Pelvic Health and Healing

Incontinence: Women & Men

Definition

Continence – Sense of awareness and voluntary control of bowel and bladder function.

There are four types of incontinence, all of which are treated at Robinet Physical Therapy. These four types are Stress Incontinence, Urge Incontinence, Mixed Incontinence, and Functional Incontinence.


COMMON SYMPTOMS

Stress Incontinence is urinary leakage of small amounts when there is increased pressure on the bladder. This can happen with coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting, exercising, or jumping.

Urge Incontinence is urinary leakage of medium to large amounts when a person feels a sudden strong urge to urinate.

Mixed Incontinence includes symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence.

Functional Incontinence consists of the inability to get to the bathroom in time due to a physical impairment. Usually this impairment decreases the speed in which you can get to the bathroom in time or it may impair your ability to unbutton or unzip your pants. It may also affect your ability to sit down on the toilet safely.


WHAT ARE SOME OF THE COMMON CAUSES?

Stress Incontinence: There are multiple causes for this condition, but one of the most common is a weakness of the muscles in your pelvis. These are muscles that attach to the bottom of the pelvic bones and run front to back, forming a bowl-like structure that lifts to support the internal organs and controls the sphincter muscles. These muscles wrap around your urethra (the tube that runs from your bladder to the outside of your body) and when they’re strong they compress the tube and hold back urine with or without your knowledge.  The pelvic floor muscles also work to strengthen the low back, stabilize the pelvic bones, and help with sexual function. Another cause could be tight pelvic muscles.  If the muscles are too tight, they cannot work properly.

Urge Incontinence:The bladder is a hollow muscle that stores urine. As it fills up it sends a message to the nervous system in the spine that it needs to be emptied. Typically that message travels to the brain, so that we can make a decision whether we want to go to the bathroom or delay it. With urge incontinence, the nervous system is up-regulated, meaning it’s very sensitive and it overreacts. When it overreacts, the nervous system causes your bladder to contract (squeeze) and empty without any input from you. This is the most common cause, but other causes could include scar tissue that does not allow the bladder to function properly, or the bladder may not be supported by the muscles and surrounding tissues.

Functional Incontinence:Some of the causes may be, but are not limited to, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, amputation, total hip replacement, total knee replacement, back surgery, back pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or any condition that may affect the mobility of your body or the dexterity of your hands.

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