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Urge Incontinence

Incontinence is more common that you might imagine.

Bladder and bowel incontinence is estimated to impact 1.1 million New Zealanders so if this issue is affecting you, you are far from alone.

However, because it is such a common issue, it is often considered a normal or inevitable consequence of ageing. It is not.

Incontinence can dominate your daily routine and impacts your quality of life.  Absorbent pads are an unsatisfactory, temporary way to manage. Treating the cause of the problem so that you are free to do what you enjoy, whenever you like is an actual solution.


Stress Incontinence

This is urinary leakage due to weakened pelvic floor muscles and tissues. It generally occurs when pressure on your bladder increases — such as when you exercise, laugh, sneeze, or cough.

Stress incontinence can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • being overweight or obese
  • taking certain medications, and/or
  • prostate surgery such as removal or TURP

Urge Incontinence

You have a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may need to urinate often, including throughout the night.

Urge incontinence can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • damage to the bladder’s nerves, or other parts of the nervous system
  • prostate gland enlargement
  • underlying medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and stroke
  • bladder problems, such as infections and bladder stones, and/or
  • taking certain medications

Mixed Urinary and Overflow Incontinence

Mixed Urinary Incontinence

This means you have a combination of stress and urge incontinence, so you will experience involuntary leakage with urgency and also with exertion, effort, sneezing, or coughing.

Overflow Incontinence

Leakage of urine because the bladder is failing to empty completely.   This can occur in men due to prostate enlargement.


Bowel Incontinence

Bowel (or faecal) incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements. Severity can range from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas, to a complete loss of bowel control.

Most adults who experience bowel incontinence only do so during an occasional bout of diarrhoea. However, some people have recurring or chronic faecal incontinence.

There are two typical types of incontinence:

  • urge incontinence: the inability to resist the urge to defecate, which is often associated with poor gut health and digestion, and
  • passive incontinence: a lack of awareness of the need to pass stool.

For an otherwise healthy person, faecal incontinence can cause significant emotional and psychological distress.

Whatever the cause, the important thing is to seek medical help. Treatments are available that can change your life.

Urge Incontinence

How we can help Incontinence

  • A thorough assessment of your pelvic floor to ascertain whether it is ‘under active and weak’ or ‘over active and fatigued’. Both can cause incontinence issues.
  • Scanning your bladder to check it is doing a good job of emptying
  • Teaching you how to use your pelvic floor correctly and how you can optimise its function and coordination
  • Empowering you with self help strategies and advice on changes you can make to improve your condition
Click through the tabs below for more information on treatment options

Pelvic Health Physio

Incontinence is not only an issue caused by the pelvic floor. To treat effectively we need to address and coordinate the whole system of bladder, bowel, pelvic floor, nervous system and sometimes even the gut and bladder microbiota (the balance and function of the microbes in your bladder and digestive systems)

Pelvic floor muscle training with a qualified pelvic health physiotherapist is a researched, first line medical recommendation for the management of incontinence. Our priority is to make sure you are using your pelvic floor correctly. Then we can empower you with how you can improve your strength and ability in functional ways at home and with appropriate exercise activities.

Read more about Pelvic Health PhysioCall for an appointment


PelviPower Magnetic Field Therapy (MFT) uses repetitive magnetic impulses to trigger comfortable but powerful contractions of the pelvic floor muscles and surrounding nerves.

With contractions much stronger than you can achieve yourself, the function, coordination and strength of the pelvic floor is improved.

We use this amazing therapy tool in different ways to address different kinds of incontinence.

We can use impulses at lower frequencies to address issues like urgency and higher frequencies to promote strength changes.

We are also able to focus the treatment stimulus to the front of the male pelvic floor for urinary incontinence or under the back passage for bowel incontinence.

PelviPower Biofeedback Training (BFT) increases the perception, coordination and control of your pelvic floor because you see the efforts of your training presented to you in real time on a computer screen in front of you.

There is no need to undress as you train in your every day clothes.

Read more about PelviPowerCall for an appointment

Real Time Ultrasound Biofeedback

Ultrasound scanning helps you learn how to contract your pelvic floor properly. Seeing your muscles move as you feel them contract is a very powerful training tool.

Also, we are able to scan your bladder volume to see if your bladder is completely emptying.  Without this tool, we would be guessing that we were giving you the right treatment and advice.

Read more about Real Time Ultrasound BiofeedbackCall for an appointment
What Are the Advantages of Treatment?


A systematic review of the research in 2016 concluded that “existing studies serve as a promising foundation to suggest a role for acupuncture in treating urgency, frequency and poor quality of life associated with OAB”

Electro Acupuncture to stimulate the posterior tibial nerve is a well studied protocol to reduce urgency and is also available in clinic.

Read more about AcupunctureCall for an appointment
Natural medicine

Natural Medicines and Nutrition

A balanced health plan designed for your specific needs, combining nutritional advice with evidence-based natural medicine, can help you to alleviate the drivers of incontinence such as bowel urgency, constipation and loose stools.

It is difficult not to overstate the importance of the role your intestinal microbiota (microbes) play in the maintenance of your health and function.

Some of its functions include:

  • The production of short chain fatty acids which in part improve gut motility and normalise transit time
  • The production of vitamins
  • Nutrient processing and digestion
  • Balancing immune and inflammatory response
  • Influencing your metabolism

Along with specific dietary recommendations, certain highly researched key species of bacteria assist in the restoration of healthy gut function.

Read more about Natural Medicines and NutritionCall for an appointment

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