Losing bladder control is uncomfortable, inconvenient, and for many people, even a bit embarrassing to talk about.
However, did you know that urinary incontinence affects over 200 million people worldwide? It’s an extremely common issue that can be difficult to get proper treatment– likely because many patients are uncomfortable discussing the issue with their doctor. In fact, the average woman with bladder control issues waits six and a half years before seeking out a diagnosis.
It truly doesn’t need to be this way.
If you’ve experienced the loss of bladder control in any capacity, know that many urinary incontinence issues are very responsive to conservative care. Rather than feel uncomfortable about your situation, we encourage you to seek out appropriate treatment.
In this article we’re breaking down why urinary incontinence happens, as well as steps that you can take to overcome it for good.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
Simply put, urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. This can come in the form of leaking urine involuntarily, bedwetting at night, or even the need to use the bathroom in an excessive amount. As we open up the conversation about incontinence, it’s important to note that it is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of a larger functional issue.
Most commonly, this loss of bladder control is caused by weak or malfunctioning pelvic floor muscles. During a normal urination process, the muscles in our bladder move the fluid to a tube (called the urethra) by tightening. While our bladder muscles tighten, the muscles around the urethra relax– thus allowing the urine to expel from our body.
That’s how it’s supposed to work. However, when these muscles either become too weak to pinch the urethra shut, relax without warning, or even spasm involuntarily, our bladder control can become compromised.
Types Of Urinary Incontinence
This all said, there are a number of different aggravators that can cause this involuntary loss of bladder control. These are some of the most common.
Laughing. Sneezing. Coughing. Exercising. Sudden movements can all put more pressure on your bladder– and if there is any dysfunction going on with the muscles around your bladder and urethra, it can cause bouts of incontinence. Not to mention, it can begin to create anxiety around normal, daily activities.
If you get a sudden urge to urinate without enough time to find a restroom, you may be experiencing urge incontinence. Urge incontinence can also be the need to urinate excessively throughout a day (and more than twice during the night).
Pregnancy And Postpartum Incontinence
Women experience urinary incontinence at a significantly higher rate than men– in fact, almost double. A large part of this is due to pregnancy and the recovery process following childbirth. Pregnancy itself puts pressure on the pelvic floor, which supports the bladder and the muscles that contribute to healthy urination. These muscles can become further compromised following delivery because of the pressure that’s placed on the area while pushing during labor.
Speed Up Your Healing Process
So...you’re experiencing incontinence. Now what?
First and foremost, you need to talk to a medical professional. This is nothing to be ashamed of, and working with a doctor is really the best way to ensure that you get a proper diagnosis– which you need in order to take steps toward overcoming incontinence for good. Your doctor can work with you to establish a plan for healing and help jumpstart and guide your progress from an individual standpoint.
That said, the following are great steps to incorporate as a part of a larger healing plan.
Loss of bladder control is a signal of weakness or dysfunction in your pelvic floor. And, chances are– pelvic floor exercises aren’t a part of your normal fitness routine! Don’t worry– these are very basic to implement, and can also be very effective.
To perform basic pelvic floor exercises (also known as Kegel exercises), tighten the muscles that you would use to stop urination for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Repeat this up to 10 times, and ideally, perform this three times daily. These exercises will help to strengthen and return coordination to the muscles that control your ability to start and stop urinating.
If you’re trying to overcome urinary incontinence, some lifestyle factors can aggravate your symptoms. Making an effort to curb these offending factors can help you speed up your overall healing process. For instance, limiting alcohol, caffeine, acidic foods, and not smoking can all help to decrease your symptoms over time. Exercising to maintain a healthy weight can also be extremely beneficial. If you’re looking to do everything you can to move past incontinence, these are important factors to consider.
Incontinence Treatment With Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic care is a lesser-known, yet extremely effective methodology that can be used to treat urinary incontinence. This is because some of the muscle dysfunction can actually be caused by lower back or sacral subluxation– i.e. joint dysfunction. Chiropractors are able to treat these subluxations directly, effectively targeting the root of the problem.
In order to treat these subluxations, a chiropractic practitioner uses gentle adjustments of the spine, lower back, and sacrum to help to realign your body, decrease pressure, and provide real relief to your system. These adjustments allow your body to restore proper function and can take pressure off of highly sensitive areas– like the bladder.
Your practitioner will be able to support your specific needs by taking a personalized approach to each session, and will meet you at your unique starting point. Additionally, should any at-home exercises be beneficial to help your recovery process, your chiropractor will be able to help with this, too.
Don’t let urinary incontinence negatively affect your quality of life. It’s OK to talk about it and even better to seek out appropriate treatment.
Schedule an appointment online or call (949) 649-8790.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.