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Confidence and Continence

20 January, 2012

Confidence is a funny thing.

One minute we can brimming with it and suddenly, maybe due to some workplace bullying, or an unexpected family issue or as many of my patients have, some leakage incidents, our confidence goes out the window.

When patients come back at the end of the first month following their initial consultation, the thing that excites me more than an increase in the grading given to their pelvic floor muscles, or the fact that they can hold on longer or they’re having less leakage incidents, is if a patient says they are starting to regain their confidence in their bladder.

When you lack confidence in your bladder, you don’t trust it and you start going to the toilet just in case – before you leave the house regardless of how recently you have been, before the movies, before the doctors visit. This bad bladder habit is quite insidious because you don’t really realize how it’s affecting the capacity of your bladder over many years, until the urgency and urge incontinence episodes start.

That’s why learning the good bladder habits at school would be so handy! Imagine if a public health message regarding not going just in case could become as entrenched and practised by the general public, as covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing ? We would all then understand that the job of the bladder is to store urine, but the critical word is passively. You shouldn’t be provoked into going to the toilet by hearing running water, putting your key in the door when you come home from the shops or filling the kettle. What should make you go is when the bladder capacity approaches 350 to 500 mls for an adult.

So to check how your bladder is traveling do a measure of everything you drink in and each void (wee) over 24 to 48 hrs and if the voids are under the 350 to 500mls, it would handy to see a Women’s Health physiotherapist for some help with learning some strategies to retrain the bladder and build up the capacity and rebuild your confidence in your bladder. To access one of these specially trained physiotherapists, you can go to the APA website and check our Find A Physio. Just enter your state and continence and women’s health and the whole list of physios who treat continence issues will be displayed.

Go on – give it a go!

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