The Truth about Giggle Incontinence: It’s not so funny….

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The Truth about Giggle Incontinence: It’s not so funny….

Author:  Terri Nishimoto PT, CLT,PRPC

November is Bladder Awareness Month, we have already talked about incontinence and aging, but this month we will talk about a type of incontinence that strikes younger people.        

What is giggle incontinence?

Giggle incontinence is defined as an involuntary release of urine that is not associated with typical stress urinary incontinence.The cause is not clear.  It is thought of as a form of an overactive bladder, and the incontinence is connected with a trigger of a strong emotion.  It is most commonly seen in young females from 7-14 years of age.

Losing partial or complete control of the bladder during such social situations can be very distressing and embarrassing.  Some may even avoid social interactions due to fear of leakage.  There is treatment, and there is help.

Treatment for giggle incontinence:

Pharmacology approach:

There are medications that can be tried for these patients.  These medications do have side effects such as dizziness and anxiety.  Therefore a more conservative approach is often preferred.

Physical Therapy approach:

The conservative approach, of course, is the expert treatment that we offer at N2 Physical Therapy.  

There are no side effects, and treatment can be very effective.

  1. Reassurance:  Of utmost importance is that the patient be reassured that this is not his or her fault,
  2. Bladder Diary:  A bladder diary is a journal of what the patient eats and drinks (what kind and how much).  This may identify if the patient is sensitive to certain bladder irritants such as caffeine, or acidic fruit juices.  Water intake is important to evaluate; too much intake can overload the bladder, and not enough can concentrate the urine either way, both be irritating to the bladder.
  3. Bowel management:  Constipation is actually a very common condition in children, and it is well documented that constipation is linked to both urinary and fecal incontinence.   Teaching children good dietary choices, toileting positions, proper pushing technique and adequate hydration can be of great help with urinary incontinence including giggle incontinence.  Please also see our previous blog on constipation.
  4. Pelvic floor biofeedback:  Biofeedback utilizes sensors that can read the activity of the pelvic floor muscles.  We often tell our patients that we will be “playing a game on the computer” to show us how the pelvic muscles are working.  How they contract, and just as importantly how they relax.  Learning how to  identify and connect to these muscles is very beneficial for both bowel and bladder function

N2 has physical therapists at all of our locations that have been trained in pediatric pelvic floor physical therapy.  Please see Juliana Remer’s blog for more details.  Or give us a call and one of our specialized PTs will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.  



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About the Author:

Co-founder of N2 Physical Therapy, Terri received her Physical Therapy Degree from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Terri brings a diverse background in neurological, orthopedic and sports medicine physical therapy to her practice, and has expanded her focus to include pelvic floor rehabilitation, perinatal and oncology physical therapy. Terri holds certifications in the Feldenkrais Method, Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Trigger Point Dry Needling.