Have you ever just leaked a little when a friend made you laugh? What about leaking just a little bit when you have had a cold and coughing or sneezing? Well there is an answer and no its not just doing kegels.
Every year, 25 million Americans and 200 million people worldwide are affected by incontinence or involuntary loss of bladder and bowel control. Up to 70% of women will experience leaking either during or after childbirth. Both men and women, young and old, may experience some form of incontinence that can make them feel ashamed and isolated.
There are a few different type of incontinence that can occur.
Stress urinary incontinence, which is the most common, is the involuntary loss of urine while laughing, coughing, lifting of objects, or any movement that increases pressure on the sphincter of the bladder. Urine leakage occurs due to weak pelvic floor muscles, tight posterior pelvic floor muscles that are compensating for the weakness, poor ligament support at the bladder outlet and urethra, or a defect in the urethral tube itself.
Urge urinary incontinence is urine leakage that occurs as soon as you get the urge to go to the bathroom. The sensation is overwhelming, and your bladder muscle, the detrusor muscle, contracts or tightens at the wrong time, which relaxes the urinary sphincter allowing leaking to occur.
Overflow urinary incontinence is when the bladder is so full that it leaks urine. The bladder does not empty properly, which leads to continuous leakage. With overflow incontinence, you don't necessarily feel the urge to urinate.
Fecal incontinence is the inability to control your bowels, allowing stool or gas to leak from the rectum. The severity of incontinence may vary from small amounts of stool leaking unexpectedly while passing gas, to complete loss of bowel control.
As you can see, pelvic floor weakness may only be a part of the problem. There are many causes of incontinence including bladder infection, obesity, pregnancy and childbirth, bladder cancer, chronic illness or cough, constipation/diarrhea, damage to the anal sphincter or nerve innervating that area, medications, urinary tract abnormalities, neuromuscular disorders, gastrointestinal problems, bladder stones, STRESS, caffeine, ciagarette smoking, hormonal changes and hysterectomy or other pelvic surgeries. So as you can see, looking at the full picture of what is contributing to the incontinence is important.
As a Women's Health Physical Therapist, these are things that I consider with every patient and most likely why my clients/patients are so successful. Yes, making sure the pelvic floor is strong is really important, but making sure the pelvic floor is balanced as well as the health of the individual physically and mentally is also very important. As a Women's Health Practitioner, I understand the hormonal and physical changes that occur during a woman's life span. I will be able to provide individualized treatment programs designed to work the best for your individual needs.
There are many ways physical therapy can help you regain control over your bladder and bowels. The focus of a physical therapy program in the treatment of incontinence is improving in pelvic floor muscle strength and balance. When your pelvic floor muscles are well balanced and stronger, you have better support for your bladder and pelvic areas and better ability to control bladder and bowel function. The program would include exercise to improve balance and strength of the pelvic floor, education, dietary modifications, instruction on posture and how the rest of the body can affect the pelvic floor, biofeedback and manual therapy.
You don't have to live with leaking! You don't have to live with wearing a panty liner every day and looking out for where the bathrooms are every time you go somewhere new! You don't have to be nervous about being in a social setting and nervous you are going to laugh and pee your pants. I can help you!
To learn more about the pelvic floor and how discovering your proper balance can help get rid of incontinence, please email Christina Trautman at firstname.lastname@example.org.