Can you hold your pee? You may be surprised to know that one in three women in Donegal can’t.
Ciara Mooney is a Chartered Physiotherapist with Physio Éireann and this week she wants to raise awareness of the “silent” problem haunting hundreds of women in Donegal… bladder leakage.
“I take an extra jacket and wrap it around my waist, by the time I get home from my walk, I am soaked straight through.”
Sadly this is the situation many Donegal Women find themselves in, with 1 in 3 Irish women affected by the involuntary leakage of urine from their bladder. It can affect women of all ages, for a variety of reasons from pregnancy and childbirth, through to menopause.
The two most common types of incontinence we see are “stress incontinence” and “urge incontinence”.
Stress incontinence is when ladies leak in response to an increase in bladder pressure. Ladies commonly report that they leak a few drops when they cough or sneeze, or find their underwear is wet when they try to exercise or jump on the trampoline with their children.
Urge incontinence happens to those ladies that get an overwhelming urge to go to the toilet and just don’t make it on time.
These ladies have a mental map of every public toilet in Donegal. They will often be apprehensive about going too far from home, they dread long journeys and if they do leave the house, their trip will be planned specifically around their “public toilet map”.
Not alone is it embarrassing but for the ladies affected their bladder starts to rule their lives. The good news is that help is available. Physiotherapy has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms of incontinence (NICE Guideline 2015). Treatment involves a full assessment of your condition followed by a treatment plan involving education, bladder re-training and pelvic floor muscles exercises. If symptoms do not improve with Physiotherapy then we refer you to a specialist where there is a variety of medical and surgical options to help.
One of the biggest issues in Donegal is that this is still a “taboo topic” with many ladies keeping it a secret from their family, friends and even from their doctor. Our goal at Physio Éireann is to help as many ladies as possible and to do that we need to spread the word that help is available. We see ladies who are in their 20’s right up to ladies in their 90’s and no matter what your age there are treatment options available, you just need to ask. So if you are suffering from incontinence please get in touch with your GP or Health Care Professional.
Below you will find, evidence-based treatment advice to get you started:
1. Pelvic Floor Muscle strengthening exercises have been shown to improve symptoms in the majority of cases. So you have to get squeezing ladies! If you are unsure of what a pelvic floor muscle is or how to squeeze it then get in touch with your health care professional today. The recommendation is a minimum of 8 squeezes, 3 times a day.
2. If you have bladder urgency then watch the type and amount of fluid you are drinking. 1.5-2 litres is recommended in the day. The bladder doesn’t like too much fizzy drinks, alcohol or caffeine. So cut it down where you can.
3. Running to the toilet at night is another problem we commonly see. If you are less than 65 years old it is normal to go once a night, if you are over 65 it is normal to go twice a night. It’s is abnormal to be getting up more than this. If you are suffering from this problem try to ensure that you get your daily fluid intake before 7pm. Avoid drinking late at night”
4. Weight loss: A Body Mass Index over 30 increases the risk of leakage. Higher body weight increases pressure on your bladder and weaken your pelvic floor; these factors combine to increase the risk of stress incontinence. Implementing weight loss strategies will help your bladder.
Physio Éireann is a Chartered Physiotherapy Practice with clinics in Donegal Town and Ardara. They specialise in the treatment of all musculoskeletal injuries, Women’s Health Issues and Clinical Pilates. For more details or to make an appointment call the clinic on 0749705955, find Physio Éireann on facebook or at physioeireann.com