Stop Stress Incontinence!
Stress incontinence (involuntary urinary leakage) is a condition, usually in women, in which you involuntarily urinate when pressure in the abdomen increases. This involuntary leakage may occur while coughing, sneezing, jumping or running as a result of weakened or damaged muscles in the pelvic floor. A statistic from Phoenix Physical Therapy states, “Stress urinary incontinence, the most prevalent form of incontinence among women, affects an estimated 15 million adult women in the U.S.” (“Urinary Incontinence in Women Statistics” n.d.). Many active runners, boot camp members and active women struggle with this condition. Unfortunately, many think a little leaking is normal. A statistic from Phoenix Physical Therapy states, “On average, women wait 6.5 years from the first time they experience symptoms until they obtain a diagnosis for their bladder control problem(s).” People tend to think it will just go away. The problem is that it isn’t like a cold. It won’t go away, it will just escalate.
To help prevent stress incontinence healthcare professionals recommend these three basic things, avoid constipation, be careful lifting heavy objects, and exercise with care. These small changes can make a big difference for your pelvic muscles and bladder leakage. It is very important that those who suffer with stress incontinence see a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor therapy. A pelvic floor PT is trained to identify and treat musculoskeletal conditions such as stress incontinence.
Office treatments may include learning proper exercise techniques, biofeedback, and more to help prevent stress incontinence. Exercises and muscle training has been proven to work best with patients in order to prevent stress incontinence in place of estrogen therapy, drug therapy, or electrostimulations. Biofeedback machines are used to identify and control the pelvic muscles so people know how to control those muscles. All of these treatments help women learn to control their pelvic muscles and prevent stress incontinence. The American Physical Therapy Association states from a study that, “pelvic floor muscles training and bladder training resolved urinary incontinence in women, as compared to drug therapy, electrostimulation, medical devices, injectable bulking agents, and local estrogen therapy.” Kegel exercises and other exercises that include contracting, holding, and releasing the pelvic floor muscles are the most effective in preventing and treating stress incontinence. Don’t believe that as we get older or because of different conditions, we should learn to live with leakage and stress incontinence.