Could this common condition be the cause of your bladder leaks?
There is a very common condition that most people probably wouldn’t ever associate with bladder leaks or incontinence… about 20% of the general population have it. The likelihood of developing it increases with age, especially in women. Most pregnant or post-partum mamas get it…
Have you guessed what it is yet...?
If you guessed constipation, then you are correct!
It seems counterintuitive, right? How could having trouble holding in pee be related to having trouble getting poop out?!
To understand better how they impact each other, you first need to understand what it means to be constipated. We officially diagnose constipation if at least 2 of the following are true at least ¼ of the time for the last 3-6 months:
- Straining or pushing very hard during bowel movements
- Dry, hard or lumpy stool
- Feeling like you haven’t emptied completely
- Feeling of blockage or obstruction in the anus or rectum
- Need to use manual techniques to help stool pass
- Less than 3 bowel movements per week
Constipation is a vicious cycle. The longer stool stays in the colon and rectum, the harder and drier it gets, making it more difficult to pass. So it stays in longer… and more stool gets added to it as you continue to eat… Because the rectum is made of muscle, it can stretch, which normally would tell you it’s time to go poop. But if you can’t empty your bowels, the rectum will just get used to holding larger poops....
Now you’re thinking ok I get it, constipation isn’t great… but what does it have to do with me peeing my pants when I jump or needing to pee every hour on the hour???
Time for a quick anatomy lesson! These are your pelvic organs. As you may already know from some of my other videos, your pelvic floor muscles help hold them in place. You have your bladder, your uterus which rests overtop it, and finally your rectum, which is behind the uterus. Now imagine the rectum (and probably a decent portion of the colon above it) are stretched out from a large, hard poop. This will put pressure on the bladder, which can cause leaks or frequent urges, much like a growing baby in a uterus would do. Finally having a bowel movement can be painful if the constipation is severe enough which can cause your pelvic floor muscles to tense up, which can also cause leaks or frequent urges…
This is why I always have a thorough chat with my clients about their bowel habits even if they feel like they are “regular”. Treating constipation often has a drastic impact on leaks. Treating constipation can also PREVENT them from happening in the first place in some cases as well. The good news is pelvic health physios are specially trained to do just that! So even if you’re not experiencing bladder leaks and some of those constipation criteria sounded even slightly familiar… let’s talk. It’s not a glamorous conversation, but hey, adult diapers aren’t glamorous either!
If you are experiencing bladder leaks and are determined to conquer them once and for all, I have a FREE workshop coming up at the clinic on November 24th. Find all the details, including how to register by clicking HERE.