End The Leaks Once And For All!
You’ve been dealing with leaks for far too long. Yes, we know…you thought it was going to get better on its own so you waited to see if it would go away. And then you got busy. Or powered through. Or were told it is normal.
But now it’s been more than a little while and the leaking is still here – and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. In fact, now it is getting in the way of your fun, your performance, your confidence, your health, your life. You know that there has to be a better solution – and thankfully, there is!
We’ve helped countless women return to functioning the way they want to – dry and leak free. And now it’s your time.
Incontinence may also result from a strong and sudden urge to void. If that strong urge cannot be controlled, then a leak occurs. This type of leaking is called urge urinary incontinence. Other types of incontinence exist as well: mixed incontinence, overflow incontinence, functional incontinence or total incontinence.
Although urinary incontinence may be common, it is not normal and can be effectively treated by pelvic floor physiotherapy.
Faecal incontinence is also a reality for 1 in 10 women in Canada. It can range from staining on undies to the complete loss of bowel control. It can occur following damage to the anal sphincter muscles which are a part of the pelvic floor. This damage can be due to 3rd or 4th degree tearing during childbirth, instrumented deliveries (eg. forceps), or a number of other factors.
Want to know more? Read more about incontinence in this informative article.
Women, men, and children are all impacted by incontinence. 3.3 million Canadians suffer from incontinence. Want some stats to show that you are not alone?
- 1 in 4 women are incontinent
- 1 in 9 men are incontinent; the most common cause of male incontinence is a radical prostatectomy
- 1 in 6 children under the age of 17 struggle with incontinence
- The majority of older adults seek admission to nursing homes due to their inability to continuing managing bowel and bladder care at home
Despite the prevalence of incontinence, only 1 in 12 people seek out treatment. There are a number of reasons why a disproportionately low number of people seek care. Many are embarrassed to talk about it; many do not realize that help is available, and unfortunately, far too many people believe it is a normal part of ageing.
Leaking is your body’s way of telling you that something is not quite right in your continence system. So in order to minimize or stop leaking, we have to look at all the various parts of the continence system and figure out where things have gone awry.
The next logical question: what are all the parts of the continence system?
This excellent article explains three broad factors that must be evaluated to get to the underlying cause of incontinence. In other words, we must zoom out of the pelvis and look at the whole picture, the whole person. The three factors are:
- Motor control factors – pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, postural and movement dysfunction, low back and pelvic pain, and breathing disorders;
- Musculoskeletal factors – decreased range of motion, decreased muscle strength, and decreased muscle endurance;
- Behavioural factors – chronically elevated intra-abdominal pressure, physical inactivity, abnormal fluid intake and voiding patterns, and poor psychosocial health.
If you’ve tried to treat incontinence in the past and did not have great success, it is likely that treatment focused on only one component listed above; and you needed a more comprehensive approach.
What are some of those negative consequences? Well, it’s quite individual but includes:
- difficulty completing activities of daily living and work duties
- increasing financial costs of incontinence pads and products
- inability to participate in leisure and hobby activities with friends, children, or grandchildren
- interference with sports or athletic performance
- increasing need to chart one’s day around availability of bathrooms or place to change clothes
- increasingly disrupted sleep and worsening sleep quality
- limiting frequency, duration, and type of social and personal enjoyment activities
The long term impact of incontinence is costly to individuals: to their physical health, their social relationships, their self-concept, and their wallet.
Incontinence also has a long term impact on the environment (non-biodegradable waste from adult diapers and incontinence products), and the health care system (billions of dollars spent on various procedures or surgeries to treat incontinence).
Treatment options vary based on who you are visiting for care. Family doctors, nurse practitioners, gynecologists, urologists, naturopathic doctors, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, and pelvic floor physiotherapists have a slightly different, yet complimentary approach.
Solutions can involve behaviour modification, diet or lifestyle adjustments, brain-bladder retraining, medication, pessary fitting, surgery, and more.
Rehabilitation for the pelvic floor (which is one part of the continence system) is considered to be the first course of action when it comes to tackling urinary incontinence. According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada’s most recent guideline:
“Individualized pelvic floor muscle training, and scheduled voiding regimens should be offered as first-line strategies to all women with urinary incontinence. Pelvic floor muscle training should not be implemented without an appropriate evaluation and adequate patient training. Providing the patient with verbal instructions and written handouts alone does not constitute evidence-based pelvic floor muscle training.”
