Pelvic Floor physical therapy has been proven on multiple accounts to be one of the most successful interventions to address incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction. Take a look at some of these facts:
Pregnant women who participated in preventative pelvic floor physical therapy reported less urinary incontinence up to 6 months postpartum.
Women who received pelvic floor PT for persistent incontinence at 3 months postpartum were 40% less likely to report consistent symptoms at 12 months postpartum.
The more intensive the program and greater the treatment effect.
There are three types of urinary incontinence:
1. Stress Incontinence refers to loss of urine during coughing, sneezing, jumping, running, or transferring from sitting to standing. As intra-abdominal pressures change due to movement or gravity dependence, the pelvic floor muscles must be able to contract, relax, and coordinate with other muscle groups to maintain continence. As many as 67% of pregnant women and 38% of postpartum women (up to 3 months) report symptoms of stress incontinence.
2. Urge incontinence refers to loss of urine on the way to bathroom as the urge to urinate increases. Many times, there is an increased frequency in the need to use the bathroom as well. We can improve these symptoms with behavior modifications (“mind over bladder!”), determining your triggers, and improving your muscular control to be confident in your body and bladder no matter where you go.
3. Mixed Incontinence is the presence of a combination of the above symptoms and can be addressed with a collection of treatment options, finding what is specific to your symptoms, activities, and goals.
Many times we accept, “I only leak a bit, if I don’t cross my legs when I sneeze”, or “I only leak if I run more than 4 miles,” or “I only leak if I don’t pee right before I leave the house”.
We accept that incontinence is a normal part of having babies and being a woman.
It is time to change that mindset!
Fecal incontinence includes the involuntary loss of gas and/or stool. Patients have a difficult time reporting this condition due to fear and embarrassment and for this reason it is under-reported and therefore under-treated. As physical therapists, our role is to identify individual risk factors which include dietary influences, gut motility, and pelvic floor sensitivity and coordination.
Obstetric injury (forceps or vacuum delivery) is highly associated with the development of fecal
incontinence and present in as many as 62% of women with instrument-assisted births. In deliveries where instrumentation is used, 3rd and 4th degrees perineal tears are more common, thus affecting the integrity of the anal sphincter (the circular muscle around the anus). Often, symptoms of bowel incontinence do not present until decades following delivery. Other risk factors include Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), altered bowel habits, dietary intolerance, pelvic floor dysfunction, and constipation.
You are not alone; we support you.
At Gaia Women’s Physical Therapy and Wellness, you and your story are important. These conditions (urinary and fecal incontinence) are conditions which can be managed very well with physical therapy interventions which may include education, behavior changes, exercises to improve a balanced muscular system, proper exercise guidance and alternative strategies to activities or movements, manual therapy, neurological re-education, and others specific to your needs. Let’s find out how we can work together, please contact Maggie today.