“Oh don’t make me laugh, the tears are running down my leg…”
So I took the advice of our last blog and headed outside for a mind blowing run! En route I passed 2 other women and I thought to myself at least one of us is leaking urine when we run! Worrying thought but If you leak urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, jump or run, then you’re the one in three women who suffers from stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
Stress incontinence is essentially a pelvic floor muscle problem. The muscles may be too tight, too weak or both. Like any muscle in the body the pelvic floor muscles can develop tension (knot) and become weak. And like any muscle they may need to be loosened and strengthened. Most women have heard of Kegels or pelvic floor exercises, however over a third of women will do an incorrect pelvic floor contraction when taught verbally or using a leaflet. And many more women have never been told that their pelvic floor may actually be too tight.
SUI is very common in the last trimester of pregnancy and in the first three months post-natally, however it is not only a result of pregnancy. Many women may develop stress incontinence due to a chronic cough or persistent sneezing (eg hay fever), or as a result of high impact exercise over a number of years. You might be surprised to know athletes are at an increased risk, especially those partaking in high impact sports such as gymnastics, trampolinists and running.
So if you feel frustrated that you have been doing your exercises and your stress incontinence is not improving, it might be appropriate to have your pelvic floor assessed by a women’s health physiotherapist, so you can get back to running the roads. Why not call Eimear at Sportsplus Physiotherapy Clinic on 067-42837 for a confidential, one-to-one assessment? Eimear will then give you a programme of appropriate exercises and review you on a two to four weekly basis until your problem has resolved. If this is a strengthening issue usually 6-8 weeks is the timeframe required to resolve your issues but timeframes vary depending on the individual, severity of symptoms and compliance with the exercises prescribed.
Eimear Lynch has been working at Sportsplus Physiotherapy Clinic since October 2013. She has a degree in Physiotherapy from Coventry University, a post graduate certificate in acupuncture, and is a Pilates Instructor with APPI. Along with being our resident expert in Women’s Health issues she has also been a constant helping hand in The Bump Room teaching in Limerick, Nenagh, Clarecastle and Cork. Eimear has specialised in the management of urinary incontinence and the rehabilitation of diastasis recti (abdominal muscle) separation. As the driving force behind the post natal Bye Bye Bump classes and workshops Eimear has a wonderful connection with all participating ladies as she too is a proud Mum of her son Luka.