It happens to many of us. We cough, laugh, sneeze, run and…oops… Whether you are older or not, urinary incontinence is a common occurrence. Age, pregnancy and other factors can weaken those pelvic floor muscles and there you are.
You want to find a cure, and wonder if physical therapy will be that cure. Well, it’s not a cure, per se, but physical therapy can teach you a number of things to help control, not cure, the issue.
Physical therapy plan
While your doctor can, and may, recommend medications to help the situation, they aren’t the end all be all solution. One recommendation may just be physical therapy. A physical therapist will put together a plan that includes a specific exercise routine for the pelvic floor muscles, a schedule for going to the bathroom, and recommendations for changes in diet. All of these things play a role in your incontinence issues.
Keep a journal
One thing that you will be asked to do is to keep a journal or log of your symptoms. Usually that will include when you go to the bathroom, when accidents happen and what the trigger might have been. That will help the therapist figure out if you have stress incontinence or urge incontinence. The first is when you pee a little when you sneeze, cough, laughing or run. The second is when you get a sudden urge to go and start before you get to the bathroom.
Then the physical therapist will begin the treatment plan tailored for you.
It will most likely contain bladder retaining, dietary changes and pelvic floor exercises. Bladder retraining basically retrains your bladder so you are in charge not your bladder. Basically it’s a plan that combines scheduled toilet visits and behavior modification. It can also include methods to refocus your attention and awareness. Dietary changes are removing things that will irritate your bladder like caffeine.
The exercises that are used to strengthen the pelvic floor are known as Kegel exercises. You may be familiar with them if you used them during pregnancy to do the same thing. They are easily done lying down, sitting or standing and no one can tell if you are doing them. The best part is that those who used pelvic floor muscle training were more likely to see better results than those who don’t.
Find out more about how we can help with pelvic floor problems!