Women urinary incontinence; is it normal?

2024/02/08 Home Education and advice

Women urinary incontinence; is it normal?
Camille Amyot Camille Amyot Physiotherapist

Overall, urinary problems are relatively common among women. It is estimated that up to a third of women may experience incontinence problems at some point in their lives. Incontinence generally increases with age, with a higher prevalence in older women.

Urinary problems can have a variety of causes, such as weakening of the pelvic floor muscles following pregnancy and/or childbirth, hormonal changes, certain medications or health problems. There are several types of incontinence, and these can vary from person to person. The main categories are:

  1. Stress incontinence: occurs during activities involving muscular effort, such as coughing, laughing or physical exercise.
  2. Urge incontinence: characterised by a sudden, urgent need to urinate, often associated with involuntary bladder contraction.
  3. Mixed incontinence: a combination of stress and urge incontinence, with symptoms of both.
  4. Functional incontinence: resulting from physical or cognitive problems that make it difficult to use the toilet in time.

What is the solution to urinary problems?

Physiotherapy specializing in pelvic floor rehabilitation can be beneficial in treating the problem. Following the assessment of the condition, the physiotherapist will provide a personalized program based on the type of incontinence and individual needs. Treatments may include:

  • Strengthening exercises: strengthening pelvic floor muscles to improve bladder control
  • Biofeedback: use of sensors to provide visual information on muscle activity, helping to reinforce pelvic muscle awareness and control
  • Electrostimulation: application of weak electrical currents to stimulate pelvic floor muscles and improve their tone
  • Education :
    • Postural: advice on posture to reduce pressure on the bladder
    • Fluid habits: management of irritating and bladder-damaging foods/liquids
    • Lifestyle habits: such as reducing body weight, engaging in moderate-intensity, low-impact physical activity and reducing tobacco consumption.

It’s important to note that urinary incontinence is not an inevitable condition and can often be successfully treated, improving the quality of life of affected women. It is recommended that you consult a healthcare professional for a personalized assessment and treatment options tailored to your situation. Involvement in pelvic reeducation physiotherapy can play a crucial role in the successful treatment of urinary incontinence.


K. Co, B. Berghams, S. Morkved, M. Van Kampen. Evidence-based Physical Therapy for the Pelvic Floor: Bridging Science and Clinical Practice. 2nd éd. Churchill Livingston; 2015. Disponible: https://doi.org/10.1016/C2009-0-64182-9 Evidence-Based Physical Therapy for the Pelvic Floor Bridging the gap between evidence-based research and clinical practice, Physical Therapy for the Pelvic Floor has become an invaluable resource to pra... doi.org Dumoulin C, Morin M, Mayrand MH, Tousignant M, Abrahamowicz M. Group physiotherapy compared to individual physiotherapy to treat urinary incontinence in aging women: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2017 Nov 16;18(1):544. doi: 10.1186/s13063-017-2261-4. PMID: 29145873; PMCID: PMC5689182.

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