Loss of bladder control or leaking urine is an embarrassing but very common, under-reported, undiagnosed, problem1. People often don’t mention it and deal with the symptoms in silence. But there is plenty of help available that can ease or stop your symptoms!
A normal healthy bladder stores urine made by your kidneys, until a message gets sent from your stretched bladder muscle (through the nerves in your spine) to your brain. The brain then computes this information on a number of levels then sends another message back down (through the nerves in spine) to relax the sphincters that allow you to empty your bladder if it is appropriate to do so.
This is a very basic version of a rather complex system, but to keep it simple, it involves the parts of your nervous system that you can, and also those that you can’t consciously control. Is also is intricately linked with the part of your nervous system that allows excitement/stimulation and rest/relaxation at the same time and then is orchestrated by a bunch of chemicals. Phew, sounds complicated? And that’s the very basic version
As with any dynamic, complex system there are many opportunities for complications. Very commonly when the system fails us the end result is leaking of urine at inopportune moments. Leakage with sneezing, coughing, laughing, lifting, are common signs of something called ‘stress incontinence’. All of a sudden the feeling of needing to empty your bladder but then not being able to wait until you get to the toilet to go is a common problem called ‘urge incontinence’. Symptoms may vary from a little dribble to frequently saturating clothes or incontinence pads.
The good news is there is plenty that you and your chiropractor can do to ease the symptoms.
It must be emphasized that incontinence can be a sign of more serious underlying problems that are not under the scope of chiropractic care. Visit and talk to your GP to rule them out. While you’re there, talk about your medications too. Some heart and blood pressure medications, sedatives, muscle relaxants or other medications have the ability to contribute to bladder problems.
What Can We Do?
We will assess your spine for interference to those nerves that send the messages back and forth to the brain and adjust spinal segments to reset the nervous system. This ensures the messages going to and from the brain through the spine remains ‘unscrambled’. Both clinical experience and research shows this works well with lasting results2.
We will check your pelvis for alignment and pelvic floor muscles for strength as problems here are major risk factors for developing urinary incontinence3,4.
If you carry too much weight, have been pregnant, or had hysterectomy you have a high risk of developing urinary incontinence due to pelvic bone and pelvic floor muscle imbalance. If you fall into this category why not have this pelvic imbalance assessed before nasty symptoms arise?
We will recommend effective pelvic floor muscle exercises and strengthening techniques.
We can assess any everyday habits that may be contributing to the problem. Sitting, standing and lifting often needs correcting. Other common causes of temporary urinary incontinence include alcohol, over hydration, tea and coffee, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, etc.
We can assess and advise on any poor lifestyle habits that contribute to aggravating factors such as diabetes, weight gain, constipation, hormone imbalance and stress management.
Bowel incontinence can be even more embarrassing and under discussed but it does happen and we find it is often helped by applying a number of the principles above.
There are a lot of things that can help, so don’t let a wee problem get you down any longer!
1. Norton.P., Brubaker.L.. Urinary incontinence in women, The Lancet, Volume 367, Issue 9504, 7–13 January 2006, Pages 57-67, ISSN 0140-6736, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(06)67925-7.
2. Cuthbert.S.C., Rosner.A.L. Conservative chiropractic management of urinary incontinence using applied kinesiology: a retrospective case-series report, Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2012, Pages 49-57, ISSN 1556-3707, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2011.10.002.
3. Stav.K., Alcalay.M., Peleg.S., Lindner.A., Gayer.G, Hershkovitz.I.. Pelvis Architecture and Urinary Incontinence in Women, European Urology, Volume 52, Issue 1, July 2007, Pages 239-244, ISSN 0302-2838, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2006.12.026.
4. Fitzgerald.C.M., Santos.L.R., Mallinson.T.. The association between pelvic girdle pain and urinary incontinence among pregnant women in the second trimester, International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, Volume 117, Issue 3, June 2012, Pages 248-250, ISSN 0020-7292,