Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

By Western Berks Physical Therapy on October 8th, 2020

Physical Therapy Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence: Causes, Symptoms and Physical Therapy Treatment Options

What is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence refers to accidental leakage of urine. There are several types of urinary incontinence including stress, urge, mixed and functional incontinence.

What causes Urinary Incontinence?

Several things can cause urinary incontinence, but the most common cause is weakness and lack of pelvic floor support. The pelvic floor consists of muscles that attach to the pelvic bones in order to support the internal organs, control the bladder and bowel, and assist with sexual function. These muscles also work closely with the abdominal, back and diaphragm muscles to stabilize the body during motion. Weakness, tightness or in-coordination of these muscles can contribute to urinary incontinence.

What is Stress Incontinence?

Stress Incontinence refers to the leakage of urine when there is increased pressure on the bladder during exercise, sneezing, coughing, lifting or other activities requiring exertion. Individuals with stress incontinence often have “underactive” pelvic floor muscles. Causes of stress incontinence include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Episiotomy (during childbirth
  • Injuryor trauma
  • Pelvic or genital surgery
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive coughing or sneezing
  • Prolonged heavy lifting

What is Urge Incontinence? 

Urge incontinence is often due to weak and “overactive” pelvic floor muscles. Individuals experience a strong urge to urinate and may have difficulty getting to the bathroom in time. Causes of urge incontinence include:

  • Diabetes
  • Medications
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Caffeine or alcohol
  • Incomplete bladder emptying
  • Neurological disorders

What is Mixed Incontinence?

Mixed incontinence refers to a combination of urge and stress incontinence. The causes can include any combination of the triggers for stress and urge incontinence.

What is Functional Incontinence?

Functional incontinence is urine leakage that occurs when a person with normal bladder function cannot get to the toilet in time due to physical, cognitive, or environmental barriers. Causes of functional incontinence include:

  • Joint pain or muscle weakness
  • Problems with mobility and walking
  • Confusion, dementia or delirium
  • Environmental barriers (example: the bathroom is too far away, a walker or cane takes time to maneuver, too many obstacles in the way, difficulty removing clothes)
  • Poor vision
  • Psychological problems such as depression or anger

What is Physical Therapy Treatment for Urinary Incontinence?

Physical therapists can help when a person’s joints and muscles are interfering with the ability to move to the bathroom in time and causing incontinence. Treatment in this case is geared toward improving joint motion, muscle strength, walking speed and safety. Our Pelvic Floor Specialists have specialized training in evaluating and treating a person’s pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscles that are weak, tight or not working in a coordinated fashion can cause urinary incontinence as well. Our Pelvic Floor Specialists are ideal providers to teach women and men how to gain control over their bladder symptoms. Treatment for urinary incontinence is generally very effective, once or twice per week and takes place in a private, non-invasive and pain-free setting.

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Benefits:

  • Rehabilitates weak pelvic muscles to give you control over your bladder and your life.
  • Saves you money and embarrassment by requiring less pads and incontinence care supplies.
  • Reduces the need for medications and surgeries to control incontinence.

What to Expect During Pelvic Floor Therapy at Western Berks Physical Therapy:

  • Personalized treatment plan developed & delivered by a highly trained Pelvic Floor Specialist.
  • Customized exercise program to strengthen pelvic floor muscles & other important muscles.
  • Techniques to learn how to correctly use muscles.
  • Education and advice on foods, drinks & behaviors to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
  • Biofeedback to show how the muscles are working.
  • Electrical stimulation to improve muscle awareness.

You Should Seek Pelvic Floor Therapy If You Experience: 

  • Leaking urine during daily activities.
  • Leaking urine when sneezing, coughing, laughing, lifting, or exercising.
  • Difficulty or hesitancy starting a urine stream.
  • A strong urge to urinate that may or may not result in urine leakage.
  • Urinating frequently during the day (more than every 3-4 hours).
  • Urinating more than once during sleeping hours.
  • Difficulty getting to the bathroom because of balance, weakness, or pain.

Looking for a Physical Therapist that specializes in urinary incontinence?

Western Berks Physical Therapy provides private, non-invasive treatments for improving pelvic floor conditions in male and female patients of all ages at our offices in Robesonia and Wyomissing. Our Pelvic Floor Specialists help patients gain confidence and control over their pelvic health and incontinence issues. Treatments are typically once or twice per week and are covered by most insurance plans. To truly find the root of the problem, eliminate symptoms and prevent future recurrence,  our treatment plans are skillfully developed by a Pelvic Floor Specialist after a compassionate evaluation. ​​Request your evaluation today by calling 610-396-9278 or by clicking here.