If your life feels limited by urinary incontinence,
physical therapy can help
By Aleisha Theisen, PTA, NBC-HWC
Are you afraid to go to that HIIT class because you fear you might have a bladder accident when it’s time for jump squats? Or maybe you’re hesitant to say “yes” to that long-awaited European vacation because you’re worried about finding a bathroom when urinary urgency flares up.
You’re in good company: According to the National Institutes of Health, one in four women in the U.S. have dealt with a pelvic floor disorder. Pelvic floor issues have existed as long as humans have, but that doesn’t mean they always got the attention they deserve. Fortunately, in recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of women's health and the role that pelvic floor physical therapy plays in maintaining overall well-being.
At FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers of Forest Grove, treating incontinence in women is one of the specialized services we offer. Our physical therapist will take the time to get to know your specific struggles and help you address the problem directly so you don’t have to continue to limit your lifestyle.
What is the pelvic floor, anyway?
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specialty that focuses on the muscles, ligaments, nerves and connective tissues in the pelvic region. This “floor” stretches from the pubic bone to the tailbone, and when it’s strong and healthy, it supports the bladder, uterus, and rectum. When it’s not functioning properly, people can suffer from urinary incontinence.
Many women experience leakage or a frequent urge to urinate, especially after giving birth. Other factors can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to incontinence, including:
- Weight changes
- The reduction of estrogen during menopause
- Dietary bladder irritants like alcohol, acidic foods and caffeine
- Prolonged coughing
- Frequent straining on the toilet
- Pelvic surgery
One of the key benefits of pelvic floor physical therapy is its ability to improve urinary incontinence. Specialized exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control.
What does pelvic health care look like?
Here’s what you can expect if you see our team at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers-Forest Grove for incontinence treatment:
- A physical therapist with specialized training will assess the strength and function of your pelvic floor muscles.
- They will provide education on your condition and guide you in making lifestyle changes that will help you restore the power of your pelvic floor.
- They might teach you how to calm your nervous system and use diaphragmatic breathing and core recruitment to support your pelvic floor.
- Instruction in posture and body mechanics could also be included in your care plan.
- Your PT might use manual therapy and biofeedback techniques.
- They might give you a home program of exercises that can effectively strengthen the pelvic floor and improve bladder control.
It's important to note that pelvic floor physical therapy is not just for women who have already experienced issues. Regular pelvic floor exercises can also be used to maintain pelvic floor health and strength, improve circulation, and reduce the risk of developing incontinence issues later in life.
What would these exercises look like? Your physical therapist will create a custom program for your body and individual needs, but the exercises often include:
- Breathing techniques
We’re here to help at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers-Forest Grove
Pelvic floor physical therapy is a valuable and effective treatment option for urinary incontinence. It can provide relief and improve your quality of life. Additionally, incorporating pelvic floor exercises into your routine can help prevent future issues and maintain optimal health. So, don't hesitate to reach out to our qualified physical therapists at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers-Forest Grove and take control of your well-being today. Call 503-357-1706 to schedule your evaluation.
Find out more about our pelvic health services here.
Disclaimer: This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Aleisha Theisen is a physical therapist assistant and a nationally certified health and wellness coach.
National Institutes of Health. 2008 September 17. Roughly One Quarter of U.S. Women Affected by Pelvic Floor Disorder; Weakened Pelvic Muscles May Result In Incontinence, Discomfort, Activity Limitation. Retrieved October 7, 2023 from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/roughly-one-quarter-us-women-affected-pelvic-floor-disorders.
Mayo Clinic. 2023 February 09. Diseases and Conditions: Urinary Incontinence. Retrieved October 7, 2023 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20352808.