The women’s health program at Sinai Hospital is lead by a physical therapist and is designed to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic pain in the female population.
Q: What is urinary incontinence?
There are several types of incontinence, or leaking at inappropriate times. Stress urinary incontinence is leakage of small amounts of urine with coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting. Urge urinary incontinence is leakage of medium to large amounts of urine when a person feels a sudden strong urge to urinate. Mixed incontinence includes symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence. Functional incontinence is urine leakage that occurs when a person cannot physically get to the toilet in time.
Q: What are the causes of urinary incontinence?
Stress incontinence usually results from weak pelvic floor muscles or lack of support in the muscles of the pelvic floor. Causes of under-active muscles include: pregnancy and childbirth, injury or trauma, surgery in the vagina or rectum, episiotomy (during childbirth), and lack of exercise/lack of use.
Q: What is pelvic pain?
- Women with urge incontinence often have a weak and “over active” pelvic floor muscles.Mixed incontinence occurs when you have a combination of stress and urge symptoms.
- Functional incontinence can be caused by weakness or joint pain, problems with mobility, confusion, dementia or delirium, environmental barriers (bathroom location, use of assistive device, etc.), and psychological problems such as depression or anger.
Pelvic pain can be defined by many different diagnoses such as interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome), pelvic floor dysfunction, vaginismus, chronic pelvic syndrome, and many other conditions.
Q: How can Physical Therapy help?
Because many symptoms of urinary incontinence are caused by pelvic floor muscle weakness and dysfunction, and many symptoms of pelvic pain are due to overactive or tight pelvic floor muscles, a specially trained Women’s Health Physical Therapist can help you gain control over your symptoms.
treatment may include any or all of the following:
Q: Who should be referred to a woman’s health physical therapist?
- Education on diet and nutrition to avoid drink/food that irritate your bladder
- Advice on how to change behaviors that make your symptoms worse
- Techniques to help you find the right muscles and use them correctly
- Pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles
- Exercises to stretch and strengthen important muscles
- Ways to decrease urinary urge and frequency
- Biofeedback that shows you how your muscles are working
- Electrical stimulation to improve awareness and strength of the muscles
- Myofascial techniques to include myofascial release, soft tissue mobilization
Q: How can you schedule an appointment?
- Trouble leaking urine during normal daily activities
- Urine leakage with sneezing, coughing, or laughing
- Trouble starting a urine stream
- Trouble holding urine when feeling a strong urge to go
- Trouble with frequent urination
- Trouble getting to the bathroom because of a problem such as knee or hip pain or balance problems
- Pain with sexual intercourse, pelvic exam
If you have a physical therapy prescription from your urologist, urogynecologist, or OB/GYN, you can call 410-601-7360 to schedule a physical therapy evaluation.