Physical therapy can help to reduce urinary urgency, frequency and leakage.
What should you expect at your initial PT evaluation? It will include a thorough history followed by an orthopedic and pelvic examination that determine what factors may be driving your particular issue.
In treating urinary incontinence, physical therapy interventions can be directed toward the pelvic floor muscles, but should also include a full-body assessment and treatment program. Appropriate coordination of the pelvic muscles with everything around and attached to them is required to reduce bladder symptoms, regardless of the cause.
Subsequent physical therapy treatments will likely include some combination of the following:
- Instruction in urgency control techniques. There are simple, effective methods for getting those sudden, strong urges under control (often without surgery)!
- Pressure regulation, including breath work, postural / positional training, and core work.
- More local training of pelvic floor muscles (those muscles that surround the urethral/vaginal openings). This may include manual training, biofeedback, vaginal weights, and modalities to increase coordination and strength.
- Instruction in bladder health, dietary considerations, and lifestyle modifications to reduce urinary frequency. It is impossible to treat a condition by only addressing the muscles – dietary influences and years of habitual training may need to be addressed for full success in bladder retraining.
- Training in body mechanics to reduce strain on the pelvic muscles and organs. Increased strain on the pelvic organs and pelvic muscles due to inappropriate body positioning or movements may reduce the body’s ability to maintain continence and increase prolapse.
- Instruction in techniques to reduce nighttime frequency, urgency and leakage. Decreased leakage at night is often one of the first areas of improvement noted with conservative measures.