More than 200 million people live with urinary incontinence, which can have a negative impact on quality of life. Individuals who suffer from this condition may experience bladder leakage, a strong urge to urinate, painful urination or incomplete emptying of their bladders.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Physical therapy can provide significant improvement in symptoms caused by urinary incontinence. The first line of therapy is pelvic floor muscle training.
The pelvic floor consists of muscles, ligaments, tissues and nerves that act like a hammock to provide support for the bladder. When the pelvic floor is weak, the bladder is unable to function as well as it should.
A normally functioning pelvic floor can help with core strength and stability to allow for better bladder control. This can help prevent as well as relieve the symptoms of urinary incontinence.
There are many myths about urinary incontinence that may discourage both men and women from getting the help they need. Here are some myth-busting facts:
Myth: Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse are “normal” as we age.
Truth: Any leakage is too much leakage.
Myth: Reducing fluids reduces urinary incontinence.
Truth: Reducing fluids leads to frequent, concentrated urine, which irritates the bladder and causes worsening symptoms of urinary incontinence.
Myth: Surgery is necessary to treat urinary incontinence.
Truth: Physical therapy can provide significant improvement in symptoms, along with dietary and behavioral changes.
Myth: Delaying going to the bathroom helps strengthen the pelvic floor.
Truth: This can overstretch the bladder, leading to a flaccid bladder that no longer functions properly.
For anyone who lives with urinary incontinence, I recommend seeking medical treatment. Physical therapy truly can provide a life-changing difference for many. QCBN
By Jessica Baugh, PT, DPT
Jessica Baugh, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist at Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital.
Mountain Valley Regional Rehabilitation Hospital is a 44-bed, free-standing rehabilitation hospital that provides intensive physical rehabilitation services to patients recovering from strokes, brain and spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, and other disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses, or chronic conditions. The hospital is consistently ranked in the top 10 percent of inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationally by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR).
For more information, visit MVRRH.ernesthealth.com.
3700 N. Windsong Drive • Prescott Valley, AZ 86314 • 928-758-8800 • www.mvrrh.ernesthealth.com