What is incontinence?

By Downeast Rehabilitation Associates | Dec 27, 2011

Urinary Incontinence (UI) affects nearly 17 million people every year, with 85% of those being women. This is a problem that crosses age, social, and economic lines. UI often has a negative effect on a persons work, social and leisure activities. Community/family interaction is kept to a minimum for fear of embarrassment and the negative social stigma that UI carries with it.

UI is the involuntary loss of urine. Symptoms may include increased frequency, urgency, or nocturia (awakening from sleep because of the urge to urinate). There are 2 main types of UI which include:

STRESS INCONTINENCE, which is the involuntary loss of urine with physical exertion such as laughing, sneezing, or lifting. This stems from weak pelvic floor muscles and poor ligamentous support at the bladder outlet. Often this may be corrected with Kegel exercises, however, many women perform these exercises incorrectly. A Physical Therapist who has specialized in UI can prescribe the correct exercises and make sure they are performed in the correct manner to build the necessary strength. A specialized PT has the equipment and knowledge to properly determine the weakness the patient is experiencing and how to take positive steps to change that.

URGE INCONTINENCE is the loss of urine that occurs as soon as you get the urge to use the bathroom. This happens because the bladder contracts at inappropriate times (usually with certain triggers). With urge incontinence, the patient usually has to use the bathroom more than once every 2 hours. This is often brought on by the women herself by developing bad habits over the years, such as using the bathroom when she really didn't have to go, and/or consuming too many bladder irritants. Again, a Physical Therapist specialized in UI can teach the patient behavioral therapy techniques to help suppress urge sensations and decrease voiding frequency.

Oftentimes, women may experience combinations of both types of UI. Treatments in the past have included prescription of medications and/or surgery. However, conservative treatment has evolved greatly and Physical Therapists have become much more involved because of their expertise in muscles and an in-depth understanding of anatomy. Improvement rate of UI symptoms with conservative treatment is between 70-80%.

Downeast Rehabilitation Associates is pleased to offer a Urinary Incontinence Management Program. Kelly Reynolds, MSPT and staff therapist, has established herself as the sole specialist in this area of Women's Health that too often goes ignored and untreated because of public misconceptions and private embarrassment. Kelly has the knowledge, experience, and understanding to help patients with this problem. For more information, call Downeast Rehab at 596-0374, Mon.-Fri.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.