Physiotherapy Should Be The First Line of Treatment For Incontinence Issues

“Stop, stop, stop …… I can’t jump on the trampoline anymore – I’m gonna WEE!!!!!” As I listened to myself yell at my husband, I immediately thought, this is ridiculous, I really need to start practicing what I preach - surely there is something I can do about this. 

In my physiotherapy career I had always been interested in issues of incontinence and what you could do to help people.  However, nothing made it more important when recovering from the personal experience of giving birth to my two beautiful children, Sarah and Owen.  Although, they are now 6 and 4, and more active than ever, the effects of childbirth certainly linger on for me!   

Since I became a mum in 2007, I have undertaken numerous training courses to be able to assess and treat various continence issues and the pelvic floor.  In 2010, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and the Continence Foundation of Australia (CFA) campaigned to the Australian Government regarding the incidence and management of these issues.  The statistics revealed that almost 5 million Australians were living with incontinence every single day; around a quarter of the population.  It affects 2 in every 5 women and the financial cost to the country is over a staggering $40 billion a year!  Clearly, it is a BIG problem! Yet, we rarely talk about it for fear of embarrassment, or being the only one.  It is pretty clear that I am not alone in these issues.

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Seeking a Physiotherapist as first port of call has been found to be world’s best practice for the treatment of incontinence.  It may well save you from being one of the 7000 Australians that have needless, painful surgery for incontinence every year.   On some occasions surgery may be the best option for management, but  having stronger muscles will give you a better chance of successful recovery and can aide in preventing the recurrence of problems. 

As we age, so do our muscles and other structures within the pelvic region.  What may be “just a little leak”, or, “I am ok as long I don’t run, or jump on a trampoline!” could progress into something more difficult to control or live with when we are older.   Pelvic Organ Prolapse, more commonly known as ‘a prolapse’, is more prevalent than you think.  It can occur in varying degrees, and may not become fully problematic until menopause approaches.  This situation can be helped in many ways, which can be different for everyone, and physiotherapy can play a big part in this.

Athletes, young or old, can also struggle with incontinence, due the nature of the load that is sustained through the pelvic region during sport.  Another issue that is increasingly being seen by physiotherapists, is that of Pelvic Pain.  Whether related to the pelvic floor muscles, other surrounding muscles, or originating from an internal problem, we have found many people benefiting from treatment.    

At Physique, we are committed to helping the local community and feel that most continence issues are treatable with physiotherapy.  June 23-29 is World Continence Week.  This year’s theme is Pregnancy and Pelvic Floor Health, and the slogan is ‘Managing the Mother Load’.  In response to this we are offering 50% off Initial Women’s Health Consultations for the entire month of June.  So, whether you have had a baby or not, have a prolapse, are incontinent, or wishing to remain continent, make an appointment to see me and let’s do something about this together!

 Rebecca Bell