Latchkey Incontinence; Why Does it Happen? Part 2

In Female Interstitial Cystitis / Painful Bladder Syndrome, Male Interstitial Cystitis / Nonbacterial Chronic Prostatitis / Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, pelvic floor physical therapy, Pelvic Health by Molly Bachmann1 Comment

By Molly Bachmann PT, DPT, Birth Doula, PHRC San Francisco 


How does your brain know when it is time to empty the bladder? As the bladder begins to fill with liquid, receptors within the walls of the bladder perceive stretch.

When the receptors perceive that the bladder is full with about two cups of fluid, the detrusor muscle (the bladder muscle) squeezes a little and a signal is sent to the brain saying “Hey over there! It’s time to walk to the bathroom!”

When you sit or stand at the toilet, the detrusor muscle squeezes and the pelvic floor muscles relax allowing the liquid to escape your body. The tricky part occurs when the detrusor muscle either squeezes when the bladder isn’t actually full enough, usually when a trigger is present. Sometimes this can result in urinary leakage or a “near miss.”

This is what some might call an “overactive bladder” or “Latchkey incontinence.”


latchkey pt2

causes of latchkey pt1

Unfortunately there are a handful of causes and contributing factors to Latchkey incontinence such as:


  • Conditioning of the bladder to eliminate when not physiologically full enough (i.e. “the just in case pee”)
  • Not varying your routine, i.e. “do you always urinate right when you get home even if you don’t feel the urge?”
  • Changes to the pelvic floor muscle function i.e. loss of strength or loss of coordination
  • Stress and anxiety are bladder irritants


causes of latchkey pt 2

More contributing factors can also include:

  • Uncontrolled or unmanaged constipation
  • Hormonal changes due to perimenopause
  • Prostatectomy
  • Bladder injury or nerve injury
  • Chronic conditions such as Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis

It’s never fun having to run inside top speed after parking the car. Or wearing that extra liner ‘just in case.’ We want you to know that you aren’t alone; there is help out there! 



Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England?  We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!


Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.

In addition to virtual consultation with our physical therapists, we also offer integrative health services with Jandra Mueller, DPT, MS. Jandra is a pelvic floor physical therapist who also has her Master’s degree in Integrative Health and Nutrition. She offers services such as hormone testing via the DUTCH test, comprehensive stool testing for gastrointestinal health concerns, and integrative health coaching and meal planning. For more information about her services and to schedule, please visit our Integrative Health website page

Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page

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  1. Can I just now say such a relief to get somebody who really knows what theyre discussing on-line. You definitely learn how to bring a difficulty to light and produce it critical.

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