Incontinence and Pelvic Pain
Week 4 Program
according to US statistics, up to 60% of women have reported experiencing some type of urinary incontinence.
Incontinence is SUPER common. In fact, if you’re part of a mom group you’ve probably heard numerous women make light of peeing while laughing, jumping, or coughing. Often brushing it off by saying “welcome to the club!” While incontinence is common, that doesn’t mean it has to be normal or something you just deal with and in many cases, it can be a barrier to exercise.
This week in the Facebook group, we’ll chat all about incontinence. In this text, I’ll briefly explain the two types of incontinence and why kegels may not be the most effective way to manage it.
Stress urinary incontinence or SUI- Leakage that happens during laughing, running, jumping, coughing, sneezing, etc. This type of incontinence is very common, especially among moms.
Urge incontinence- Urge incontinence can present as urinary frequency or a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate, often resulting in a “gotta go but can’t make it” type of situation.
Mixed- a mix of both types of the above incontinence.
Why kegels may not be the best option- A common misconception is that kegels will fix incontinence issues. That simply isn’t true for a number of reasons. First, while stress urinary incontinence could be cause by a weak pelvic floor, urge urinary incontinence is often more common among women who have over-active or tight pelvic floors. The traditional kegel that we all know focuses on the squeeze part of the pelvic floor, but fails to place any focus on how to relax the pelvic floor. And just like our shoulders, pelvic floors can also hold tension. In fact, many of the women I work with have been diagnosed with tight or over-active pelvic floor muscles! It’s actually more common than you think.
Another issue that can be exacerbated by tight pelvic floor muscles is pelvic pain
Pelvic pain is also more common than one would think and covers a variety of common pregnancy and postpartum issues. We will cover these in depth in the group, and you have plenty of modifications for pelvic pain in the program. The most common types of pelvic pain include, but aren’t limited to:
-SPD or symphysis pubis dysfunction- common in pregnancy
-Pelvic girdle pain- similar to SPD, but can be accompanied by a broader range of pain in the pelvis
-Pain with intercourse
Often pelvic pain is due to having tight or over-active pelvic floor muscles and should be managed with the help of a pelvic floor physical therapist. Generally things like walking, getting in and out of the car, and balancing on a single leg can exacerbate pelvic pain. However, it is important to strengthen the legs and hips unilaterally to support the pelvis and manage pelvic pain. Adding support by holding onto something or using a light tap of a foot during single-leg movements, adjusting stride length and speed of gait, and noticing your own tendencies in movement can be helpful for pelvic pain management.