Jeanetty (29) was incontinent: ‘pelvic physiotherapy helped me enormously’

Always wear a panty liner, for fear of stray drops? Don’t keep walking around with it, because something can be done about it, says pelvic physiotherapist Dr. Constancia. “Incontinence does not go away on its own.” In Curaçao, approximately 3,000 people suffer from problems with their pelvis.

Incontinence during pregnancy

At the beginning of Jeanetty’s (29) pregnancy, everything goes well. But when she reaches fifteen weeks, she starts to have problems with her pelvis. “At first I thought: it will go away. But that didn’t happen. I couldn’t even unload the dishwasher or pick up anything before I started getting massive twinges in my pelvis. I really didn’t know how I was going to get through my pregnancy this way.”

Pain is not the only thing Jeanetty has to deal with. If there is even a little pressure on her pelvis, she already suffers from involuntary urine loss. “I had a lot of trouble with this, especially during exertion, such as when walking. But even when I coughed or sneezed, I had to stand still for a moment so that I didn’t lose urine. I had to think very consciously about every step. Dailee’s pads helped me during this period.”

Pelvic physiotherapy advised

After Jeanetty discusses her problems with her sister, she immediately looks for a pelvic physiotherapist. She ends up at the practice of a certified physiotherapist who focuses on helping people with pelvic and incontinence problems.

Incontinence is the inability to hold both your urine and feces, causing you to pass it involuntarily. “Urinary leakage already occurs during pregnancy, but one in three women also becomes incontinent after giving birth. Menopause or diseases such as Parkinson’s or bronchitis can also cause incontinence problems,” says the physiotherapist.

Poor pelvic floor muscles

In women, poor pelvic floor muscles often cause incontinence. It won’t go away on its own, but with the right help from a pelvic physiotherapist you can do a lot about it, says Bergmans. “Women use a panty liner as a precaution and usually wrongly, for example, because they are afraid of losing something. You have to regain confidence in your body. With a pelvic physio you learn to make your pelvic floor muscles function again as before. The ultimate goal may be, for example, to be able to exercise again without fear of urine leakage.”

These muscles cannot be seen from the outside. That is why, according to the physiotherapist, it is important to first find this through correct information and tips from the pelvic physiotherapist. You then learn to feel the pelvic floor muscles and then improve their strength and timing. This can be done from home: “If you want to tighten your pelvic floor properly, you have to pull the muscles between your vagina and your anus towards your nose and hold them. With this trick you can often prevent urine leakage.”

A taboo on urine loss

Urinary leakage is nothing to be ashamed of, says the physiotherapist. Yet he sees that there is a taboo surrounding this problem. “When you think about peeing in your pants, people often think it is something that only happens to small children.”

“For example, many people are afraid that they will lose urine during sex. It feels bad when that happens unexpectedly. Involuntary loss of urine can affect your enjoyment of sports, work or other daily activities. Because it limits their lives, people can feel insecure and unhappy, and become socially isolated.”

Pelvic complaints and incontinence problems can also have physical consequences. “If you continue with it, you are more vulnerable to infections, because it makes your underpants warm and moist more quickly.”

No longer incontinent

According to the physiotherapist, the problem can be easily tackled. Pelvic physiotherapy has sufficient effect, and incontinence is included in the basic insurance. “Yet many new mothers continue to deal with this for years and think that it is part of having a child. Or whether it is simply necessary to wear panty liners as you get older. But that is not it. A lot can be done with professional help.”

The pelvic physio has also helped Jeanetty to get rid of her urine loss. “Because I caught it early and received good advice, I am no longer incontinent. Now I only have to visit once a month for maintenance. It helped me enormously.”