Let’s Talk About Urinary Leakage
Have you ever had any urinary leakage when you cough, sneeze, or even laugh? What about leakage that coincides with a sudden urge and need to rush to the restroom so that you don’t have an “accident.” I know that it can be embarrassing subject to talk about, but I am here to help discuss these topics and teach you ways that you can reduce these symptoms and live a life with less fear of that embarrassment. Physical therapists trained in the treatment of pelvic floor dysfunction can help treat this issue.
First, let’s talk about what the pelvic floor really is and where it is located. The pelvic floor muscles are located underneath the pelvis and make up a portion of the core musculature and stabilizing musculature of the pelvis. There are multiple muscles that make up the pelvic floor, with the key players being your levator ani muscles. It is also important to note that the pelvic floor muscles are contracting properly, there is appropriate support of the pelvic organs and your core. There muscles can also work to assist in reducing and preventing urinary leakage due to incontinence. Let’s talk a bit more about what incontinence is. Incontinence can be defined simply as uncontrolled leakage of urine. There are two main types of urinary incontinence. One being stress incontinence, which is the leakage with exertional stress such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, etc. The other is urge incontinence, which is leakage of urine when there is a sudden, frequent urge to rush to the restroom. There can also be mixed incontinence, which includes both types. With all types of incontinence, there is often a weakness within the pelvic floor musculature which contributes to the leakage. Strengthening of the pelvic floor is an important key component in reducing weakness and this uncontrolled leakage of urine. This is where a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor rehab can step in and assist a patient in training of the pelvic floor with strengthening as well as introducing behavioral changes and possible dietary considerations that will help assist in reducing symptoms.
Causes or risk factors associated with a weak pelvic floor can include childbirth (vaginal or cesarean delivery), high BMI, advanced age, constipation, heavy lifting at work, frequent straining with bowel movements and use of diuretics. These are only a few of many known causes or risk factors.
I am writing this in hopes of reaching out to some of you that may not be aware that physical therapy can help with this dysfunction and to also make this more of a comfortable topic to discuss and learn about! If you are interested in learning more and would like to receive physical therapy addressing these symptoms, do not hesitate to contact Premier Physical Therapy. Our women’s health physical therapists are specially trained to address the unique health needs women experience.
Written by: Dr. Rachel Cameron, PT, DPT