Urinary Incontinence (leaking pee) is a main reason why women attend pelvic floor physical therapy.
However, despite the awareness of the impact of urinary incontinence rising, and the awareness of how pelvic floor PT's can help in the US leaking pee is still a BIG ISSUE. And many women are left with little support.
Upwards of 44% of women aged 20-80 have some form or bladder leakage. That's close to half of all adult women.
Of a study done in 2005 women with incontinence paid on average $900 per year for "routine incontinence care" - meaning just "supplies" like pads, cleaning, ect to "deal with the incontinence" this did NOT including actual "treatment" of their incontinence.
A 2007 study predicted the 2020 annual national (USA only) costs directly linked to incontinence to be 82.6 BILLION DOLLARS. Yes, you read that right 82.6 billion dollars. B like BRAVO B.
Surgical interventions and hospitalizations play a big role in these numbers. However, the impact that urinary incontinence has on people goes far beyond paying for pads, medications and surgeries. The emotional aspect of incontinence is huge!
There have been studies showing the relationship between Urinary Incontinence and major depression, post partum depression, missed work and simply decreased overall quality of life. To me, this is the worst part.
Many women will avoid types of exercise they once enjoyed or exercise at all due to leaking or fear of leaking.
Thankfully, more high quality (Level 1 ) evidence is emerging in support of supervised pelvic floor muscle training as an effective intervention for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. This research also supports that pelvic floor muscle training should be the first line approach to treating urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Yes, before surgery, before medications or any other interventions!
If your provider is not "up to date" on these current recommendations feel free to send the references below their way!
Fortunately, almost every state in the US as "direct access" to physical therapy. Meaning, you do NOT need a physicians referral to attend.
If you are interested to know how I may be able to help you on your journey to becoming "Leak Free" head over to my "Work With Me" page and schedule a discovery call.
I will continue to be posting to social media and this blog the rest of January on ways to improve leaking, so stay tuned!
Subak LL, Brown JS, Kraus SR, Brubaker L, Lin F, Richter HE, et al. The “costs” of urinary incontinence for women. Obstet Gynecol. 2006;107(4):908–916.
Coyne KS, Wein A, Nicholson S, Kvasz M, Chen CI, Milsom I. Economic burden of urgency urinary incontinence in the United States: a systematic review. J Manag Care Pharm. 2014 Feb;20(2):130-40. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2014.20.2.130. PMID: 24456314.
Kari Bø, Physiotherapy management of urinary incontinence in females, Journal of Physiotherapy, 10.1016/j.jphys.2020.06.011, (2020).
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. NICE guideline. Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women: management [NG123] Published date: April 2019 Last updated: June 2019