How do I stop leaking wee?
Leaking wee when you cough, sneeze or laugh is much more common than you might think.
Over a third of women will leak wee at some point in their life and it doesn’t just happen to older women.
My patients vary in age from 16 to 90! The good news is that there are lots you can do to stop leaking – also known as being incontinent.
Why do some women leak wee?
We leak wee when the muscles and tissues that support the bladder become weak and stretch.
Most people know that having a baby or getting older can make you leak but did you know that these things can also make you leak?
- being constipated
- doing lots of sit-ups
- doing aerobics
- heavy lifting
- putting on too much weight
How can I control my incontinence?
If you want to stop your leaking then the first thing you need to do is try to tighten and strengthen your pelvic floor. You do this by performing pelvic floor exercises (sometimes called Kegel exercises).
Our blog contains lots of useful information on how to do these exercises properly. The important thing is to do these exercises at least three times a day if you want to see a difference.
How do I know that I am doing my pelvic floor exercises properly?
Lots of women worry that they’re not doing their exercises correctly and they might be right. Around half of all women aren’t!
There are a few ways you can find out if you’re doing them the right way.
The first is to use an Educator. This is a little device that slips into your vagina. It has a thin stick attached to it (that stays outside of you) and this moves down if you are tightening the right muscles and moves up if you are doing the wrong thing. As your muscles get stronger, the stick moves further so you can also tell if you are getting better.
The second option is to use Aquaflex cones. You might have seen these on Embarrassing Bodies or ITV This Morning. These are little cylinders that you put small weights into. You start off with a large cone and you try to keep it inside your vagina by tightening your pelvic floor muscles.
As your muscles get stronger, you can add small weights to make it harder for you to keep it inside you. As your muscles get tighter, you can move to smaller cones.
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles is really important for incontinence.
But if you want to stop leaking for good, you also need to look at all the other things that can make you leak.
If you are constipated, eat more fibre and visit your doctor for a solution as all that straining can stretch and weaken your pelvic floor.
Doing fewer sit-ups and high impact aerobic classes will also help.
Try to avoid heavy lifting but if you do have to lift anything then remember to tighten your muscles before and during the lift to prevent any unexpected leaks.
And if that still doesn’t help your incontinence?
If nothing happens when you use your Educator or you can’t hold the Aquaflex in, ask your GP to refer you to a Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
She will be able to help you find and exercise your pelvic floor muscles and then you can return to using your Aquaflex or Educator afterwards.