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What Is Functional Urinary Incontinence?

Picture this: You’re out with friends, having a great time, sharing laughter, and enjoying yourself.

Suddenly, a burst of laughter sends you rushing to the restroom, leaving you feeling embarrassed and self-conscious.

Sound familiar?

If this scenario strikes a chord with you, you’re not alone. Many women experience moments like these, moments that can shatter their confidence and disrupt their lives.

We’re here to talk about Functional Urinary Incontinence—a condition that affects countless women and explore how understanding, identifying the signs, and seeking physical therapy can set you free from the shackles of embarrassment.

Understanding Functional Urinary Incontinence

Functional Urinary Incontinence, often abbreviated as FUI, is a type of urinary incontinence characterized by the involuntary leakage of urine due to factors unrelated to problems with the urinary system itself.

Unlike other forms of incontinence, FUI is not primarily caused by issues with the bladder or pelvic muscles but is often linked to external factors or underlying medical conditions that impact a person’s ability to control their bladder function.

Functional incontinence typically occurs when a person faces physical or cognitive challenges that make it difficult for them to reach the restroom in a timely manner.

Mobility issues or cognitive impairments, for example.

In essence, FUI is not a direct result of weakened pelvic muscles or bladder dysfunction but a consequence of external factors that hinder a person’s ability to respond to their body’s signals for the need to urinate.

Signs You Are Suffering From Functional Urinary Incontinence

Understanding whether you’re dealing with Functional Urinary Incontinence is the first step toward finding relief. Here are some signs to look out for:

Urgency and Frequency

Do you often feel the sudden urge to urinate, even when your bladder isn’t full?

Frequent trips to the restroom can be a sign of Functional Urinary Incontinence.

Leakage During Activities

Does the thought of laughter cause you anxiety these days?

As mentioned earlier, leaks can occur during laughter, sneezing, coughing, or even physical activities like exercising. These incidents can be emotionally distressing and affect your self-esteem.


Frequent nighttime awakenings to urinate can disrupt your sleep patterns and leave you feeling fatigued during the day.

Try and track when you fall asleep, and when you wake up.

This will help you to spot any problems and any patterns with your routine.

Difficulty Emptying Your Bladder

Do you sometimes need a wee so badly, and then struggle once you’re there?

Functional Urinary Incontinence may also manifest as difficulty in fully emptying your bladder during urination, leading to persistent discomfort.

Sudden, Uncontrollable Urges

Experiencing sudden, uncontrollable urges to urinate that make it challenging to reach the restroom in time is another telltale sign of functional urinary incontinence.

Stop rushing to the restroom!

It won’t help the situation.

How Physical Therapy Can Relieve Functional Urinary Incontinence

Pelvic Floor Exercises

One of the most effective ways to combat Functional Urinary Incontinence is through pelvic floor exercises.

These exercises specifically target the muscles that support the bladder and urethra.

A weakened pelvic floor can contribute to incontinence, but with consistent strengthening, you can achieve significant relief.

Lifestyle Changes

Certain dietary choices and maintaining a healthy weight play a crucial role in managing incontinence.

Avoid bladder irritants like caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners.

Incorporate nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, lean proteins, berries, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes into your diet to support bladder health.

Bladder Training

Bladder training is a systematic approach to retraining your bladder to increase the intervals between sensations of needing to urinate and the actual act of urination.

This method involves setting fixed bathroom visit times, regardless of immediate urges, and gradually extending these intervals over time.

Tip: Patience is key when practicing bladder training. Celebrate small wins, such as successfully extending bathroom intervals by an additional 15 minutes, as they build motivation

Download Our Free Expert Report

Are you sick of the embarrassment of leaking when you cough, sneeze, or laugh? Don’t worry. Our expert physical therapist Dr. Casey Murphy is here to the rescue!

It’s not uncommon to think “I’ve had babies, I need to live with this now” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. COMMON does not mean NORMAL.

Read our expert report Top 5 Secrets To End Embarrassing Leaking.

Imagine the feeling of empowerment when you wave goodbye to incontinence WITHOUT SURGERY.

Fix Your Incontinence Without Surgery with Empower PT & Pilates

Does a sudden laugh or unexpected sneeze send you rushing to the restroom?

Incontinence can be more than just a physical challenge; it can impact your confidence, freedom, and overall quality of life.

Are you sick of temporary “fixes” that don’t address the root of the problem? It’s time to seek genuine solutions to manage and potentially overcome incontinence, restoring your confidence and peace of mind.

Empower PT & Pilates offers an Incontinence Assessment, which provides an opportunity to discuss your experiences, understand the underlying issues, and chart out a personalized treatment plan.

We’re here to assist and guide you. Reach out to our Arvada location today to Contact our team or schedule a (Free!) Incontinence Assessment so we can begin looking at different treatment plans for the pain you are experiencing.

Don’t let incontinence hold you back. Join the many who have reclaimed their lives with our guidance.

See you soon,

Dr. Casey

Other Free Resources…

Read our blog – Is Urinary Incontinence A Normal Sign Of Aging?

Read our blog – 6 Exercises To Help Treat Incontinence

Check us out on social media – Empower PT + Pilates Facebook / Empower PT + Pilates Instagram