By Sandy Cope, Physical Therapist
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital
Urinary incontinence, or involuntary loss of bladder control, is experienced by fifty to sixty percent of individuals at some point in their lives. This condition affects men and women alike and is most prevalent in women who are three to six months postpartum, individuals who are experiencing back pain or have had back, pelvic or abdominal surgeries, and men and women over the age of 50.
Urinary incontinence is a debilitating condition that can leave individuals feeling socially isolated. Many people wrongly assume that urinary incontinence is normal for their condition. Even if an individual has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, organ prolapsed, stroke, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease, urinary incontinence is often treatable.
The most common types of urinary incontinence include:
- Stress incontinence - the loss of urine when you exert pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy. Stress incontinence occurs when the sphincter muscle of the bladder is weakened.
- Urge incontinence - a sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine. With urge incontinence, you may need to urinate frequently, including throughout the night. If there is no known cause, urge incontinence is also called overactive bladder.
- Mixed incontinence - a combination of stress and urge incontinence symptoms.
Conservative treatment options are available for the treatment of urinary incontinence. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), proper preventive measures and treatment by a physical therapist can help patients manage, if not alleviate, this condition.
A trained physical therapist is able to develop an individualized treatment program for each patient. Treatment may include exercises to strengthen and re-educate pelvic muscles as well as nutrition and lifestyle education to optimize bladder health.
For more information on physical therapy treatments available for urinary incontinence call (605) 668-8268.
Sandy Cope, physical therapist at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, has completed coursework and training in the rehabilitation of pelvic muscle dysfunction, including treatment and management of urinary incontinence and bowel control, pregnancy and postpartum therapy, and neurological disorders affecting body movement and function.
American Physical Therapy Association (www.apta.org)
Phoenix Core Solutions (www.phoenixcore.com)
Mayo Clinic Online (www.mayoclinic.com)