Spring is in the air and. . . guess what?

It may be the reason many of us find ourselves accidentally wetting ourselves more than we’d like.

There are some reasons why this occurs:

  1. All that pollen floating around makes us more susceptible to allergies like asthma and hayfever and their associated coughing and sneezing fits.
  2. The cuddly layer of body fat that kept us warm over winter might be weighing us down.
  3. Many of us decide now’s the time to get our bodies into shape for summer.

These three factors have one thing in common; they can each put our pelvic floors under undue stress and exacerbate stress incontinence.

So what is stress incontinence? It’s the urine leakage that happens when we place too much stress on our pelvic floor muscles.

These are the trampoline-like muscles suspended from the tailbone to the public bone and across both sitting bones. As well as holding up our intestines, bladder and other pelvic organs, they help close off our urinary and anal sphincters.

The reason we leak urine comes down to physics; it’s the result of a greater downward force on the bladder (caused by the sneezing, coughing or jogging) than the closure force of the urinary sphincter.



So, how do we survive spring without the leakage?

In most cases it’s simply a matter of strengthening our pelvic floor muscles so they’re able to handle the added stress and keep those sphincters shut tight.

Like any other muscles, our pelvic floor muscles need to be exercised regularly to become stronger.

The Continence Foundation recommends doing pelvic floor exercises at least once a day. Go here to learn how to do them properly, or consult a continence physiotherapist for one-on-one instruction.

Here are a few other tips to get you through spring:

  1. If you have allergies, hayfever, asthma or any other condition that causes chronic coughing or sneezing, go to your doctor for treatment.
  2. Try to keep your weight within the healthy weight range. Weight loss significantly reduces your chances of urinary incontinence, with research showing that losing just five to 10 per cent of body weight reducing the incidence of urinary incontinence by around 70 percent. In fact, weight loss has been shown to be an effective treatment for urinary incontinence.
  3. When you start your fitness regime, try to avoid high-impact or resistance exercises like lifting, running or lunges that place undue stress on your pelvic floor. Of course, if you have a strong pelvic floor, there’s no reason to avoid these activities, but in the meantime, there are many exercises you can do that won’t strain your pelvic floor. Go here to check these out, or download the free Pelvic Floor Safe Exercises app from the App Store or Google Play.
  4. Constipation is another avoidable condition that can significantly exacerbate incontinence. Straining on the toilet also stresses the pelvic floor, causing the muscles to stretch and weaken.
  5. Download this brochure Good Bladder Habits For Everyone it outlines the five steps to healthy bladders.

Remember, it’s not normal to have bladder leakage – light or otherwise.

In the majority of cases it’s preventable and quite treatable – often by taking simple, preventative steps.

For advice and information on incontinence, bladder or bowel issues, phone the free, confidential National Continence Helpline (1800 33 00 66), which is staffed by continence nurses and managed by the Continence Foundation of Australia. Or go here for more information.

Have you noticed your bladder leakage getting worse around spring? Please share in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • thank goodness I don’t have this issue – but should probably do some pf work!!

    Reply


  • All of these reasonsake perfect sense, especially the added sneezing in spring associated with hay fever.

    Reply


  • nice nature

    Reply


  • I get the spring and all the sneezing. Bladder issues would make that so much worse. Good article.

    Reply


  • Aachoo, oh, excuse me, lol, good article for us LBL sufferers.

    Reply


  • i love spring ill leave it at that x

    Reply


  • ouch !! this is news !! incontinence itself is so hard

    Reply


  • spring is sometimes good and bad

    Reply


  • I actually have told mum to have a read!

    Reply


  • thanks for putting this up

    Reply


  • Yes, but only because of the obvious, sneezing. Always causes a little urine leakage


    • Wetting yourself when you sneeze is not normal, and indicates a weak pelvic floor. Pelvic floor exercises are recommended if that happens.



      • yes it sucks that women have this issue because we have babies

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  • too funny, sorry for those it affected – this cracked me up…. never thought of this angle

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  • Thank you for this article. I suffer a little with sneezing in spring.

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  • A good article thank you.

    Reply


  • As soon as you mentioned pelvic floor I did exercises while reading the article. First spring since bub so my sneezing will test my pelvic strength! Thanks for the timely reminder to keep exercising


    • Yep, childbirth and pregnancy can have a huge impact on the integrity of your pelvic floor, so start squeezing!!

    Reply

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