Urinary Incontinence – The Facts

Urinary incontinence is the complaint of involuntary loss of urine.

It is common but should not be accepted as normal.

Physiotherapy can play a huge role by providing advice and exercises!

There are various types of incontinence:

  • Stress urinary incontinence: involuntary leakage on effort or exertion for example when lifting or exercising, sneezing or coughing. Common reports can be leaking when walking, dancing, jumping, laughing, running etc.
  • Urge incontinence is the complaint of involuntary leakage accompanied by or immediately preceded by urgency to go to the toilet and desire to pass urine.
  • Mixed urinary incontinence is a combination of both.


To show you the prevalence of this problem in Ireland alone, there was a study conducted on 860 Irish women on urinary incontinence before during and after pregnancy. The ‘MAMMI’ study found that:

  • 1 in 3 women leak urine occasionally before becoming pregnant and 1 in 12 leak urine once a month or more frequently
  • In early pregnancy more than 1 in 3 women leak urine during their pregnancy and almost 1 in 5 leak urine once a month or more frequently
  • Three months after birth 1 in 2 women leaked some amount of urine and even 6 months after birth, 1 in 5 still leak urine once a month or more frequently.


Pelvic floor exercises play a huge role and are important to perform pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and post pregnancy to help this problem.

Urinary incontinence increases beyond the menopause.

Furthermore, the ageing population tend to experience urinary incontinence due to progressive muscle weakness – which can also be tackled with pelvic floor exercises!

What does the pelvic floor do?

  1. It controls the emptying of the bladder and bowel, and closes sphincters to prevent incontinence.
  2. It is also an important component of core and pelvic stability, and works closely together with the diaphragm, abdominal and back muscles.


Take home message:

  • This is a common problem and should be discussed more openly with health care professionals
  • It is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about
  • You are not alone and can be helped by appropriate intervention – all you have to do is ask for help!

If you are experiencing any symptoms or are concerned please call us on 01 289 7171 to speak to one of our Chartered Physiotherapist.