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It’s Time to Take Control of Your Urinary Incontinence

  • Category: Articles by Clinicians
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Annette Jones, PT, MS, OCS, ATC, Clinical Coordinator, Women’s Health

You’re up several times a night. You never stray far from a restroom. Sometimes, you don’t even want to leave the house. But you’re not alone. Urinary incontinence affects millions of women worldwide. The condition often begins during menopause and increases as one ages. However, it can occur early on, as younger women engaging in physical activities may also experience incontinence episodes.

Depending on its severity, urinary incontinence can negatively impact quality of life, psychological health, and functional independence. However, for those who actively seek treatment and educate themselves, the condition is manageable.

Understanding Incontinence

There are two main types of urinary incontinence: stress and urge. Stress incontinence occurs with physical movement or activity that puts pressure on the bladder, such as coughing, sneezing, bending, lifting, and exercise. Usually the amount of urine lost is a few drops to a small squirt.

Urge incontinence is a sudden, intense need to urinate that may result in not getting to the bathroom in time. The amount of urine lost is sometimes significant. It may involve a trigger stimulus, such as running water. Urge incontinence is sometimes the result of overactive bladder, a condition resulting in increased frequency of urination.

Whatever your symptoms, taking control of incontinence starts with a visit to your doctor. Depending on their findings, the doctor may prescribe medication or physical therapy, or they may refer you to a urologist for additional assessment.

Types of Treatment

If physical therapy is recommended, an evaluation of the type of incontinence will be made, taking into account the amount of leakage, frequency of urination, pelvic floor strength, and more. Physical therapists will often recommend keeping a “bladder log” to keep track of frequency and leakage, as this can be a useful, objective tool in tracking actual occurrence and resultant changes.

Computerized biofeedback is a modality used by physical therapists to measure the intensity of the pelvic floor contraction and help women learn to control and strengthen these muscles. A sensor is applied vaginally that picks up electrical output from the working muscles. The patient can then correlate what is seen on the computer screen with what is sensed during exercise to gain better control of muscles affecting bladder activity.

Take Action

Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare offers skilled pelvic floor physical therapy specialists, computerized biofeedback, and other innovative methods to help you with urinary incontinence. For more information, please call 909/596-7733, ext. 3500.