Pelvic Physical Therapy Helps Urinary Incontinence and Pelvic Pain

Contributed by Stacey Clarke, DPT, WCS

Pelvic pain and urinary incontinence (UI) plague millions
of women and some men. It is commonly thought that this pain and incontinence are part of the natural aging process and body wear-and-tear, but that is not the case. Up to 57 percent of women ages 40 to 60 experience UI symptoms while 75 percent of women experience symptoms beginning at age 75. Pelvic pain is common at all ages and can present itself as pain with intercourse, pain with bowel movements, pain in the lower abdomen and groin, or vaginal or rectal pain with various activities. Regardless of what triggers the pain and UI, you don’t have to suffer alone.

As a Pelvic Health physical therapist and board certified Women’s Health clinical specialist, I help women who experience UI and other pelvic health related conditions. We teach women exercises beyond the traditional Kegel that will help train their pelvic floor muscles and bladder to stop the bladder leakage and help relieve pain. The American College of Physicians (ACP) highly recommends women with stress UI focus on pelvic floor muscle training which consists of learning to properly perform a Kegel and to fully relax the pelvic floor. Being able to fully contract and fully relax the pelvic floor is essential in preventing urine or fecal leakage and pelvic pain. Pelvic floor physical therapy has been shown to be the best first line treatment for UI and yields greater reduction in UI than performing Kegels independently without guidance of a pelvic floor physical therapist.

Your doctor, whether a urologist or primary care provider, will help determine the best treatment course which may include physical therapy with a pelvic health physical therapist. To begin receiving relief, talk to your doctor about pelvic floor physical therapy. The sooner treatment is underway, the sooner you regain control of your life.

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