Light bladder leakage is, quite simply, urinary incontinence. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

You’re probably familiar with the term LBL, a reference to light bladder leakage. It’s a term you might hear bandied about by sales and marketing people, but you’ll never hear it pass the lips of a continence health professional.

That’s because the term LBL tends to normalise the condition; makes it sound innocuous – something we should be able to accept as lightly as the leak itself. And then of course, accept the suggestion we purchase the products LBL is invariably associated with.

Light bladder leakage is, quite simply, urinary incontinence. Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

It’s a preventable, treatable and curable condition and it should never be accepted as normal.

Incontinence, the involuntary or accidental leakage from the bladder or bowel, is often indicative of a weak pelvic floor as the result of excessive strain or downward pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.

Pregnancy, childbirth, being overweight, straining through heavy lifting or constipation, and certain sports such as trampolining and gymnastics put people at a greater risk of urinary incontinence.

There are 4.2 million Australians living with urinary incontinence, and 80 per cent of them are women. And it’s not just an older person’s problem; half of all women affected are aged 50 or under.

For the vast majority of people, incontinence is entirely preventable and reversible.

If ignored, it will only get worse. It is not normal, and certainly not something we should put up with or accept as part of growing older.

Like other muscles in the body, pelvic floor muscles will become stronger with a regular exercise program.

If you experience accidental urinary leakage when exercising, laughing, coughing or sneezing, or if you have to rush to get to the toilet or have to go often, you probably have a weak pelvic floor.

You can learn the correct techniques for pelvic floor exercises here or by speaking to a continence nurse or physiotherapist. There is also great information about exercises that won’t damage your pelvic floor, including a free Pelvic Floor First safe exercises app, downloadable from the App Store or Google Play.

If you do have a weak pelvic floor it’s important not to exacerbate the problem by doing activities that increase abdominal pressure (like sit ups, crunches, push-ups, weights) or exert downward pressure on the pelvic floor (running, jumping, star jumps, skipping, high-impact exercises).

“Urinary incontinence is not just an older person’s problem; half of all women affected are aged 50 or under.”

So when you hear the term “light bladder leakage” don’t be fooled into thinking it’s okay. It’s not okay at all.

If you are affected by incontinence, you can phone the free, confidential National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66), which is staffed by friendly continence nurse advisors who provide advice, referrals and resources about incontinence.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
The Continence Foundation of Australia is the peak national organisation working to improve the quality of life of all Australians affected by incontinence. For more information, go here
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  • This was very interesting, thank you.


  • How interesting! Thanks for sharing this info!


  • *Healthy bladder and bowel habits


  • I do suffer from time to time, but just cannot remember to exercise every day . Life sadly is way to busy.

    • You can do them any time. In the car or bus, at the traffic lights, as you prepare dinner, wash up, watch TV. It’s quite amazing the difference they make after a short while!


  • you know from all those ads on tv you would expect it to be considered normal i mean hell they actually say that in the ads

    • Those ads are our BIGGEST pet hate here at the Continence Foundation.


  • Great article but it really missed that if you have LBL, don’t live with it, get it checked out, I have had it for 10 years (from 36) and it is extremely severe, my next step is a bag as catheters etc cause to many infections, mine is a symptom of a neuro illness (big name) but very similar to MS in that it effects the way the brain sends signals to different parts of the body, so just because you have not done your pelvic floors, if you have problems see a specialist and rule out anything else, mine could not have been stopped but maybe slowed as whilst I do my best to manage it and I have a fantastic husband who is my full time carer now (after we both had full time careers and business investments) if I had found out what it was earlier it may have been able to be slowed, SO please always investigate and if not happy with the answer get a second opinion,

    • Yes, you make a very good point. If the leakage doesn’t go away after conservative measures such as doing your pelvic floor exercises, professional help is needed. Thanks for your very important comment. All the very best. Maria


  • and we are supposed to do kegels to strengthen up

    • Yes kegels are another term for pelvic floor exercises. But do them the right way; some women actually create pressure in the region instead of lifting up and holding . Check out our web site continence.org.au Click the Women tab, then click the Pelvic Floor button and you end up at http://www.continence.org.au/pages/pelvic-floor-women.html

      • yeah thanks for this link. i will pass this knowledge on


  • Thanks again for sharing this article; have shared with a friend in need.


  • it is so embarrassing with this light bladder leakage, I have been doing yoga wich seems to help a bit


  • I definitely have some LBL after 2 kids. I need to remember to do my pelvic floor exercises more often.


  • I get a little upset when i see these ads on tv that make out like this is a normal and acceptable part of a womans life….its not. I started having minor issues a few years back and it was a nightmare for me. After a few tests it was discovered that i had tumors and a polyup in my uterus and they were putting pressure on my bladder and this was causing my problems. After surgery I no longer have that issue. The polyup was precancerous so please dont ignore this symptom and think its normal….get checked by a Doctor.

    • Great advice Meedee. Glad to hear you got to it in time!


  • Marketing people are very clever aren’t they. Good article.


  • i am not the sort of person to get embarassed easily …however this condition is horrendous and without mercy.


  • im glad its being spoken about more. i just had my second child and am trying to remember to do those pelvic floor exercises


  • Thanks for this useful information on a common problem.


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