Urinary Incontinence: How Physical Therapy can help - 16 Apr 2018
Urinary Incontinence: How Physical Therapy can help
What is urinary incontinence?
The Mayo Clinic defines incontinence as the loss of bladder control. This is very common after giving birth, abdominal surgery or from poor postural habits over time.
Some types of incontinence
- Stress – occurs during additional pressure from laughing, sneezing, jumping, or exercising.
- Urge – is a sudden urge to urinate, then loss of control. This is usually associated with an infection or diabetes.
- Overflow – this occurs when you do not empty your bladder completely.
- Functional – this is associated when you are unable to physically make it to the bathroom on time due to other pain or arthritis (i.e. knee pain)
Did you know?
Look at these statistics. Women are more likely to suffer from incontinence and are less likely to seek medical treatment.
- Of the 25 million adult Americans suffering from some form of urinary incontinence, 75-80% of those are women.
- On average, women wait 6.5 years from the first time they experience symptoms until they obtain a diagnosis for their bladder control problem
“I’ve had 3 kids, isn’t it normal to have some leakage?”
“Don’t all women have this problem after a certain age?”
These are a few common questions I have heard over the years as a Physical Therapist. It does not have to be this way!
How PT can help
The role of a Physical Therapist is to restore tone and muscle function of muscles in the body. The same applies to your pelvic floor musculature. As a therapist that focuses on Postural Restoration, a whole body assessment and functional movement assessment is needed for each client. This will help restore your pelvic alignment and decrease the stress demand on your pelvic floor muscles.
For example, after carrying and delivering a baby, a women’s body has gone through both the trauma of delivery and changes associated with growing a baby to term. These both will change the pelvis position and therefore the pelvic floor musculature creating imbalances.
Prevention is key!
Imagine avoiding some activities, modifying a laugh, worrying about being in public when you cough or sneeze. Incontinence can interfere with any or all aspects of your life and can limit your participation with your family and friends.
Without treatment behaviors of avoiding people and places because of the worry of incontinence becomes overwhelming and can lead to a decrease in activities, less physical fitness, decrease your quality of life and ultimately lead to depression.
Addressing these pelvic floor disorders sooner may benefit millions. If you are experiencing any incontinence issues you should seek out a Physical Therapist to start your treatment today.
Deanna Elliott, PT, DPT