This post could be a novel!
I’m going to break down the possible reasons you are experiencing urinary incontinence, some will be more obvious than others. Remember to take this post with a grain of salt because every woman is different and leaking can happen for a-lot of reasons, which it’s why one on one coaching can be incredibly helpful when trying to get to the root cause of this symptom.
If you are experiencing leaking and want to address it, I would love to see you in my MomCORE Program inside my app!
Who does Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) affect?
The short answer….anyone with a pelvic floor…yeah that means ANYONE
Some studies mention some degree of prolapse can affect up to 50% of childbearing women 😱
And leaking & other PFD can affect 30+% of women who have had a baby
One study found that 12.8% of women who have never given birth are experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction
Those numbers going up with each delivery: 1 baby (18.4%), 2 babies (24.5%), 3 babies (32.4%+)
In 2008 it was reported that more than 15 million women in the U.S. have stress urinary incontinence and 16 million women have an overactive bladder…for sure that number has gone up…still a number that is too high for my liking!
Men can also experience PFD as well, they include some of the reasons I mention below, but also include trouble keeping or getting an erection (ED)! The pelvic floor is a group of muscles! So its important for everyone with a pelvic floor to maintain its strength for proper function!
Reasons your incontinence could be happening
Hypertonic Pelvic Floor – when the muscles are too tight in the pelvic floor, it can lead to chronic tension, constipation, low back pain, trouble starting to urinate, incomplete emptying of bladder/bowels, itching/irritation/burning, painful sex and more. Pelvic floor muscles that cannot relax or lengthen, also cannot absorb shock/impact like a sneeze or jumping rope! You can think of your pelvic floor like a coil spring that is completely compressed. Its not very useful to absorb shock or rebound because there is no space between the coils! So if you can’t absorb shock when impact comes (like a sneeze, cough or scream for the kids)…your pelvic floor gives out. Exciting news, studies show that proper pelvic floor muscle training with a specialist can demonstrate a 59%-80% improvement & relief for women experiencing overactive pelvic floor! You can check out a client that has seen drastic improvement with her leaking due to hypertonicity in two days of my MomCORE Program in the post below!
Scar tissue from tearing OR from a c-section delivery – Scar tissue and adhesions restricts normal range of motion for muscles, can attach to organs (like the bladder and bowels), vaginal tears/scar tissue can create stiffness, reduced ability to lengthen/relax, as well as possible emotional trauma due to the tearing which can cause more guarding/tension!
Increased or poor pressure management – Pelvic floor can be one of those taboo topics and we can kind of skip over that part of our body when we are learning and becoming familiar with our bodies growing up. Then with pregnancy, delivery
Constipation – Full bowels can press on the bladder before it is actually full and can create the sense of urgency or involuntary leakage. The bowels being full can also impact the ability of the bladder being able to empty fully. Using something like a squatty potty or simply elevating your feet with a small stool while using the toilet can help lengthen PF muscles. Proper hydration, plenty of fiber and more can help with proper bowel movements.
Prolapse – up to 50% of childbearing women will experience some grade of prolapse in their life. The hyper mobility of the urethra can result in leaking due to lack of support from the pelvic floor muscles and fascia.
Coordination Issues – this can include the automatic response and support to impact like running, a cough or sneeze, tripping off a curb, being able to relax when needing to urinate or defecate, being able to fire quickly and also being able to relax
Mind Muscle Connection – Connecting to pelvic floor can be a bit more tricky because its a part of our body we cannot see! additionally its hard to strengthen a muscle we have no connection to OR that has experienced a major trauma like child birth…not to mention other traumas like emotional (being told your pelvic floor is “bad” or “dirty”), or physical trauma (non-pregnancy related trauma like gymnastics, bad fall, tailbone injury or sexual trauma). Sometimes it just takes the right approach, cue or trainer to help you reconnect to this space of your body to lay a solid foundation and get you back to the activities you love, PAD AND PAIN FREE!
Low Estrogen – hello breastfeeding mamas!!! Yes breastfeeding can impact not just your emotions due to hormones but also your ability to heal tissues like diastasis and pelvic floor! But newsflash…this doesn’t just impact breastfeeding mamas, it also impacts women in menopause! Low estrogen is known to cause atrophic change that can be connected/associated with PFD, like urgency, frequency, incontinence as well as itching, vaginal dryness and more…insert painful sex…ouch!
Overactive Bladder – your bladder is sooooo trainable!!! This can be a strength but also a weakness depending on your style of “training”. Let me give you an example! The “just in case” pee…this needs to stop, why? Because you are training your bladder that it needs to void before actually being full. Another example, turning on the shower and peeing as soon as you get in the water…you are training your bladder to kick into pee mode as soon as the shower turns on…have you ever turned it on and not really had to pee but as soon as you do…you think omg I need to GO all of a sudden!…bladder training at its finest! Bladder training can include exercises, weight loss, managing diet and fluid intake as well as behavioral interventions like distraction and pattern changes!
Bladder irritants – Foods with lots of acid or caffeine can irritate the lining of the bladder making you feel like you need to use the bathroom more often! So removing these or reducing can help to calm your bladder AND your nervous system!
What can you do now?
So by now you probably are thinking OMG thats alot more reasons I for leaking than I thought…yeah I know, our body is just more complex than “kegels” as a blanket prescription for someone with leaking! That is the whole point of this post. My hope is to educate and thus EMPOWER more women to take healing into their own hands. Be your own advocate! Surgery and big Pharma meds have their place but they also have their side effects and rates of failure. So by at least trying these more wholistic approaches before, during and after whatever choices your make can make your quality of life better and results life long!
Leaking is not a life sentence, it is not taboo, it is not funny or something shameful. It is a sign of dysfunction that can be addressed at home in many cases. I would love to support you in your healing.
You can learn more about my app, MomCORE and my 1:1 services here: CLICK HERE