What is the Connection Between the Pelvic Floor and Incontinence?

Anna T.
Anna T.
Some people experience urinary incontinence when they undergo physical stress, such as sneezing.
Some people experience urinary incontinence when they undergo physical stress, such as sneezing.

The connection between the pelvic floor and incontinence generally relates to the muscles within the pelvic floor. If these muscles are not strong enough to support the bladder, the bladder can put a great deal of pressure against the urethra. This added pressure can cause various levels of incontinence in many people due to the extra pressure, thereby making it difficult to completely close the urethra. As a result of this, some people may only experience incontinence when they laugh, cough, or sneeze. People with more severe incontinence might have problems with it constantly.

Urinary incontinence is characterized by a person's inability to control his or her bladder.
Urinary incontinence is characterized by a person's inability to control his or her bladder.

Pelvic floor and incontinence problems are often linked to childbirth. Carrying a baby for nine months normally puts a lot of extra weight on the pelvic floor muscles, especially if the baby is very large. Additionally, vaginal delivery often puts even more strain on these muscles. Women who have never had incontinence problems may begin to experience them after they give birth. The more babies a woman has in her life, the more likely incontinence is to be a problem.

Aging can also directly affect muscles of the pelvic floor and incontinence. When a person ages, all of the muscles in the body normally weaken. This includes the pelvic floor muscles. The weaker the muscles are, the harder it usually is to control urine. Women who have had multiple children and men who have prostate issues are also more likely to develop incontinence problems as they age.

Many people who are severely obese often report having incontinence issues. Just as with pregnant women, the pressure of the extra weight on the bladder in obese people frequently results in incontinence issues. Most of the time, weight loss will either eliminate or reduce the incontinence experienced if obesity has caused it.

Women who have pelvic floor and incontinence problems may be able to strengthen their weakened muscles by doing kegel exercises. Doctors often recommend these to women who are pregnant or have just given birth, but they are normally helpful for anyone who either wants to prevent or already has incontinence issues. Kegel exercises are typically done by squeezing together the muscles of the urethra several times during the day. Most doctors advise women to do them two or three times a day with as many repetitions as possible before they become tired. The pelvic floor muscles usually build themselves back up over time if these exercises are done regularly.

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    • Some people experience urinary incontinence when they undergo physical stress, such as sneezing.
      Some people experience urinary incontinence when they undergo physical stress, such as sneezing.
    • Urinary incontinence is characterized by a person's inability to control his or her bladder.
      Urinary incontinence is characterized by a person's inability to control his or her bladder.