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Do you leak when you laugh

21 June 2018 Blog
Rehabilitation Womens health
As part of our activities for National Continence Week Senior Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Muirna Hamill discusses common myths on continence, why leaks are no laughing matter and can not only be helped but cured.


About one in four Australians are incontinent and one in five leak when they laugh however children and adults do not need to put up with incontinence.

Unfortunately, there are a number of common misconceptions in the community about incontinence. Below are some myth busting tips.

Myth 1: Fluid restriction and waking your child during the night helps stop bed wetting.

Your antidiuretic hormone (ADH) regulates fluid output overnight so restricting fluid before bed is ineffective as your ADH will do this job anyway.

You should change fluid intake only if 75 per cent of your child’s fluid is consumed in the second half of the day.

Waking a child in the middle of the night for a toilet trip may seem effective initially, but long term it does not lead to lasting continence.

Ultimately, the child’s bladder needs to communicate with the child’s brain and set up the feedback loop of waking the child when the bladder reaches full capacity which can be achieved with bed alarms.

A child can only commence bed-wetting training successfully when they are fully dry during the day and have no constipation.

Myth 2: Pelvic floor exercises are all you need to stop leaking.

Leaking of urine can be for many reasons. In menopausal women who lack oestrogen, a cream prescribed from a general practitioner may help.

Some women have overflow incontinence, which needs to be regulated with regular voiding, double voiding or self-catheterising.

Some women experience leakage caused by bladder irritability and require medication and bladder calming techniques to reduce urgency.

Women who experience leakage in response to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, eg; coughing, jumping or laughing can benefit from pelvic floor exercises.

However, some may have an overactive pelvic floor and exercising pelvic floor can actually make it worse!

Often pelvic floor exercises are not enough if a woman has other risk factors, such as constipation, inappropriate exercise, heavy physical work and obesity.

A multidisciplinary approach may be required, including a GP, specialist, continence nurse, dietitian and physiotherapist to achieve success.

Getting help

Please speak to your GP for more information or to find out more information.

In addition, St John of God Midland Private Hospital provides a range of continence services. To find out more please contact (08) 9462 4281. 

Muirna Hamill - Senior Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Muirna Hamill is a senior pelvic floor physiotherapist and specialises in continence and women’s health. She works with the continence team at St John of God Midland Public Hospital. She is also the Chair of the Australian Physiotherapy Association Women’s Health and Continence Committee.
Muirna Hamill Senior Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist