Physical therapy (PT) is a branch of medicine that helps patients regain strength and function after an injury or surgery. For women with urinary incontinence or UI, physical therapy can play an important role in improving their quality of life.
Urinary incontinence is a common problem. The Mayo Clinic states that one in four women suffer from urinary incontinence, but that number jumps to 75 percent after age 65. Unfortunately, most women do not discuss urinary incontinence with their doctors, assuming nothing can be done.
However, physical therapy can help improve bladder control by strengthening the muscles that support the bladder. The National Institutes of Health report that urinary incontinence is a "worldwide problem" but that research results "strongly support" the benefits of interventions like physical therapy.
Exercises for Urinary Incontinence
There are a variety of PT exercises that can help improve UI symptoms. The most important factor is to work with a PT who can tailor an exercise program to your specific needs. There are several common physical therapy exercises for urinary incontinence, including:
Kegels are often recommended as the first line of defense against UI. Kegel exercises involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support the bladder and contribute to urine control. Kegels can be done anywhere, at any time, and don't require any special equipment.
Pelvic tilts help to strengthen the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. A pelvic tilt is performed by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. The pelvis is then tilted so that your back flattens against the ground.
The bridge pose is a yoga exercise that helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and requires the person to raise their hips off the ground while keeping their shoulders and head on the ground.
This form of physical therapy for urinary incontinence involves placing electrodes on the skin to stimulate the pelvic floor muscles. Electrical stimulation can be done in a PT office or at home with a portable device.
Biofeedback is a type of physical therapy for UI that uses sensors to help you become aware of your pelvic floor muscle activity. This awareness can help you learn to control the muscles and improve UI symptoms.
Available evidence suggests that physical therapy can be an effective treatment for urinary incontinence in women. If you're struggling with UI symptoms, talk to your doctor or a PT — such as Dr. Carr Integrative Physical Therapy — about whether PT might be right for you.Share
3 October 2022
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