Urinary incontinence is involuntary loss of urine associated with different activities including laughing, lifting, or standing up. Today we are focusing on what’s called urgency urinary incontinence (UUI) which is a sudden, strong sense of urgency to urinate that may or may not be associated with leakage. Common triggers include running water, putting your key in the door, and going from hot to cold environments. The pelvic floor muscles play an essential role in bladder, bowel, and sexual function. There are over 20 muscles in the pelvic floor that are shaped like a hammock spanning from the pubic bone to the tailbone that support your pelvic organs.
Like all muscles in the body, the pelvic floor muscles require full flexibility, good strength, and correct coordination to function properly. Without these, symptoms such as leakage, constipation, overactive bladder, or pelvic pain can develop. For example, tight muscles in the lower abdomen and pelvic floor can put pressure on the bladder. This can cause a sensation of urgency by stimulating the bladder. Weak muscles in the pelvic floor can make holding in urine difficult which can cause leakage.
Pelvic floor physical therapists assess posture, breathing mechanics, spine and hip flexibility, overall strength, and pelvic floor muscle tone in order to determine the best plan of care.
Urinary incontinence is extremely common in both men and women, but never normal. If experiencing any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a medical professional (such as your primary care physician, urologist, urogynecologist or gastroenterologist) and a physical therapist!
by Dr. Stephanie Hauck, PT, DPT and Dr. Andrea Olsen, PT, DPT
"Causes & Types of Stress Urinary Incontinence." www.chicagourogynecologist.com, Chicago Urogynecology, 2023, www.chicagourogynecologist.com/center-services/incontinence-bladder-health/causes-types-incontinence/.