This refers to the loss of bladder and bowel control, resulting in involuntary leakage of urine or faeces primarily due to weakness of the pelvic floor musculature (pelvic muscles). Weakness of the muscles leads to a loss of support and control of the bladder and bowels and thus patients are unable to voluntarily open or close the openings, to leakage of content. This leakage becomes even more of a problem with physical stress (coughing, sneezing, and laughing) or when the bladder or bowel is full. In addition, muscular dysfunction leads to a problem of urgency, i.e., involuntary emptying whenever the sensation of urge is felt.
Both conditions are commonly seen after surgical procedures on organs in the pelvic cavity, pregnancy and child birth. These conditions respond successfully to remediation using several rehabilitation techniques such as functional electrical stimulation, biofeedback and others.