Physical Therapy for Women with Urinary Incontinence
Many women who have “accidents” are so embarrassed they don’t even talk to their doctor. Ads for adult diapers, medication for overactive bladder and surgical interventions may be commonplace, but physical therapy for the pelvic floor is not as well-known by patients or physicians. According to Carol Walters, PT, “At OCH Physical Therapy, we want women to understand that non-surgical help is available”.
Loss of bladder control is a common complication from childbirth or other trauma, chronic constipation or aging and is caused by weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. When incontinence is related to muscle dysfunction, physical therapy can help with:
- *Stress incontinence: patients leak urine when coughing, laughing, sneezing or lifting heavy objects. Therapy includes specific exercises and biofeedback to improve pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. Many women may benefit from electrical muscle stimulation to improve the pelvic floor muscle function.
- *Urge incontinence: patients with this condition experience a frequent, strong urge to urinate and often are unable to reach a bathroom before leaking. This problem involves additional therapy interventions such as bladder training in addition to muscle exercises and biofeedback.
- *Urinary retention: These patients have the urge to urinate, but either cannot or only a small amount of urine passes. Physical therapy for this condition involves many of the aforementioned treatments.
Any women with these problems should first contact her physician to rule out or treat underlying medical causes, such as urinary tract or bladder infections. A physician’s referral is necessary to initiate physical therapy.
For more information, contact OCH Rehabilitation Services at (662) 615-3020