Why does your pelvic floor become weak?

Anyone at any age can develop some form of incontinence.

Some health conditions and life events can put you at an increased risk of developing either urinary or faecal incontinence.

Problems can occur when the muscles are stretched, weakened or overactive.

Sometimes people experience weakness from an early age.

Others notice problems after pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, gynaecological surgery or prostate surgery.

Still others have pelvic floor muscles that are overactive and they need to learn how to relax the muscles.

Even elite athletes such as gymnasts or runners can experience problems.

Additional factors that can increase your risk include:

  • underworking your pelvic floor muscles
  • overworking them
  • having a history of back pain
  • previous trauma to the pelvic region (such as a fall or radiotherapy)
  • ongoing constipation
  • a chronic cough or sneeze
  • being overweight
  • heavy lifting on a regular basis – either at work or at the gym
  • high impact exercise
  • age

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