• 22 May 2019
    Urinary Incontinence and Accidental Bowel Leakage

    Urinary Incontinence and Accidental Bowel Leakage

    Urinary incontinence, accidental bowel leakage are often symptoms (if medical issues ruled out) of pelvic floor muscles dysfunction.

    Did you know :

    • There are 200 million sufferers worldwide.
    • 75-80% of sufferers are women.
    • 1 in 4 women over 18 years will experience episodes of accidental urine leakage.
    • Women wait an average of 5-6 years before seeking a help.

    Accidental Bowel leakage (ABL):

    • 90% sufferers are women, 1 in 4 women over the age of 40, 70% younger than age 60.
    • 6 -10% of men suffer.
    • 50% of sufferers will not talk about their ABL.

    Major causes and contributors are pregnancy, childbirth, prostate health, menopause, obesity. Although menopause and obesity are often listed as major causes of Urinary Incontinence, it is not a rule and most likely people in this category were predisposed to this condition with underlying problems.

    There are many other possible causes of incontinence such as side effects of certain medications, injuries, surgeries, pelvic neuropathies, poor microbiome of the urinary tract and too much afferent feedback from micturition reflex.

    Candida encourages neurogenic stimulation that resembles a urinary tract infection (UTI) and encourages urination when it is not needed. People are treated frequently for UTI for this urgency and yet have no actual bacterial infection, but a fungal overgrowth.

    What can you do to balance your microbiome and eliminate candida from your body? Avoid processed sugar (from food and drinks), alter as many fermented foods as possible into your diet.

    How can we help at Oxford Street Therapy Centre?

    As mentioned above, when medical issues are ruled out, urinary incontinence develops likely due to pelvic floor dysfunction. This does not mean that the pelvic floor muscles are weak. It means they do not function as they should. This can happen due to pelvic ligaments dysfunction causing a pelvis misalignment and pelvic diaphragm imbalance disabling the muscles from a proper function.

    What is good and important to know, is that pelvic floor muscles are also part of the intrinsic core unit. On the front side, there are deep abdominal muscles, on the back side there are deep spinal muscles and on the top, there is a diaphragm. The diaphragm is the most important muscle of respiration and we could not breathe without it. But what most people are not aware of, is that all the muscles of an intrinsic core play a very important role in breathing mechanics. And because they work together as one unit, one will affect the other. Therefore pelvic floor muscle function depends on what is happening above.

    Intrinsic core muscles are the only muscles that can create and maintain intra-abdominal pressure IAP, which force is then distributed to the rest of the body, our shoulders and arms, our hips and legs when we want to move. It is a stabilising system of the body. Multifidus – the deep muscle of the spine and transversus abdominis – deep abdominal muscle fire even before we move to give us stability. In a good posture diaphragm and PF are vertically aligned move together as we breathe. We can lose the intra-abdominal pressure and core strength due to various reasons and depending on our medical history, fitness levels, physical and also mental health we develop different symptoms. Pelvic floor dysfunction and urinary or bowel incontinence can be one of them. As above, it doesn’t mean these muscles get weak and need strengthening. In fact, they can become neurologically overactive, tired and not able to contract when we need them to. Here was the issue of Kegels – exercise squeezing the pelvic floor arises. Although it is generally advised to strengthen the PF by squeezing (contracting) it when symptoms of weakness show, it can be more harmful than helpful, or just purely inefficient. We can test these muscles separately and test the whole of the deep core and then prescribe appropriate exercise. Re-balancing the intrinsic core unit rather than purely focusing on the pelvic floor muscles can be very helpful postpartum, but also during the pregnancy, in cases of prolapse at any age and stage of our life.

    We can assess pelvis alignment, test ligaments, deep core, and pelvic floor. Testing, as well as treatment, is very gentle, suitable for patients of any age. I personally do not work with children, but happy to help anyone from teenage above.

    C-section operations, episiotomy (surgical cut through perineum at childbirth), abdominal surgeries scars are important to assess as well as they can have a huge impact on the neural connectivity, muscle function including the pelvic floor and core stability. We can test and treat the scar tissue and help to re-train associated affected tissues. There are no warranties on scars. Even 20+ years post surgeries they still can be active, neurologically weakening or facilitating surrounding tissues and indirectly affecting the whole body.

    The good news is that urinary incontinence can be helped with non invasive, gentle treatment. It can feel embarrassing to talk about it, but it is more common that you might think. My clients don't mention this to me unless I directly ask them, assuming is not something that can be addressed with bodywork. But it can. Get in touch if would like to find out more. 

    Natalia Bowles MTI NKT

    Massage and movement therapist

    Holistic Massage and Bodywork, Neurokinetic Therapy®

    deep abdominal muscles 250x230
    Research Links:
    https://drdooleynoted.com/2017/06/15/anatomy-angel-c-section-scars-and-their-effects-on-core-stability/ https://fitnash.co.uk/client-case-episiotomy_causes_global_muscle_dysfunction/