Incontinence - Western Women's and Mens Health
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Stress Incontinence


This is when you accidentally leak urine or faeces when there is increased intra-abdominal pressure.


Common aggravating activities

> Coughing

> Sneezing

> Lifting

> Running

> Jumping

> Standing up from a chair




Often you will leak because there is a weakness in the pelvic floor muscles, urethra, or bladder neck. The evidence shows that pelvic floor strengthening is a successful treatment for stress incontinence and should be trialled prior to any further medical or surgical intervention.


The pelvic floor muscles sit at the base of the pelvis, attaching from the pubic bone to the tailbone. These muscles “squeeze and lift” which allows you to stay continent and to support all your pelvic organs (bladder and bowel).


To activate these muscles, try the following prompts:

> Imagine trying to hold in wind

> Imagine trying to stop the flow of urine

> Visualise walking in to cold water

> Try to lift the scrotum and retract the penis

Make sure that you don’t:

> Squeeze your bottom or thighs

> Suck your tummy in

> Grimace your face


It is always important to make sure you are doing your pelvic floor exercises correctly, as the wrong technique could cause more harm than good. Some people may “trick” by bearing down instead of lifting up. Other people may find it hard to relax their pelvic floor, which could create overactivity in the muscle. It is always important to check in with one of our men’s health physiotherapists to ensure that your technique is correct before you start a pelvic floor exercise program.

Urge incontinence

This is when you leak urine or faeces when you have an urge to go to the toilet and there is a sense of urgency. You should be able to hold on to your bladder and bowel until it is socially appropriate to empty them, however sometimes our bladder and bowel have a mind of their own and start emptying before we’re ready. This can cause an enormous amount of embarrassment and social anxiety and should be addressed straight away.


It is normal to empty your bladder 6-9 times/day and 0-1 times overnight.


It is normal to empty your bowels anywhere from 3 times per day, to every 3rd day.


If you are going to the toilet more than this, and you cannot control your bladder urges, then you likely have urge incontinence.


Treatment may involve:

> Pelvic Floor exercises (both strengthening and relaxation)

> Bladder retraining

> Bowel retraining

> Fluid and diet modifications