This scenario sound familiar? You're at a get together with girlfriends, in the midst of the typical bouts of laughter that usually accompany events such as these, when: "Oops, I think I just peed a little ..."
Laughter could quickly turn to embarrassment when it’s accompanied by a little urinary leakage. Did it start happening to you after you had your baby, as you got older, or after surgery? You are not alone: Urinary incontinence affects millions of women of all ages, not just the elderly.
Urinary incontinence is the leakage of urine at inappropriate times. You may have trouble starting the urine stream or holding urine when you feel a strong urge to go. It usually results from weakness and lack of support in the pelvic floor muscles, or from a muscle spasm in the pelvic region. It could happen when laughing, sneezing, coughing, exercising, or during activities such as lifting.
If you are suffering from this condition, there is hope. Physical therapy is a safe and comfortable treatment option. Your therapist will help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with goals of gaining control over your symptoms. Secondary muscle areas are also strengthened so they can support proper bladder function.
Women’s Health Week is May 12-18, and we’re celebrating all things women. If you are interested in learning more about incontinence and women’s health in general, bring a friend and join us for wine and dessert on Thursday, May 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., as we discuss topics including balance and falls, joint protection, lymphedema, spine care, athletic injuries, and incontinence. RSVP and get more information at www.northernpts.com/rsvp.
Written by: Gina Otterbein and Janis Kemper are licensed physical therapists and co-owners of Northern Physical Therapy. Northern Physical Therapy has five West Michigan locations, with therapists specializing in women’s health, fitness, and back and neck pain. More information can be found at www.northernpts.com. Photo: iStockphoto