1 in 3 women are
affected by stress
*Hunskaar S, Lose G, Sykes D, Voss S. The prevalence of stress urinary incontinence in women in four European countries. BJU Int. 2004 Feb,93(3):324-30
What is Urinary Incontinence?
Also known as bladder leakage, urinary incontinence is when you accidentally pass urine when you don’t want to. Frequent or occasional, it can vary from a few dribbles to a complete loss of bladder control.
The three main types of UI:
Occurs when you cough, sneeze, run, lift something heavy, exercise, have sex – all of which put pressure (stress) on your bladder.
SUI is caused by weakness of the urethral sphincter, lack of urethral support, and weak pelvic floor muscles.
Occurs when you feel an urgent sensation to empty your bladder but can’t reach the toilet in time.
You may also need to empty your bladder more frequently and get up to go to the toilet several times during the night.
Is a combination of stress and urgency urinary incontinence.
The answer is extremely! 1 in 3 women will experience bladder leakage at some point in their life. It can be triggered by a multitude of things such as childbirth, continued exercise or even menopause, and women of any age can be affected.
While some women only experience the occasional leak, maybe when they run or lift something really heavy, others leak every time they exercise, laugh, cough or sneeze.
A quick biology lesson…
To better understand bladder leakage, it helps to know how the urinary system works.
Your bladder is a bit like a balloon and, as it fills, it expands to store urine. A normal healthy bladder can store 300–400ml and control when to hold and when to release it.
When it is full it sends a signal to the brain, which in turn sends a series of messages to various muscles, telling them to respond accordingly allowing you to empty your bladder (relax) and then when you are finished, tighten back up and allow the filling process to start again.
Leaks occur when this process doesn’t work properly. When things don’t fully tighten back up, any pressure placed on the abdomen will cause the urethra to open slightly, allowing a small amount of urine to leak out.
So without strong pelvic floor muscles, ligaments and connective tissue, we lose control of our bladders. That’s where Contrelle comes in. Contrelle restores the bladder to its natural position, supporting the neck of the bladder and urethra and therefore restoring control.
Your pelvic floor muscles are a series of strong, flexible muscles that support your bladder, womb and bowel.
They are rooted from back to front and side to side, like a hammock. So, every step, jump, laugh, cough and sneeze puts pressure on your organs and your pelvic floor.
With so many aspects of day-to-day life applying pressure, it is important that the pelvic floor area is strong and in good condition. These muscles help maintain bladder control, continence and sexual function. If they become weak, lose their tone, or if you lack control of these muscles, you may experience bladder leakage.
So, it’s important to keep your pelvic floor muscles in good shape. With age, excess weight, pregnancy, menopause, post-surgery, bad habits or even good habits – like high-impact sports and intense exercise – your pelvic floor muscles can become stretched and weaken.
Early signs that you may need
to take action include:
- waking up in the night to use the toilet
- needing to rush home when shopping
- leaking a tiny bit of urine when you laugh, cough, or do vigorous exercise
Psst…Bladder leakage can also impact your sex life, making it less satisfying for both you and your partner and sensation can diminish!
But there is no need to despair, there is help available!
It is important to speak to your GP, practice nurse or local NHS continence or Women’s Health service first and foremost. They may recommend lifestyle changes such as:
- reduced caffeine intake
- weight loss
- quitting smoking
Whatever the cause and however often they occur, bladder leaks can have a huge impact on self-confidence and quality of life; from relationships and work to daily activities and the colour (and fit) of clothes you choose to wear.
If this all sounds familiar and you are one of the many women who are tired of wearing uncomfortable bulky pads and liners for fear of having an accident, we have some good news... you don’t have to put up with it any more! Contrelle gives you your confidence back and allows you to do all of the things you love without worrying about where the nearest toilet is. So why not come on in and join our quiet revolution to give women back control over their bladders.