Incontinence is described as the loss of bladder control resulting in decrease in the body’s ability to hold its urine. Thirteen million Americans age 15-64 have some type of incontinence problem. It is not something that just occurs to individuals who are inactive, out of shape or elderly. Various studies show a significant number of athletes with this problem. The idea that nothing can be done for a leaking problem is not true.
Assessment by a physical therapist can include the following:
- Identification of the type of Incontinence – Most common – Stress, Urge or Mixed
- Strength testing
- Motion – specifically through hips and pelvic girdle
- Soft tissue mobilization
Treatment may include the following:
- Exercises to help strengthen the pelvic floor and muscles that support the bladder and stop the flow of urine for stress incontinence.
- Includes Kegel exercises
- ROM stretching of hips and back.
- Strengthening of core musculature.
- Relaxation exercises and bladder retraining strategies for urge incontinence.
- Use of computer program that uses biofeedback via visual cues.
- Use of electrical stimulation to improve muscle recruitment.
- Help educate patient on foods or beverages that may irritate the bladder.
An individual may change behaviors to accommodate the leaking problem as they may have fear of a major accident with friends or in public. Very often this leads to lower self esteem and that person is less likely to go out. Our goal is to help the patient to resume a normal healthy lifestyle.