You’re in a store, trying to get your grocery shopping done or shop for a new outfit, and all of a sudden, you have to go. You look around desperately trying to spot a restroom, and when you see one, you speed up your pace and head straight for it, hoping it’s not too obvious that you’re having problems holding your bladder.
You might have been in this situation before, so you know how frustrating it can be to have to put parts of your day on hold to rush to a bathroom. This issue is referred to as “urinary incontinence.”
Urinary incontinence is the technical term for leaking urine without meaning to. It is a common condition in the older population, but it can happen throughout the lifespan for several reasons. It is important to note that although it is common, it most definitely is not normal, and should not be accepted as such in your everyday routine.
The good news is that pelvic floor physical therapy can dramatically improve your symptoms and condition! If you think you’re dealing with urinary incontinence, contact our office today for more information.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
There are several reasons why you might be experiencing urinary incontinence. Symptoms could be related to infections in the urinary tract, an upper respiratory illness that includes a cough, or even constipation. If this is the case, leaking tends to be a short-term problem you can manage at home, that eventually disappears on its own once the underlying issue is cleared up.
Certain medications you are prescribed may even cause temporary bladder control problems. A few more common causes of urinary incontinence are due to pregnancy, surgery, childbirth, or menopause.
However, if you haven’t experienced any of the above situations, your urinary incontinence may be persisting. This could be due to a larger underlying condition.
Below are some of the most common underlying problems that bring patients into our office for pelvic floor rehabilitation:
- Stress on pelvic floor muscles during pregnancy
- Weakened pelvic floor muscles (especially postpartum)
- Overactive bladder muscles
- Tight pelvic floor muscles
- Damaged bladder nerves (caused by diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s)
- Damaged pelvic floor nerves (caused by childbirth, injury, or surgery)
- Difficulty getting to the bathroom in time, due to conditions such as arthritis
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Blockage from an enlarged prostate
Pregnancy is one of the most common causes of urinary incontinence. Oftentimes, patients develop weak or strained muscles, and/or connective tissue damage in their pelvic floor after giving birth. Pelvic floor rehabilitation helps in reducing pain, in addition to strengthening any damaged muscles or tissues. It’s a good idea to see a physical therapist both during and after your pregnancy, as it can assist with a smooth recovery after your baby is born.
Luckily, you don’t have to deal with any of these problems on your own. A pelvic floor physical therapist may be able to help you regain normal function in your pelvic region.
How Can Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Help?
Your pelvic floor muscles work to support your abdominal contents (specifically the rectum, bladder, and uterus), allow for urination and defecation, prevent leakage of urine or stool when not desired. These muscles also help to stabilize the pelvis, working with your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and diaphragm. When these muscles are too weak or too tight, urinary incontinence can be the result, and you may need pelvic floor rehabilitation.
When you arrive at our office, your physical therapist will evaluate your medical history and ask you a series of questions regarding urinary frequency. He or she will perform a physical evaluation that includes watching you walk, squat, bend over, and breathe, all to observe for any mobility deficits, muscle imbalances, or postural dysfunction. Strength, endurance, flexibility, and motor control of the pelvic floor muscles will also be evaluated to help in determining the best route for your treatment plan.
Typical treatments for those dealing with urinary incontinence typically include:
- Participating in functional activities.
- Participating in a home exercise program and instruction
- Ultrasound therapy
- Increasing endurance of the core, strength, and stability in hip muscles and pelvic floor
- The use of biofeedback for pelvic floor training
- Performing strengthening exercises
- Improving posture/positions
- Keeping a bladder diary and log for review at future appointments
- Participating in an exercising/mobility program.
Contact Our Office Today
Say goodbye to making a mad dash to the bathroom, and hello to living your life again. If you are struggling with urinary incontinence and you are looking for help, contact Protouch Physical Therapy to schedule your first appointment. One of our skilled pelvic physical therapists will get you started on the path toward urinary control and relief!