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
  • I didn’t realize it was as common as it is.


  • If you do your pelvic floor exercises, and take all the advice given with no improvement be your own squeaky door and keep looking for answers. In hindsight my LBL was the first symptom of my primary progressive MS that wasn’t diagnosed for another ten years. I wanted to believe there was nothing wrong with me, that I’d had big babies, I needed to do pelvic floor exercises, I was stressed, I heard every reason. My gut told me there was more to it, I just didn’t want to believe it. I hope this comment placed here isn’t considered inappropriate.

    • Thanks for sharing. I for one had never heard of ‘lbl’ as a symptom of anything more sinister and its great you are able to share this with us :)

      • I agree. If the urinary leakage isn’t improving after doing everything to strengthen and protect your pelvic floor then absolutely have it checked out. It’s never “normal” to leak. It always indicates a problem somewhere.

      • That’s absolutely right. If you’re doing all the right things and your bladder leakage still doesn’t improve, it’s a sign something’s up. Great advice and thank you for sharing. I hope you’re getting the best possible treatment for your MS.


  • After having 3 kids it’s a huge problem. Luckily I found a great Physio.


  • Thanks again for the reminder for those pelvic floor exercises!


  • This is definatly an eye opening article: pelvic flood muscles r so under appreciated.


  • Very good article. I relate. Must get those pelvic floor exercises happening.


  • a very good article with helpfull advice


  • I do my exercises 3 times a day as recommended to me by my physio, it has helped me so much.


  • sometimes when u sneeze or laugh too much u pee a bit


  • This should not be normal this can be prevented


  • Thanks for sharing this informative and very important information and for providing the Helpline number. Education and awareness is key in addressing incontinence issues.


  • This is all too commonly not spoken about enough and because of this when women experience this condition they feel embarrassed and alienated. Great article – thank you. I’m pinning to create awareness around this issue.


  • Thank you very much for this wonderful article and information. I agree with this 100% and would even get a little angry when I used to see those incontinence products on TV for LBL. I had prolapse and went to a wonderful Gynecologist and had surgery and now I could not be happier if I tried. So yes moms don’t just put up with it, get a referral to a specialist.


  • I didn’t know that it was totally treatable.


  • Timely reminder for me. Things have never been the same since I had my sons. I definitely need to rememebr to do my exercises.


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