Pelvic floor dysfunction and stress incontinence are often believed to be problems of new moms and older women, but this is a common misconception. Women and men of all ages, including children, can suffer from urinary incontinence and often don’t realize that they can seek treatment to reduce this issue.
The Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor is made up of a series of small muscles that run from pubic bone to tail bone and from hip to hip. These muscles are responsible for a variety of different functions which include preventing urine leakage. In order for these muscles to do their job, they need to have full range of motion, power, endurance and coordination. Without proper assessment it can be difficult to determine which aspect a dysfunctional pelvic floor is lacking.
Stress incontinence is the loss of urine during laughing, coughing, sneezing and exercise. It can even happen with change in position or lifting. The loss of urine can be small or large, but no matter the size, it can greatly affect quality of life.
Treating urinary stress incontinence is not just a matter of doing kegels. If the pelvic floor is not appropriately evaluated and treated, kegels can actually make symptoms worse. Many different factors have an effect on the pelvic floor. Certain high impact exercises can weaken the pelvic floor. Lifestyle and stress can cause the pelvic floor to become shortened. Simple things like limited access to bathrooms during a work day can impact the relationship between the bladder and pelvic floor.
A pelvic floor physical therapist looks at a variety of factors to determine how to best treat urinary stress incontinence. They will have you fill out a bladder diary to determine if something you eat or your toileting schedule is the culprit. They will look at your low back and hip range of motion, determine your core strength and examine your pelvic floor musculature for length, power, endurance and coordination. From there a treatment plan can be determined and implemented.
The most important thing to remember is that your pelvic floor physical therapist is there to help you return to your best self.
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If you believe you may be suffering from urinary incontinence, contact us to set up a free 30 minute consultation with one of our pelvic floor physical therapists. Take the first step to restoring balance today.