There is help for incontinence
Incontinence, otherwise known as “leaky bladder”, is the driving force for a multi-billion-dollar adult diaper industry here in the United States. It is also one of the main factors resulting in a person being admitted to a skilled nursing facility for long-term care.
Risk factors for incontinence
Urinary or fecal leakage is not a normal aging process, as many people believe. The following increase your risk for incontinence:
- weakening of the pelvic floor muscles
- loss of the prostate in men
- vaginal births in women
- years of bad toileting habits, or
- pelvic organ prolapse
Incontinence can often be treated with conservative therapies which can postpone and even prevent the need for invasive or surgical procedures
Stress incontinence is urine leakage provoked by a “stress”, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or doing Zumba with the girlfriends. It is well-established in the research that physical therapy should be the first line of treatment for stress urinary incontinence.
Urge incontinence is urine leakage that is associated by an urge to empty your bladder; for example, you feel the need to pee, you trot off to the bathroom, only to have an accident just as you’re getting ready for the toilet. Urge incontinence is best treated initially with both physical therapy and medications designed to quiet the bladder muscle, or hormone therapy to decrease inflammation around the bladder.
Prostates and incontinence
Men with incontinence who also have an enlarged prostate would still benefit from physical therapy to improve coordination of the muscles that control the bladder. Men who have had their prostates removed will have variable luck with conservative therapy, but all post-prostatectomy patients should start exercises for their pelvic floor muscles as soon as allowed by their surgeon (better yet, they should start training before the surgery). Certainly if there is still leakage 3 months after surgery, the man should consult with a specialized physical therapist to see if his situation is appropriate for physical therapy.
At CoreBalance Therapy LLC, we have several therapists specially trained to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal causes of urinary incontinence.
- exercises for the muscles around the bladder and rectal openings
- biofeedback to improve the quality and awareness of the muscle contraction
- electrical stimulation to strengthen the muscle contraction or calm the bladder muscle
- special weights to further increase strength in the muscles
You should expect to spend at least 6 weeks doing your prescribed exercises for long-term changes in your incontinence to occur.