Incontinence is a common occurrence amongst lots of women. However, that doesn't mean it's something you have to live with. Seeing a women's health physiotherapist can improve your bladder function and reduce leaks. Here's how.
Addressing Lifestyle Factors
Certain habits and lifestyle factors can make incontinence worse. While your physiotherapist's primary focus is exercise, they can also help you adjust your lifestyle. For example, if you're overweight, the extra pounds you're carrying place strain on your pelvic floor. This means you're more likely to experience leaks. Additionally, if you smoke, the toxins you're inhaling irritate your bladder. Eating spicy foods and drinking drinks such as caffeine can have a similar effect. Again, this can make incontinence worse. Taking your physiotherapist's advice on tackling lifestyle factors should result in significant improvements. If you feel you'll miss your usual drinks and dishes, you can discuss alternatives with your physio.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support multiple organs. Your bladder depends on a strong pelvic floor for support. You use your pelvic floor muscles when urinating to control the urine flow. If something weakens the muscle group, such as childbirth, incontinence may occur. A women's health physiotherapist can guide you through pelvic floor muscle exercises. They may also recommend strengthening surrounding muscle groups to support your pelvic floor. At first, they'll guide you through these exercises in person. From there, they'll prescribe a certain number of exercises daily so you can see the full benefits. They may also recommend using tools such as TENS machines to increase your muscle tone.
New Fitness Routines
Many women who experience incontinence stop engaging with their usual fitness routines. You may stop because you don't want to experience a leak while you're working out. However, stopping exercise is counterintuitive. If it results in weight gain, it may make your incontinence worse. Additionally, some forms of exercise can strengthen your pelvic floor, so they're worth continuing. If you've stopped working out, you can speak to your physiotherapist about how to resume your routine. Alternatively, they can offer advice on trying something new. They may suggest gentler forms of exercise, such as walking rather than running or swimming rather than aerobics. You'll still experience the benefits of exercise, but you won't need to worry about leaks.
As women's health physiotherapists specialise in conditions such as incontinence, they can help you improve your condition. Maintaining regular appointments with yours should result in measurable improvements.