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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
  • Isn’t it funny, by calling something by a different name it gets accepted as ‘normal’.

    Reply

  • a great reminder that I MUST!!!! do my pelvic floor exercises!

    Reply

  • Thankyou for an interesting article, something not to be laughed at or shrugged off, it affects so many.

    Reply

  • Wow I have this an always thought it was having 4 kids an something that is just have to live with.. This story has now made think I should do something about it., thanks for the great info.,


    • That’s right; it’s not something we should accept as “normal”, because it just isn’t. For the majority of women, incontinence is preventable and curable. There’s heaps that can be done about it.

    Reply

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