Physical Therapy for Urge Incontinence

If you have a sudden need to urinate – and you involuntarily leak wherever and whenever – you may have urge incontinence. The condition isn’t a disease, but it may be a sign that there is an underlying problem.  While urge incontinence is sometimes referred to as “overactive bladder,” that condition is slightly different.  People with an overactive bladder feel an urge to urinate, but don’t necessarily leak urine.

Causes of Urge Incontinence
Urge incontinence is caused by abnormal bladder contractions. Normally, strong muscles called sphincters control the flow of urine from the bladder. With urge incontinence, the muscles of an “overactive” bladder contract with enough force to overridethe sphincter muscles of the urethra, which is the tube that takes urine out of the body.

Treatments to Improve Pelvic-Floor Muscle Function
Your physical therapist will teach you how to “find” (sense the movement of) your pelvic-floor muscles by tensing and releasing them. The physical therapist will design an exercise program based on your condition to help you improve your pelvic-floor muscle function so you can better control your bladder

Your treatments may include:

  • Kegel exercises. The Kegel exercise is performed by squeezing the sphincter muscles or imagining that you are trying to stop the flow of urine.
  • Biofeedback. Depending on your symptoms and level of comfort, your physical therapist may gently employ electrodes to measure your pelvic-floor muscle activity. The biofeedback obtained can help make you more aware of the correct way to use your pelvic-floor muscles.
  • Muscle strengthening exercises. Your physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to stretch and strengthen other important muscles that help support proper bladder function.
  • Electrical stimulation. Your physical therapist may apply gentle electrical stimulation to help improve your awareness of your muscle function.

To learn more contact St. Francis Physical Therapy at 763-753-8804.  Have a Happy New Year!

Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA
Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.

December 27th, 2018

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