Blog Category: Incontinence

Incontinence Explained Incontinence is a widespread condition that affects 8.7% of individuals above 20 years old worldwide, which increases up to 30 to 60% in women aged 40 and over. Incontinence ranges in severity from ‘just a small or occasional leak’ to the complete loss of bladder or bowel control. It can occur at any age, but it is more likely to develop as you get older or following childbirth. Some people wrongly think that incontinence is a normal part of ageing or that it cannot be treated. This is unfortunate, as many cases can be successfully treated or at the very least be significantly improved. Urinary incontinence often occurs because of weak or stretched pelvic floor muscles. These muscles assist in supporting the abdominal and pelvic organs; help to control the bladder and bowel; provide support for the baby during pregnancy and assist in the birthing process; as well as working with the abdominal and back muscles to stabilize and support the spine. In men, they are also important for erectile function and ejaculation. (Yes, men have a pelvic floor too!) Urinary incontinence can often be improved and can in most cases be treated. Urinary incontinence is treated differently according to the type and cause. Pelvic floor exercises are seen as the most effective way to prevent issues with incontinence, especially stress incontinence. Yet, 1 in 3 women who are trying to perform pelvic floor exercises, do not know how or are unable to voluntarily exercise their pelvic floor muscle themselves and require assistance. Incontinence is commonly associated with: Accidentally leaking urine when you exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze Needing to get to the toilet in a hurry or not making it there in time Constantly needing to go to the toilet Finding it difficult to empty your bladder or bowel Accidentally losing control of your bladder or bowel Accidentally passing wind A prolapse – In women, this may be felt as a bulge in the vagina or a feeling of heaviness and discomfort A prolapse – In men, this may be felt as a bulge in the rectum or a feeling of needing to use their bowels but not actually needing to go Finally, if pain is experienced in your pelvic area during or after sex There are different types of incontinence with several possible causes. The following are the most common: Stress incontinence – occurs during activities that increase abdominal pressure such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects or during physical activity. It is the most common form of urinary incontinence and affects about 51% of women suffering from incontinence. Urge incontinence – occurs when the need to urinate comes on so quickly that you might fail to make it to the bathroom in time. Also known as an overactive bladder. This is the most common form of urinary incontinence in men, affecting between 40-80% of men above 20 years old, worldwide. It can affect anyone at any age, but it appears to be more prevalent in the elderly. Mixed incontinence – a combination of both stress and urge incontinence. If you or anyone you know experience the symptoms of incontinence it is important to know that there are safe, effective, and drug-free solutions that can assist in the long-term management of the condition. Let’s normalize the conversation around the condition. Incontinence and the affect it can have on your Mental Health. Mental health and incontinence are both hard to talk about, but due to the number of people suffering with the condition we need to lift the lid on this subject and normalize the conversation. What many people do not realize is that the two can be interlinked. In fact, 30% of women with incontinence will also suffer from depression, which is three times more likely than the general population. Another study found that 28% of overactive bladder patients also experience depression, with half of these suffering from moderate to severe depression. Having a problem with your bladder can massively affect your self-confidence and have an impact on many areas of your life including your mental health. It is important to remember that you are not alone, and there are products and solutions that can help you. Dr John S. Young, Associate Professor in Urology, spoke about the connection between mental health and incontinence in a recent interview, where he delved into the connections between the two conditions. How can incontinence affect mental health? Many studies clearly demonstrate that incontinence has a significant negative impact on mental health. There are a variety of ways that incontinence can impact every aspect of life. emotional – fear of incontinence in public as well as feeling and becoming socially withdrawn relationships – fear of intimacy stopping exercise – for fear of incontinence employment – feeling stigmatized, reduced self-confidence and self-worth leading to periods of absence from the workplace quality and length of sleep What symptoms of mental illness should I look out for? Incontinence is still a taboo subject for many, but if you know someone who is suffering or you are suffering with the condition yourself, then it is a case of looking out for signs of mental illness which will usually present themselves as depression. These signs may include: withdrawal – not going out anymore and cancelling plans (sometimes at the last minute) changes in mood – including both irritability or frustration and seeming sad expressing dark thoughts changes in eating habits increased consumption of alcohol How can mental health issues increase incontinence? There can be cases where mental health concerns can directly cause or increase incontinence, as Dr. John explains: “Mental illness can be associated with lifestyle factors that affect the bladder, such as the consumption of substances (caffeine, alcohol) that affect bladder function, and fluctuating fluid intake (excessive one day and insufficient intake the next day).” “A person suffering with pathological anxiety may develop obsessive habits that lead to more frequent voiding, a heightened awareness of bladder fullness and a type of incontinence associated […]

