At the bottom of the abdominal cavity there is a series of muscles, forming the so-called pelvic floor muscles. The muscles ”carry” the lower part of the bladder and close the tip of the urethra (short canal through which a person urinates). Urinary incontinence is a condition caused by weak pelvic muscles. When they are ”under the pressure” – for example, when you cough, laugh or lift a weight – you will drop a small amount of urine. This only occurs when the muscles are strained; there is no problem when you are resting or sleeping.
Moderate urinary incontinence is extremely common. Pelvic floor muscles weaken due to childbirth and excessive body weight, and also become weak naturally during the middle ages, although the problem is less common in older people. Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to uterine or vaginal prolapse, which is also something that needs to be treated.
What to do?
If you are particularly affected by this type of incontinence, go to a doctor who will probably send you to a specialist. A specialist will probably ask for an urine sample for analysis that will show whether the condition is worsening due to possible urinary tract infection. An X-ray may also be necessary. Treatment of urinary incontinence is based on exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. If you are overweight, try to lose some weight (see obesity). If these measures do not improve the condition, there are two more methods of treatment. The first is operation, and the second is application of a specially constructed pessary, or a large tampon or sponge, which you will keep in the vagina during the day.