Balance, Falls & Urinary Incontinence!

Reference:Smith MD, et al Is balance different in women with and without stress urinary incontinence? Neurourol Urodyn. 2008;27(1):71-8.

Reduced balance has been linked to falls, but is reduced bladder control also linked o falls?

This study looked at balance in women with and without stress incontinence. The subjects were tested on a force plate during various static balance conditions with eyes open and closed. EMG activity of the pelvic floor, abdominal, and erector spinae muscles were also recorded.

Really Surprising Results: Women with incontinence had significantly reduced balance.

When the women were asked to drink water until their bladder was moderately full, they all had significantly reduced balance and increased trunk muscle EMG.

Study Conclusion: Women with urinary incontinence have reduced balance compared to continent women.

Study Conclusion #2: All women with a moderately full bladder have reduced balance compared to when they have an empty bladder.

Clinical Relevance: Why? The pelvic floor muscles have many functions, but two of them are:

i) postural control ii) bladder control.

It is hypothesized that in women with incontinence and a full bladder, the increased activity of the pelvic floor “over-works” them, and takes away from their functional role in stability!

Clinical Relevance #2: If a patient has osteoporosis and reports of incontinence, as strange as it sounds, evaluation and training of the pelvic floor muscles may not only help the incontinence, it may even help prevent falls!

Posted on: July 02, 2010

Categories: SI & Pelvis

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