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Ask the physiotherapist

BOTHERSOME bladder problems when you exercise? One in three women suffer with the embarrassing problem of urinary leakage. Up to 70pc will improve with pelvic floor exercises.

The two most common causes of urinary leakage are:

Stress Incontinence: The leakage of urine on exertion – with laughing, coughing, sneezing, running, changing position.

Urge Incontinence: The loss of urine following an urgent need to empty the bladder. Women with urge incontinence may visit the toilet very frequently.

Tips to reduce leaks

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises (Kegels) should be done three times every day. If you cannot feel a definite lift and a release of these muscles you should see a chartered physiotherapist in women's health and continence who can teach you how to do them;

Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles before you cough or sneeze;

Don't go to the toilet "just in case": Emptying your bladder when it's not full can teach it bad habits;

Avoid tea, coffee and fizzy drinks and alcohol: These drinks can irritate the bladder, making incontinence that bit worse;

Running may further weaken your pelvic floor muscles, but if you wish to continue, try running on the flat, at a slower pace or for a shorter distance.

You should see a chartered physiotherapist in women's health who can tailor a programme that best suits you.


Chartered physiotherapists who specialise in women's health and continence can assess your pelvic floor muscles and provide you with a personalised exercise programme to strengthen these important muscles.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence guidelines recommend three months of supervised pelvic floor muscle training as first line treatment for stress incontinence.

Some women will develop bladder control issues as a result of other causes which your physiotherapist will assess, prior to advising you regarding posture, prolapse prevention and good bladder and bowel habits.

For more information www.findaphysio.ie or contact The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists on 01 402 2148, email info@iscp.ie