male and female incontinence diagram

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is unwanted or involuntary leakage of urine, no matter how small. You may find that you leak urine with activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing or playing sport. You may also get leakage when you urgently need to go to the toilet, but don’t make it in time. Other symptoms you may experience include the constant need to urgently or frequently go to the toilet or waking up more than once during the night to go to the toilet. People with incontinence often know the location of every toilet around!

Why do I get it?

Common causes of incontinence include childbirth, obesity, menopause or the associated straining of persistent heavy lifting, chronic constipation or coughing.

How do I fix it?

Having strong pelvic floor muscles gives us good control over our bladder. Weakened pelvic floor muscles mean that the internal organs are not fully supported, and you may have difficulty controlling the release of urine, faeces (pooh) or flatus (wind). Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles will help improve your bladder control, reducing incontinence.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support the bladder and bowel in men, and the bladder, bowel and uterus in women. They stretch like a muscular trampoline from the pubic bone at the front, the tailbone or coccyx at the back and from side to side. These muscles play an important role in bladder and bowel control, sexual function and supporting the spine.