In other words, work on your body systems and function first before seeking any other kind of treatment. And in the vast majority of cases, re-training your continence system will resolve the problem.
Pelvic floor physiotherapists are specially trained to treat your continence system. Our bodies are really fascinating. They are adaptable. They are responsive. So you don’t have to feel like a victim of your incontinence. You can retrain your body and teach your body to stop the leaks.
We do several things:
1) investigate where your continence system has gone awry (and it’s not always the pelvic floor muscles) then,
2) show you how to change the way your body (and brain) is functioning and train it to work more optimally
Our approach is not necessarily the quickest “fix” out of all the treatment options available, but it is the most sustainable and empowering. It gets to the root cause of your incontinence and it teaches you exactly how to change your symptoms by making changes to your body.
Short answer: no.
Longer answer: Kegels are one of those terms that can cause a lot of confusion. Kegels (ie. pelvic floor muscle contractions) have their place when it comes to rehabilitation for the pelvic floor. But they are not everything. In training a robust and resilient continence system, we must look at the whole picture, and not just pelvic floor weakness.
We may prescribe a short course of kegels to help you reconnect to your pelvic floor – but this is if, and only if they are appropriate for your pelvic floor. More often than not women actually need the opposite of kegels.
If you’ve tried kegels and found they didn’t do much for your incontinence, it could be that your pelvic floor didn’t need kegels. Or perhaps another part of your continence system (say pressure dynamics, posture, or breathing mechanics) was really the culprit that went undetected.
We go into a lot more details about society’s inclination towards kegels, for better or worse, in this comprehensive article.
A number of research studies have demonstrated that women who trained their pelvic floors before or during pregnancy had less incidence of incontinence postpartum. So yes, the risk of incontinence can definitely be lessened.
Also, the way we “do” childbirth in our society can inadvertently cause harm to the pelvic floor and lead to pelvic health symptoms like incontinence, conditions like prolapse, or ongoing pelvic pain. We feel pretty strongly that if women are allowed and encouraged to birth in ways that keep their pelvic floors healthy and happy, then we would see a dramatic decrease in the incidence of pelvic floor dysfunction postpartum and beyond.
Our team is a major advocate in this regard. We have given talks to midwives, labour and delivery nurses, birth professionals, and have liaised with OB in our community. We have also run workshops for pregnant women with a view to manage their pelvic floor health prenatally and during childbirth. Our workshop, Prepare Your Pelvic Floor For Childbirth, is now online so it can be accessed by more people across the globe.
Our Incontinence Treatment Programs
We start by getting to know you and understanding your experiences. We want to know how incontinence is affecting your life, what you have tried, and what your goals are. We’ll ask questions about your pelvic health and look at your bigger health picture as well.
After this, we check out how your unique body is working and let you know what we find. Our programs include custom recommendations, hands on strategies, practical advice, step by step home exercise protocols, email support, accountability, educational resources, product recommendations, letters to your healthcare team, and more.
All that we offer is designed to help your body feel better and be better so that you can get back to doing the things you love – while staying dry.
Our incontinence programs can help you if…
- You currently experience incontinence of any kind and in any amount during daily activities
You are active and want to run, train, play, compete, or exercise without leaking
You have tried resolving leaks on your own or through other methods but haven’t gotten the results you want
You hope to avoid medication or surgery for pelvic or bladder dysfunction
Are willing to think outside the box (ie. the pelvic floor) and embrace a whole-body approach to recovery
I just wanted to say thank you for the pelvic floor care I received at your clinic. In 1989, I suffered a traumatic, life threatening miscarriage with injury to the bladder. I struggled with severe hip pain and embarrassing bladder issues. I had spent years doing kegels assuming that this would help. It was at your clinic that I learned that I had too much tension not too little in the pelvic floor – whoops too many kegels. With the care and direction of your therapist Diana Blaney, I have seen substantial improvement on both counts. My only regret is not having known about pelvic floor physiotherapy years ago. I have been telling my story of recovery to other women I meet. Many women report also struggling with post-pregnancy and aging pelvic issues but have been unaware of pelvic floor physiotherapy. Somehow, the message of this important treatment needs to get out to women across London. Thank you again for the excellent care your clinic provided to me.