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Physical Therapy, Women's Health

I have started to notice that I leak urine when I cough, sneeze, laugh...

Question: I have started to notice that I leak urine when I cough, sneeze, laugh, or when I take groceries out of the trunk of my car when I lift a heavy bag. Is this a normal part of aging? What can I do?

Answer: This condition is known as stress incontinence, or the lack of control of your bladder or bowels.  There are different types of incontinence.  Stress incontinence gets its name from the physically stressful activities that can cause leakage including: coughing, sneezing, laughing, running, lifting, or getting up from a chair. Generally, it is a result from weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles can be strengthened with proper exercises. Stress incontinence is not a normal part of the aging process, but is highly treatable. There is an 85% success rate for resolving this problem with physical therapy.  It can also be treated with certain medications, and if necessary, surgery.

I have an aching in my lower abdomen, lower back, and a feeling of heaviness in my pelvis...

Question: I have an aching in my lower abdomen, lower back, and a feeling of heaviness in my pelvis. I was diagnosed with Pelvic Organ Prolapse.  What can I do for this?

Answer: Pelvic Organ Prolapse occurs when the body’s support system of muscles, ligaments, and soft tissue within the abdomen or pelvis is altered. This can occur due to pregnancy and childbirth, surgery, obesity, menopause, traumatic injury and frequent coughing or straining.  Once this support system is impaired, the organs within the pelvis begin to drop down. Some symptoms include: loss of bladder control, a feeling of something protruding from the vagina, painful sexual intercourse and abdominal or low back pain. With proper support, exercises to improve pelvic floor muscle strength and stability, and sometimes surgery, the organ/organs can be stabilized back into a healthy position.

I am 5 months pregnant with my second child and have been having a lot of low back and pelvis pain. My Obstetrician said...

Question: I am 5 months pregnant with my second child and have been having a lot of low back and pelvis pain. My Obstetrician said that the baby and I are healthy.  Why am I having this pain?  What can I do?

Answer: During and after pregnancy, fluctuating hormone levels and posture changes can cause an increase in joint movement. The body is changing rapidly and your muscles may become too tight or weak to support these changes, creating imbalances. This can result in painful joints and dysfunction. Common problems associated with pregnancy include: unstable joints, weak core muscles and abnormal movement patterns in the spine and legs. Performing exercises designed to support joints, improve posture, and increase core strength are very helpful. Aquatic exercises can be more comfortable when first beginning an exercise program and have shown to be effective.

I have started having trouble making it to the bathroom in time...

Question: I have started having trouble making it to the bathroom in time. I have incredibly strong urges to use the bathroom and have started going more frequently to avoid having accidents.  Why am I having trouble controlling my bladder?

Answer:  The bladder is a muscle that begins to contract when we feel an urge to urine. This contraction is what pushes the urine out when we urinate.  Overactive bladder occurs when you experience sudden and frequent urges to urinate. Urge incontinence occurs when there is a leakage of urine during these strong urges. These strong urges are often triggered by common events like walking in the front door after work, washing your hands, or hearing running water. Overactive and urge incontinence can be treated with strengthening exercises, behavior changes, medications, or with surgery. Behavior modifications such as timed bathroom attempts, bladder retraining, and urge suppression are also highly effective.