A wee problem of huge proportions

Why minor bladder leakage affects young women

If you have minor bladder control issues, haven't had kids and you're the young side of menopause, you're DEFINITELY not alone. So let's end the awkwardness and chat about this super common women's issue that affects women of all ages.

Rushing to make it to the toilet or mini wet patches every so often affect so many women in their 20's, 30's and 40's who haven't had children...but why?

incontinence young women

Embarrassment stops too many women from getting help

Last year while practicing physiotherapy in Melbourne, Australia, I saw at least ten young women in their 20's and 30's who experienced sporadic continence issues, and their embarrassment was palpable. These ten women were only a few of the thousands of young women with bladder issues, and sadly, 70% of people with bladder control issues don't seek help.

how common is urinary incontinence

If you, your sister, your Mum or your bestie has ever experienced bladder control issues, please read this.

There is a solution, you just have to know where to start.

What is minor bladder leakage?

The most common bladder incontinence issues fall into two categories:

  • Stress incontinence 
  • Urge incontinence

What is stress incontinence?

Stress incontinence means your bladder involuntarily leaks due to physical stress such as coughing, sneezing running and jumping during periods of increased intra-abdominal pressure.

why do i pee when i run?
Image  source

Image source

For example; during a cough, the pressure in your trunk area increases, pushing down on your bladder.


If there isn't enough upward support from your pelvic floor, your small amount of urine may leak.


Stress incontinence usually occurs after childbirth or after menopause.



What is urge incontinence?

This bladder control issue is the most common I've seen. If you ever have to run to the bathroom with no prior warning, or you don't quite make it and you get small wet patches on your undies or you ever feel 'desperate to go,' - you have urge incontinence.

The cause of urge incontinence isn't known, but it's an issue relating to the bladder's messages from the brain. 

  • Usually, the bladder can store 350-500mls of urine at a time
  • When the bladder is full, it sends a message to the brain, which then sends a message back to the bladder to contract and empty
  • Usually, you can delay going to the bathroom until it's convenient
Urge incontinence often means the bladder tells the brain it needs to empty even when it's not full. It gives the brain 'mixed messages.'

Why does urge incontinence happen?

No reason is known at this point. Illicit drugs can be a cause as they can change the messages going between the brain and bladder, and coffee, tea and alcohol can make symptoms worse.

Why does bladder leakage affect young women with no children?

why does bladder leakage affect young women with no children

It's all about your pelvic floor. Yep, it's a muscle thing. 

The pelvic floor is a sling of muscles that spans from your pubic bone, right between your legs and up to your sacrum. Think of it like a hammock of muscles, with different muscles slinging around your three openings.

When activated or 'used' correctly, your pelvic floor should lift, rather than scrunch.

Imagine a tissue lying flat on a table and you pinching the centre into a tent and lifting it upwards. 

On ultra sound, it looks like this:

With many young women experiencing bladder control issues, their pelvic floor barely lifts at all, and when it does, they're unable to hold it.

This can also occur if you're unable to fully relax your pelvic floor, which is another common problem; meaning your pelvic floor is inefficient.

Your abdominal contents and your bladder when it empties create a downward force. If the upward life of the pelvic floor is too weak, a little bit of urine can leak out. 

why do i have incontinence

What can you do about your bladder control issues?

  1. Firstly, remember you're not alone lady! This issue is so much more common than anyone realises.
  2. Secondly, seek skilled help from a trained, experienced women's health physiotherapist. They need to have specialised in women's health physiotherapy and should have proven experience in the field. A great example are the genius physios at Fitwise, Melbourne.

Unlike myself who specialises in sports and spinal physiotherapy, these skilled physios will be very specific to your bladder issues.

  • They will ask you to fill out a long questionnaire, then go through your full history.
  • Then, to understand the strength and endurance of your pelvic floor, they will ask if you consent to an internal exam. It's completely painless and a great way to establish where you're at with your pelvic floor strength.
  • They will likely also use a real time ultra sound to watch your pelvic floor activation.

Ultimately, they will give you a program to help reduce the degree of urgency and increase the storage ability of your bladder. These programs work, and can make a huge difference to you.

NOTE: Bladder incontinence can also be caused by infection or neurological disorder. A good women's health physiotherapist will encourage you to get tested for these issues if they think you fall into any of these categories.

If you have any questions about bladder control issues - let me know!

lets talk about women's health

Let's stop the secrecy and awkwardness around bladder control issues and start the conversation!

Viking Sun - What it's like as a visiting practitioner on the world's best cruise ship

Earlier in 2018 I was invited to be a visiting practitioner on the Viking Sun Cruise ship for part of its maiden voyage around the world from the USA  to Sweden.

Floating Oasis with a Liv Nordic Spa

As soon as I stepped onboard the brand new ship, I was blown away by the huge open lobby, breathtaking staircase and clean Scandinavian design of the ship.

The Explorer's lounge on Viking Sun

The Explorer's lounge on Viking Sun

Gleaming white floors led the way to the light blue carpet of reception where I checked in, and was promptly walked to the spa reception to meet the incredible spa manager and international team. 

Spacious luxury and Scandinavian design

From the flawless Liv Nordic spa reception I wandered passed the huge gym with vast windows facing out to sea and up the wide, open staircase to my floor. Having never set foot on a cruise ship before, I was surprised to see how long the hallways were, they seemed never ending!

Eventually I found my ‘stateroom,’ the name for a hotel room on a cruise ship. I had expected a small, boxy room akin to hotel rooms in Japan, but it was far more spacious. In keeping with the ship's Norwegian roots, everything was beautifully furnished in blonde wood or soft blue, and a stunning Norweigian blanket was folded over the end of the bed. 

Holistic physiotherapy

Health and wellness was easy to find on Viking sun

Healthy food was easy to find on the Viking Sun, which was the perfect addition to the wellness spa, fitness and therapy options offered at the Liv Nordic Spa (including my sessions of course!) 

The restaurant on the seventh floor offered a huge range of food; my favourites were the fresh berries and yoghurt, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and gluten free toast. The lunch salad bar upstairs on the seventh floor, and gluten free bolognese from Manfredi’s, the Italian restaurant were my favourites. I was thrilled to see how easy the Viking Sun made access to good, nourishing food for each and every guest. For others with coelic disease like myself, Viking SUn even offers gluten free waffles in Mamsen's cafe.

My Holistic Physiotherapy lectures drew a crowd

Over the next three weeks I lectured about my favourite topics to crowds of at least 30 guests. As most of the guests were at least 60 years young, the topics were focused around the wellness of ageing including:

  • Protecting joints as you age
  • 5 easy ways to say strong in daily life
  • How to eat for health
  • 5 stretches you can do to move better
  • The one thing you need to know about back pain

I’m so passionate about the topics above, and after seeing the crowds my lectures drew, it turned out the guests of Viking Sun were too!

I taught morning Pilates classes on the pool deck every few days and I was blown away by how motivated the attendees were. Most were women, in their 60’s and 70’s who had never tried Pilates before, but they attended every class during three weeks. They went from complete beginners to strong side plankers in just three weeks!

I was so inspired by the dedication of the guests. They were so interested to learn how they could continue living well as they aged. 

From private Pilates classes to holistic Physiotherapy sessions, I worked with so many wonderful people on the Viking Sun. I had an exceptional experience on The Viking Sun with Liv Nordic, it was a visiting practitioner posting with a nautical edge. I'm so grateful to the Liv Nordic team for inviting me to join the Viking Sun as a visiting practitioner.

To learn more about the Holistic Physiotherapy services I can offer your guests, click below.