Until now, urinary incontinence was considered to be a problem for elderly women only. But recent research studies show that young women, who are physically active and involved in high-impact sports activities can also experience this inconvenient issue. Various surveys conducted to determine the prevalence of urinary incontinence among female athletes suggest that the problem affects more than a quarter of the female athletes, of which over 90% have never told anyone about the issue.
Women who are experiencing inconvenience due to incontinence can benefit from physiotherapy. Various exercises, particularly pelvic floor physiotherapy can help improve bowel and bladder control and protect them from the embarrassment and distress associated with the condition.
In this article, we have explained why female athletes are more likely to develop urinary incontinence as compared to the women who are not involved in athletics, and how physiotherapy can help them get rid of this socially distressing condition.
Why Young Female Athletes Experience Urinary Incontinence?
Increased intra-abdominal pressure and weak pelvic floor muscles are to blame. Although, as a part of training, female athletes perform various strengthening exercises to strength the muscles in their legs, arms, and abdomen, these exercises will not address the problem. While these exercises help them deliver improved athletic performance, they remain unable to address a major issue faced by female athletes — urinary incontinence.
Affecting every one in three female athletes, urinary incontinence or leaking is experienced most commonly during high-impact sports or exercises, such as running or jumping. This is due to the increased intra-abdominal pressure that in turn increases the pressure on the bladder and urethra, allowing involuntary urine discharge.
The most effective way to overcome urinary incontinence is using various exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the pelvic organs and prevent urine leakage. With Pelvic floor physiotherapy, the strength & control of these muscles can be increased to treat urinary incontinence.
How Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Works?
Pelvic floor strengthening is recommended as the first-line management for women experiencing urinary incontinence due to stress, physical activity or after giving birth. Not only this, it is also recommended as a preventive measure for women in their pregnancy to prevent urinary leakage.
Pelvic physiotherapy teaches women a lot more than what is known as Kegel exercises, pelvic floor strengthening exercises involve movements that cause contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, thereby providing closure around the vagina, anus, and urethra. Apart from this, there are some other exercises as well that are performed before and after activities that may increase intra-abdominal pressure. These exercises also prevent and manage low back and hip pain commonly experienced by young female athletes.
In addition to strengthening exercises, your North York Pelvic health physiotherapist can advise you on posture and back care and suggest you urge management strategies. Since various lifestyle factors also contribute to incontinence, an experienced physiotherapist can suggest you lifestyle and behavioral modifications to improve your bladder and bowel control.
Remember that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about incontinence. It’s one of the many health-related issues that we face and there are treatment options available that can help you overcome the condition with dignity and privacy. To learn more about the treatment options, please call us at at 416- 444-4800 for a free consultation or to book your appointment.