You might not know much or maybe nothing at all about your pelvic floor but we can help you with that. The pelvic floor is made up of muscles that support important organs such as the uterus, rectum, vagina and bladder. Pelvic floor exercises (called Kegel exercises), are done to strengthen these muscles which can be strained during giving birth and with other medical conditions. Medical issues such as prolapse and incontinence can benefit from a Kegel exercise program. To increase the opportunity of seeing results faster, toning balls, which are comprised of small weights, are used along with pelvic floor exercises.  Pelvic Floor Issues that Can Result After Childbirth  The most common pelvic floor issues that arise after giving birth vaginally are pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. Pelvic organ prolapse is when one or more of the organs in the pelvis move from their normal position and push into the vagina. This is not life threatening but it is uncomfortable and can be painful. You should know prolapse may not occur until years after birth and can cause numerous issues including sexual disfunction.   Stress urinary incontinence is when you can’t hold your urine. Why it happens is because the supportive pelvic muscles, tissue and even nerves can weaken during pregnancy and are strained while giving birth vaginally. Some estimates have as many as 35% of new mothers with some urinary incontinence following childbirth and 20% have severe pelvic floor injuries after a normal pregnancy and birth. But most women get the strength back in their pelvic floor muscles within two months. This is why pelvic floor exercises are so important, they are muscles that needs work just like any other muscle in your body!  How to do Kegel Exercises  The Mayo Clinic explains how to do Kegel Exercises:  “Find the right muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first.  To do Kegels, imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re lifting the marble. Try it for three seconds at a time, then relax for a count of three. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles and try to do a full relax of the muscles. The relaxation is just as important as the contraction. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.  Repeat three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions a day.  Don’t make a habit of using Kegel exercises to start and stop your urine stream. Doing Kegel exercises while emptying your bladder can actually lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder — which increases the risk of a urinary tract infection.”  Using the Fleur Pelvic Toning Balls for Better Results  So now you know how to do your Kegel’s – it is time to add the Fleur Toning Balls to take it to the next level. The weights are often useful to help beginners better identify their pelvic floor muscles. Because you can’t see your pelvic floor muscles move, it can be hard to focus properly and the weights can help you improve your body awareness.  When the weights are inserted properly, your pelvic floor muscles will activate naturally through normal body movement. Sometimes gravity and normal movement might make the weight begin to slip out, if so, engage your pelvic floor muscles to keep the weight inside. The more you engage these muscles, the stronger they get! Your results will depend on the extent of the damage to the muscles and how old the injury is.  How to insert the Fleur Toning Balls  The first thing you should know about inserting toning balls is that you should wash both your hands and the toning balls with warm water and antibacterial soap. Then dry them off. What can really help with inserting them is to use a good amount of water-based lubricant, and try to stay relaxed  The easiest way to insert them is to lie down comfortably with your legs open. Take the lube and apply as much as you need to the opening of your vagina. Slowly insert the first ball and push them both as far as you are comfortable with. It’s okay if it takes you a few tries before you can insert them confidently. The string section at the end should remain outside the body.  They should feel comfortable and secure. If it feels like they’re about to fall out, they need to be pushed further into the vagina. Most people report feeling a slight tingly sensation which is more noticeable when moving. The TensCare Fleur Toning Balls are made of medical grade, phthalates-free, silicone. Their sleek shape measure 33mm in diameter and 180mm long, with the perfect weight of 75 grams.  The proper use of toning balls involves using them for short periods of time. Using them for too long can have the opposite effect you’re looking for with the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles.  And remember, always consult your doctor before using toning balls during pregnancy.  There are a few places you can easily get your own set of Fleur Pelvic Floor Toning Balls  LeakyBladder  Amazon  Mama Bear Club 

Recently a friend of mine was telling me about a road trip she took with three of her girlfriends. She joked about how many times they had to stop for bathroom breaks. For some women, particularly those having gone through childbirth, this is considered normal. Just plan your day and schedule around bathroom stops and make sure you cross your legs when you sneeze. Even though it is common, urine leakage and frequent urination is not a “normal” part of ageing. For those of you that have had to book an aisle seat so you don’t interrupt your neighbouring passenger five times on a two-hour flight, have found yourselves having to ask “what did I miss” because you just can’t hold it and had to leave the theatre, or if you have an uncanny knowledge of all acceptable restrooms that are quickly accessible, you’re not alone. And if you’re not going through it, someone you know is. Approximately 3.5 million Canadians, mainly women, suffer from incontinence and are planning their lives around the bathroom. And while we often make light of the situation, for most of us, it’s really not that funny. In addition to frequent urination, there’s also its ugly cousin, leakage. Contrary to popular belief, urine leakage is not “normal”. It’s more common with age but it’s not a normal part of ageing. And it shouldn’t impact our lives in such a major way. Many people just put on a pad and “suck it up” (literally), but it doesn’t have to be this way. Why do I pee so much? It’s a good idea to first rule out all potential medical causes with your doctor such as a UTI, pregnancy, diabetes, uterine fibroids, or interstitial cystitis. Then you’ll want to consider any non-medically related factors. Are you drinking copious amounts of water? Have you been unwittingly loading up on diuretics like alcohol or caffeine? If none of the above applies to you, you’re most likely suffering from stress incontinence, the most common cause of urine leakage and the frequent urge to pee. More often than not, a weak pelvic floor is to blame for those cough, sneeze, and trampoline leaks. Your pelvic floor is made of the major muscles that support your pelvic organs. Namely your vagina, bladder and rectum. What can I do? What can you do to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles? They are just like any other muscles and they need exercise to work to max potential. Kegel exercises work if they are done properly, but many don’t know how. And what if the muscles are so weak that you can’t engage them? There is a device called a Pelvic Floor Exerciser that works to contract these muscles for you. How does a pelvic floor exerciser work? You insert the small probe into your vagina (no, it doesn’t hurt). Select the pre-programmed setting for stress, and increase the intensity until you feel your pelvic floor muscle contract. Then let the machine cycle through for 20 minutes. You’ll feel the exerciser helping your body do the contractions and relaxation it needs, in order to strengthen the pelvic floor. The machine will turn off after 20 minutes and…you’re done. That’s it. That’s how it works. Generally, it takes only a couple of weeks for most people to feel less bathroom stress and notice a difference in the amount of leakage, or the frequency of the occurrence. The goal is that eventually, it won’t even be something you think about any more. Because let’s face it, no one wants to wear any more pads than we already have to, do a mad dash to the bathroom every hour, or go through 3 pairs of underwear in a day. Related Products For more information and to shop, visit www.leakybladder.ca