Urinary incontinence occurs most frequently in women and involves a loss of bladder control. It is due to weakened pelvic floor muscles, which causes involuntary urine losses.
There are several causes of urinary incontinence and it occurs in healthy people as well as people with various diseases.
Given the situation of population ageing, it is currently being given more attention in social media, among the general population as well as among healthcare personnel and in the media. Some medications are useful; however, the greatest expense is in cellulose-derivative absorbent products.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine which leads to a social or hygiene problem.
The life of a patient who suffers from urinary incontinence is by no means endangered, but this condition deteriorates their quality of life, reduces their self-esteem and lowers their autonomy.
Types of urinary incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence (UI)
This type of UI is associated with physical effort or increased abdominal pressure such as when you cough, laugh, run or walk.
This type of UI happens when you have a sudden and intense need to go to urinate without delay.
This type of UI is associated with an urgent need to urinate and effort such as exercise, sneezing or cough.
UI that involves an involuntary, continuous loss of urine. It is often due to a serious injury to the sphincters.
UI that occurs while sleeping.
Also known as “unconscious” urinary incontinence; it occurs in patients who don’t feel a need to urinate.
Urinary system anatomy
Urinary incontinence particularly occurs in women for anatomic reasons.
The urinary system is comprised of the bladder and urethra. The bladder is a hollow viscus, the walls of which are comprised of smooth muscle fibres. Continence is provided by the urethral sphincter muscles. The somatic and autonomic nervous systems control the lower urinary system.
The bladder fills with urine from the kidneys, which are connected by the ureters. The pelvic floor muscles empty the bladder by means of a receptor system.
Causes of urinary incontinence
Physiological problems such as frequent urination, urinary urgency and incontinence due to physical effort are caused by the use of medications, infections or the condition of the conjunctive tissue; in other words, the weakness thereof.
They are also caused by degenerative alterations due to radiotherapy, a lack or low quantity of oestrogen, as occurs in menopause, a pelvis fracture or childbirth.
Further causes include surgery, obesity, constipation, chronic cough, as occurs with smokers, at-risk occupations as occurs with professional athletes, and a lack of knowledge about the perineum.
Urinary incontinence from a social perspective
Socially, urinary incontinence can cause patients to feel fear, humiliation or even discrimination. This leads to depression, social isolation as well as a limited sex life.
Urinary incontinence and local electrical stimulation
Locally applied electrical stimulation has been an unpleasant therapy for patients with few or no satisfactory results. This
has been proven in the most serious of cases where local electrical stimulation has been insufficient.
Urinary incontinence and general electrical stimulation
However, general training with EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) has shown considerably good results with 75 percent of all women doing it strengthening their pelvic floor.
This has been achieved with the stimulation of the abductors and pelvic floor, which also extend through the abdomen and glutes.
It awakens the muscles in the pelvic floor and helps them remain contracted. For people in whom this area is very weak, general electrical stimulation is basically the only way for them to contract the pelvic floor.
Nonetheless, the intensity of a session must be considered as this is decisive to getting the best results. Intense training in the glutes, legs, abdomen and lower part of the back has been able to better strengthen the pelvic floor in 90 percent of all cases.
How to work the pelvic floor muscles
The muscles in the pelvic floor are worked using special breathing techniques. The oblique muscle of the abdomen as well as the transverse ab muscles, the muscles in the lower back and in the pelvic floor must be conscientiously contracted.
Another technique is contracting the navel towards the backbone, thereby contracting the pelvic floor as is done in Pilates.
The pelvic floor muscles and how to exercise them
The pelvic floor is mainly composed of the muscle fibres of the levator ani and the coccygeus muscle. These muscles are comprised of fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibres.
The slow-twitch fibres are worked with long, gentle contractions. The fast-twitch fibres are worked with fast and strong contractions. The fast-twitch fibres are located around the external urethral sphincter.
Certain factors must be considered when strengthening these muscles:
- You must be aware of the perineum.
- You must isolate the muscle groups you wish to strengthen and also be aware of them.
- You must be sufficiently motivated to engage in regular training for the best results.
In short, the social and cultural pathologies of this kind can be drastically reduced with knowledgeable care and consistence.
We hope this post has been helpful. For more information on pelvic floor electrical stimulation, please contact our team of specialists.