Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
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Pelvic pain and incontinence
Pelvic pain and incontinence
The physical therapists at Sister Kenny Sports & Physical Therapy Center are specially trained in providing treatment for pelvic pain and incontinence in both women and men.
What is urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is the inability to control urination.
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It can sometimes be temporary, but often becomes a chronic condition that affects a person's ability to carry on a normal life. At least 13 million Americans suffer from various types of urinary incontinence.
Stress incontinence is uncontrolled urine loss when the pressure inside the bladder exceeds the pressure inside the urethra, usually resulting from coughing, sneezing or lifting.
Urge incontinence is uncontrolled urine loss preceded by a strong urge to urinate.
Women comprise 85 percent of those with urinary incontinence problems. They are much more likely to develop incontinence than men due to differences in anatomy, injury during childbirth, hysterectomy or other abdominal surgery, and hormonal changes accompanying menopause that can weaken the pelvic floor muscles which help control the flow of urine.
The incidence of urinary dysfunction in men increases as they age and may be caused by an enlarged prostate, changes in muscle tone, or neurological or degenerative conditions.
A referral or order from your medical provider is needed before therapy services can begin. Call 612-262-7900 for information or appointments, except where a separate number is listed below.
Services are available at the following Sister Kenny Sports & Physical Therapy Center or hospital locations:
Urinary incontinence in women
Women with urinary incontinence are often reluctant to discuss it and generally accept living with it as a life-long problem.
However, studies have shown that 80 percent of patients show improvement in bladder control with physical therapy intervention.
Physical therapists with special training instruct women in techniques that strengthen pelvic muscles and decrease or possibly eliminate incontinence.
Pelvic floor strengthening exercises have been proven to be effective when performed correctly. Physical therapy helps to re-train the pelvic floor muscles in order to use them properly. Pelvic floor stimulators may also be used in treatment.
Through biofeedback, women can actually see improvement in pelvic floor strength and endurance. Biofeedback is also helpful in showing if the correct muscles are being used during pelvic floor strengthening exercises.
Urinary incontinence in men
It is estimated that 5 million men in the U.S. experience urinary disorders, including urinary frequency, urinary urgency and urinary incontinence.
Frequency and urgency may be caused by enlarged prostate or changes in muscle tone that result in muscle dysfunction in the pelvic floor.
Incontinence in men may be caused by neurological or degenerative conditions, but often is indicative of prostate issues or is a result of prostate surgery.
The latter typically causes a change in bladder compliance due to routine removal of the internal sphincter and sometimes damage to the external sphincter.
Consequently, the pelvic floor muscles may have difficulty compensating for the change in sphincter function.
Instruction in normal bladder function and efforts to restore normal elimination patterns and habits are key to physical therapy intervention for urinary dysfunction in men. Treatment may include pelvic floor exercise, behavioral modification and/or biofeedback.
Although not as common as urinary incontinence, involuntary leakage of feces and gas is just as uncomfortable and embarrassing to those who experience it.
Weak pelvic muscles can contribute to the body's inability to "tighten and close" the opening to the anus.
Chronic constipation (straining to have a bowel movement) weakens the pelvic floor muscles and can be a contributing factor to fecal incontinence.
In women, trauma to the muscles during childbirth can be a factor leading to fecal incontinence.
Treatment options include abdominal and core strengthening, dietary recommendations, and pelvic floor exercises targeted at normal pelvic floor coordination and function.
Pelvic floor muscles are located inside the pelvis between the pubic bone in the front and the tailbone (coccyx) in back. They function as support for the internal organs, help control elimination from the bladder and bowel, and are involved in sexual response.
The pelvic floor muscles may cause pelvic pain when they are tightened for a long period of time. Spasms can cause a dull, aching pain through the pelvis, buttocks or hips and occasionally down the leg.
The pain may be a pressure, burning or aching that is localized in the pelvic organs, genital region and bones of the pelvis or abdomen. In men, the pain may be in the penis or testicles.
The causes of this condition are not well understood. A history of pelvic or abdominal surgery and disease may lead to muscle tension. Emotional stress, poor posture or physical trauma may also contribute to subconscious tightening of the pelvic muscles.
The results are pain and/or problems with the bowel and bladder and sexual function.
Male pelvic pain may also be a result of prostatitis. In addition, a history of hernia repair and disease may lead to muscle tension or imbalance in the pelvis, ultimately causing pain.
Treatment for both women and men includes a variety of therapeutic exercises, relaxation, manual therapy techniques, and pelvic muscle awareness training.
Some patients also benefit from modalities to reduce muscle spasms and improve muscle coordination.