Urinary & Faecal Incontinence

Urinary incontinence refers to involuntary leakage of urine. Faecal incontinence is the inability to control the leakage of faecal matter and both occur more often in women than in men. The most common cause of bowel incontinence is damage to the muscles around the anus (anal sphincters). Vaginal childbirth can damage the anal sphincters or their nerves, which is why women are affected by accidental bowel leakage about twice as often as men. Although it may be a sensitive topic to discuss, it is often a very treatable condition when an accurate diagnosis of the cause is found.
Life events such as pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause may contribute to urinary incontinence in women, but other physiological causes can be weak bladder or pelvic floor muscles, overactive bladder muscles, and nerve damage may also cause urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence will be suffered by two-thirds of women in their lifetime (and one-third of men), but despite it being so common, it is not ‘normal’ and more so, is very treatable.

There are three types of urinary incontinence:
  • Stress incontinence - from physical stress such as coughing or jumping
  • Urge incontinence - the sensation or actual need to urinate before the bladder is full
  • Mixed incontinence - a mixture of both stress and urge incontinence

  • Both nulliparous women (women who have not had children) and mothers can suffer incontinence. For both population groups, there is often other imbalances in their musculoskeletal system that is either placing excessive pressure onto their pelvic floor muscles due to insufficiency in their 'core' trunk muscles, or that is not allowing optimal neuromuscular recruitment patterns of the pelvic girdle muscles. The combination of pelvic floor muscle exercises and treatment of other musculoskeletal dysfunction is the key to successful management of incontinence.

    At PhysioMotion, our Physiotherapist's will conduct a full body assessment for any musculoskeletal factors and a thorough examination of the pelvic floor muscles that are contributing to your incontinence. We use real time ultrasound guided imaging to assess the pelvic floor and core abdominal muscles and it can be also performed both during and after pregnancy. Ultrasound imaging equipment will help you 'feel by seeing' the muscles so that you can visually and objectively see which muscles are working correctly. For a more thorough assessment, an internal vaginal examination of the muscle tone of the pelvic floor muscles can be conducted by a specifically trained and qualified Women's Health Physiotherapist.

    For more information regarding urinary and faecal incontinence, refer to Women’s Health or Men’s Health.