Urinary incontinence refers to the involuntary leakage of urine with activities. It can be caused by various factors, such as weak pelvic floor muscles, hormonal changes, childbirth, or certain medical conditions. Physical therapy can play a significant role in managing urinary incontinence and improving bladder control. Here’s how physical therapy can help:
- Pelvic floor muscle training: Physical therapists specializing in pelvic health can assess the strength, coordination, and endurance of your pelvic floor muscles. They can provide specific exercises to strengthen these muscles, known as pelvic floor muscle training or Kegel exercises. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can improve urinary control and reduce episodes of leakage.
- Biofeedback and electrical stimulation: Physical therapists may use biofeedback techniques or electrical stimulation to help you gain awareness and control over your pelvic floor muscles. Biofeedback involves using sensors to provide visual or auditory feedback on muscle activity, helping you learn how to properly engage and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Electrical stimulation uses low-level electrical currents to stimulate the muscles, promoting muscle activation and strengthening.
- Bladder training: Physical therapists can guide you through bladder training techniques to help improve bladder control and reduce urinary urgency and frequency. This involves gradually increasing the time between bathroom visits and learning strategies to delay voiding.
- Fluid and dietary management: Physical therapists can provide guidance on fluid intake and dietary modifications that may help manage urinary incontinence. They can advise on appropriate fluid intake to avoid overfilling the bladder while ensuring adequate hydration. They may also provide recommendations regarding foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder and worsen symptoms.
- Education and behavioral modifications: Physical therapists can provide education on healthy bladder habits, such as proper voiding techniques, avoiding excessive straining, and maintaining regular bathroom schedules. They may also offer guidance on lifestyle modifications, such as managing constipation, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding activities or habits that put excess pressure on the pelvic floor muscles.
- Functional exercises and movement strategies: Physical therapists can assess your movement patterns, such as lifting techniques or body mechanics during daily activities, and provide guidance on proper movement strategies to reduce stress on the pelvic floor and improve bladder control.
Our skilled team of pelvic floor physical therapists will perform a thorough evaluation to identify areas of impairment that are contributing to your symptoms. Following the exam, your physical therapist will work with you to create a plan of care that best suits your personal goals and needs.