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Bladder and Bowel Problems


Bladder bowel

Loss of control of bladder or bowel is a common, often undiscussed problem. Whether it’s a small almost unnoticeable leak, or a one off episode of complete involuntary emptying, it is an extremely distressing problem. This can have a significant impact on life’s activities such as going for a walk with friends, playing sport, going out for a meal. Over or under active pelvic floor muscles play a large role in these problems so whether it’s a small urine leak with sneezing, leaking post-prostatectomy or pain while emptying your bowels feel free to contact Aileen to discuss your symptoms and start taking control of your symptoms today.

Is your bladder ruining your life?

Do you:

  • Know where every toilet is in town?
  • Stay at the back of the aerobics class so you can escape to the toilet?
  • Decrease your social interaction such as going for a walk with friends?
  • Watch sport rather than participate?

If you answer YES to any of the above you may be suffering the consequences of urinary incontinence un-necessarily. This silent problem can make your life miserable.

Physiotherapy can play a very significant role in the management of this problem. From a little leak with a sneeze or running, post prostatectomy physiotherapy plays a vital role in returning “to dry.” At Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic our clinic director Aileen MaGuire leads this service.  Her experience in this field is augmented by her role as Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Mater Misericordiae Hospital where as part of a multi-disciplinary team she provides Physiotherapy care in the management of complex urinary and bowel incontinence for both male and female patients. Many sufferers are unaware of the benefits of physiotherapy for this distressing problem. If you are unsure if physiotherapy is the right option for you, feel free to contact us.


Incontinence is classified as an unwanted/involuntary leakage of urine no matter how small.

Leakage of urine with activities such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, fast walking, running or jumping. Treatment includes strengthening the pelvic floor muscles using exercise, biofeedback and muscle stimulation for very weak muscles.

Can’t get there on time to prevent a leak. It may be associated with increased urinary frequency and leaking large amounts of urine. Treatment includes assessing the ability of the pelvic floor muscle to contact and relax correctly and bladder training.

 Studies have shown that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men will experience some symptoms of urinary incontinence in their lifetime. While incontinence is associated with pregnancy and childbirth it is also prevalent during the menopause when the pelvic floor may change and weaken.

Tips to prevent incontinence:


  • Keep your pelvic floor muscles strong and healthy especially after pregnancy and spinal surgery.
  • Keep your weight in a healthy range.
  • Avoid straining to empty your bowel. Eat fibre, drink plenty of fluids (1500mls-2000mls/day) and exercise regularly.
  • Going to the toilet more often to avoid leaking doesn’t work as your bladder is a reservoir and needs to be encouraged to store urine.
  • Don’t practise stopping urine mid-stream as it can send incorrect messages to your bladder and stop it from emptying completely.

A prolapse is a bulging of the pelvic organs into the vagina, bulging of the vaginal and rectal walls and descent of the rectum. It can occur as a result of childbirth or chronic constipation. A strong pelvic floor helps to provide a hammock-like support for these tissues and improve quality of life by decreasing the awareness of the prolapsed tissue.

This can include staining or incontinence of faeces or wind and can be very distressing. Weakness of the pelvic floor is the main cause although damage to the sphincter during surgery or childbirth can be present. Chronic constipation can also be a contributory factor. Poor defecation mechanics can play a part as the bowel may not be emptying completely. Treatment of the pelvic floor muscle is a very important part of therapy and dietary issues often need to be addressed. Advice is also given on correct bowel habits.

There are many reasons for constipation but poor bowel mechanics can be a major cause in chronic constipation. If there is poor muscle co-ordination between the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, this can cause a difficulty in emptying the bowels. Diet and hydration are also very important. Treatment consists of biofeedback therapy to train the muscles to work properly.

A detailed history can help us make a diagnosis. An assessment will be made on your ability to correctly perform a pelvic floor contraction. You may need some assistance with this, a biofeedback unit or muscle stimulation. You may also be asked to fill out a fluid balance chart or give information on your dietary habits.

You will be given a home exercise programme with advice on bladder retraining and diet where necessary. Reviews will be carried out to monitor your progress. Muscles take time to become strong so you will need to persevere with your programme.

To find out more about the services that Ballsbridge Physiotherapy can provide please contact us.