Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine. Along with leakage, there may be other symptoms such as: urgency, frequency, and nocturia (awakening during sleep to urinate). Many issues can contribute to urinary incontinence such as: pregnancy, child birth/episiotomy, pelvic/abdominal surgeries, weak pelvic floor muscles, constipation, neuromuscular disorders, and hormonal changes from menopause. There are two types of urinary incontinence. Stress incontinence is the sudden involuntary loss of urine due to exercising, lifting, coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Leakage is mostly due to weak pelvic floor muscles and ligament support. Urge incontinence is leakage that occurs immediately, or soon after, you have the urge to use the restroom. Your bladder contracts and the feeling is uncontrollable and overwhelming.
Biofeedback is a helpful tool that utilizes an electrode placed over the pelvic floor muscles that measures the muscle activity during contractions and relaxing periods. Electrical stimulation can help to improve the muscle contractions and manual therapy is useful to train the muscles to relax. Your physical therapist may also teach you how to keep a bladder diary, maintain a regular urinating schedule, reduce bladder irritants, and exercise techniques.