What is Urinary Incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine from the bladder and can happen to anyone across the lifespan including young athletes, during pregnancy/postpartum, and as an older adult. Stress incontinence is when there is bladder leakage due to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure such as cough, sneeze, laugh, heavy deadlifting or catching a heavy clean. Urge incontinence a sudden and strong desire to urinate, and have bladder leakage shortly after. Bladder leakage in any instant is a common presentation and complaint, however it is not considered normal, because it is curable.
It’s important to note that urinary incontinence is common in women, is becoming more common in men. Urinary incontinence can caused by a variety of different reasons including, but not limited to, health changes, hormonal fluctuations, bladder infections, pregnancy, obesity, lack of activity and strength of the pelvic floor musculature, mental and/or physical trauma, and even tight pelvic floor muscles.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Urinary Incontinence?
Physical therapy for a leaky bladder is considered a gold standard for urinary incontinence in both men and women and can provide complete resolution of symptoms. It’s important to see a pelvic floor physical therapist so they can determine the reason as to why leaking is occurring. If the pelvic floor needs to be strengthened, exercises will be targeted more towards strength.
Like mentioned above, bladder leakage can also occur when the pelvic floor muscles are tight. If so, physical therapy exercises may be more targeted towards lengthening the pelvic floor muscles, modifying movements, or using pressure management/breath strategies to reduce leaking.
When Should You Seek Out a Physical Therapist?
If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, it is important to see a physical therapy as soon as possible so they can provide a thorough evaluation, provide a treatment plan, and fix your leaky bladder for good!
Common Physical therapy exercises for Urinary Incontinence & Pelvic Floor Strengthening:
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