incontinence. A healthy bladder should hold urine for 3-4 hours. If you go more frequently than that, it is a problem. If you are going in the middle of the night, that is also a problem (unless you are 70, then the research states that it is acceptable to wake 1x per night to void, aka pee). If you pee more than that in a night. You should get help.
Okay more healthy bladder techniques: You should be able to delay the urge. You should drink a good amount of water to hydrate the bladder lining (and reduce the acidity of the bladder, increased acidity can lead to false cues to void) You should never hover over a toilet seat, most American women can not relax their pelvic floor enough to be able to relax to fully void. Without full relaxation, you can give the bladder mixed signals leading to dysfunction. You should breath and rock back and forth after you pee, to fully empty bladder.
If you ever pee, and it isn’t in the toilet aka it’s in your underwear or on the bathroom floor getting in and out of the shower, you should get help. You probably have some dysfunction with your pelvic floor. This dysfunction most likely will not improve on its own and can lead to much much bigger issues. Please seek a professional pelvic expert physical therapist for individual assessment and help. Don’t be the mom depending on Depends.