Laugh Without Leaking
Urinary incontinence affects up to 37% of women. It can range from mild, small leaks to severe, large leaking.
That’s a fancy way of saying that 1 in 4 women pee when they laugh, sneeze, cough, jump, or run. Aren’t women lucky that they get to experience all the fun stuff?
Urinary incontinence is not usually a talking point over dinner or a conversation starter at a party! This leaves people suffering in silence and stops them from enjoying exercise, activities, and living life to the full. It can be very distressing and have a major emotional effect on the sufferer. Many women believe incontinence is normal and permanent but this is not correct! It is a condition that can be treated, managed, or even cured.
Some of the main risk factors
Pregnancy and childbirth
6-8 cups of fluid a day, preferably water. It is best to spread them out evenly over the entire day.
Eat a diet that includes all the colours of the rainbow. Eat plenty of fibre, 2 servings of fruit, and 5 servings of vegetables each day.
Try to maintain your ideal body weight as excess body fat strains the pelvic floor muscles. Try to stop smoking as the chronic coughing associated with smoking can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes most days as activity can assist in making you feel happier and prevent constipation.
Ensure you go to the toilet when you feel the urge to open your bowels as this is the most effective time to empty them. Don’t hold your breath and don’t strain. Avoid constipation as this affects the bladder and bowel functions and straining stretches and weakens the pelvic floor muscle over time. Urinary tract infections can be responsible for causing poor bladder control, so it is important to have these treated promptly.
Do your pelvic floor exercises! These are free, quick, inconspicuous, easy, and help to improve the tone of your muscle. People are 17 times more likely to report improvement, or even cure their incontinence when compared to those who did not do exercises.
Treatment and Support
There are a range of treatment options depending on your specific situation. Symptoms will not go away on their own and may even worsen if left over time.
National Continence Helpline: 1800 33 00 66
The Continence Foundation of Australia website offers a variety of resources in different languages: www.continence.org.au or www.laughwithoutleaking.org.au
The female doctors at Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Services can assist with treatment options, including exercises and referrals for physiotherapy or surgery as needed. Appointments are available Tuesday-Friday and are free if you hold a Medicare Card!
At Ishar we have a dietitian available who can assist with making healthy food choices and preventing constipation.
Ishar also offers exercise programs to women on Mondays and Fridays.
Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Services
P: (08) 9345 5335
M: 61 Sudbury Road, Mirrabooka WA 6061
Don’t suffer in silence. Get help now! It’s the first step on the road to pee-free undies.
We all deserve to live life to the full and laugh without leaking!
(References: HelloClue Article, Continence Foundation of Australia)