“Urinary incontinence” is a technical term for leaking urine by accident. Though it is common, it is never normal. It can occur throughout the liftspan, but particularly postpartum, post-menopause, and post-prostate surgery. Fortunately, urinary incontinence can be controlled and/or cured with the help of physical therapy. If you have been struggling with urinary incontinence and you are looking for help, contact FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers today to schedule an appointment.
Why am I experiencing urinary incontinence?
There are several reasons why someone may leak urine despite their control. Some short-term urinary incontinence may develop and disappear on its own due to a temporary condition, such as a urinary tract infection, vaginal infection, or constipation. Certain medications can even cause temporary bladder control problems that should clear up after use. However, if your urinary incontinence persists, it may be due to a larger underlying condition, such as:
- Weak bladder muscles
- Overactive bladder muscles
- Damaged bladder nerves, typically from diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s
- Blockage from an enlarged prostate
- Difficulty getting to the bathroom in time, due to diseases such as arthritis
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Benign prostate hyperplasia
- Damaged pelvic floor nerves, due to injury or surgery, such as prostate removal
In addition to the different ways in which urinary incontinence can be caused, there are also different types of urinary incontinence that can occur. The different types of urinary incontinence include:
- Stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is caused when one experiences a urine leak due to due to pressure on the bladder. For example, stress incontinence can occur when exercising, lifting heavy objects, laughing, coughing, or sneezing. This is the most common type of bladder control problem in younger to middle-aged women, and it may occur around the time of menopause.
- Urge incontinence. Urge incontinence is caused when there is a sudden and emergent need to urinate. Someone experiencing urge incontinence may not have enough time to make it to the toilet before leakage occurs. This type of bladder control problems is usually a result of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
- Overflow incontinence. Overflow incontinence is caused by a bladder that is always full, thus causing leakage to occur. For example, if a man has an enlarged prostate that is blocking his urethra, it can be difficult to empty the bladder. Other conditions, such as diabetes and spinal cord injuries, can also cause this type of bladder control problem.
- Functional incontinence. Functional incontinence is caused when people have a condition that makes it hard to move to the bathroom quickly enough before leakage occurs. People with functional incontinence actually have normal bladder control; however, they have an alternative condition (such as arthritis) that makes it difficult to move and thus results in leakage if they cannot make it to the toilet in time.
If you are experiencing persistent urinary incontinence that has been occurring for several weeks or months, contact our Dakota Dunes office as soon as possible to seek help.
How will physical therapy help with my urinary incontinence?
At FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers, we know that living with urinary incontinence can be limiting - and even embarrassing at times, especially when it occurs during a social setting. Our Dakota Dunes physical therapists are dedicated to improving your pelvic health, quality of life, and socialization, so you can get back to living your very best life.
When you arrive for your initial consultation, one of our physical therapists will perform a physical examination to determine the strength of your pelvic floor. Your physical exam, along with an evaluation of your medical history and discussion of your symptoms, will help in determining the best route for your treatment plan. Typical treatments for those struggling with urinary incontinence typically includes:
- Increasing strength, stability, and endurance of the core, transverse abdominals, hip muscles, and pelvic floor.
- Increasing synergy and pattern of muscle firing between the pelvic floor and core.
- The use of biofeedback for pelvic floor training and re-education.
- Performing strengthening exercises in functional and dynamic positions.
- Improving posture/positions.
- Modifying diet.
- Keeping a bladder diary and log.
- Participating in an exercising/walking/mobility program.
- Participating in functional activities.
- Participating in a home exercise program and instruction.
Helpful bladder tips:
- Stay hydrated! Drink at least 4-8 8-oz. glasses of fluid per day. At least half of that should be water.
- Limit caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, tea, and sodas, as these increase urination.
- Limit fluids 3 hours before bed.
- Keeping pathways to the bathroom clear and the bathroom itself clutter-free to allow for easy access.
- Make sure to keep the bathroom light on at all times to improve safety with toileting in the night.
If you, or someone you are caring for, are struggling with urinary incontinence and you are looking for help, contact us at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers today to schedule an appointment. We will get you started on the path toward urinary control and relief!