Millions of Americans suffer from involuntary loss of bladder or bowel
contents. This condition, called incontinence, mostly affects women and
often leads to embarrassment, avoidance of social activities, decreased
physical activity, depression, and can even interfere with employment.
The two most common types of incontinence are stress (sneezing or
coughing) and urge (the "got-to-go" feeling) – both of which can be
treated with medications. A large percentage of people with incontinence
suffer silently and do not seek help because they believe their problem
is simply a normal part of aging, an expected consequence of having a
baby, or is only correctable with surgery or medication.
Symptoms of Incontinence
is a symptom, not a disease, and it is treatable. Incontinence may be
caused by nervous system injuries, pelvic injury or surgery, and/or
changes associated with the aging process. Incontinence is not, however,
a normal result of aging. In many cases, incontinence is caused by
weakness in the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles form a
sling, like a hammock, supporting the bottom of the pelvis and aiding in
controlling the flow of urine and bowel contents.
If your pelvic
floor muscles are weak, you may experience accidents during certain
activities or movements such as jumping, lifting, running, sneezing, or
laughing. Weakness in the pelvic muscles may also contribute to
"overactive bladder," when a sudden, strong, and uncontrolled urge to
urinate or empty the bowels catches you by surprise.
Management of Incontinence
At St.Vincent Women’s Hospital, we understand that losing control to
incontinence is challenging. We also know that proper diagnosis and
management is imperative. There are many non-surgical approaches to the
management of this annoying condition. We offer help for bladder or
bowel control problems (incontinence) through physical therapy
facilitated by specially trained physical therapists. Our physical
therapists take a caring, private approach to treating incontinence, and
also work closely with women before and after surgical procedures.
Patients are educated about normal bladder functioning and habits
that may help or harm their progress. For example, many patients
experience significant relief just by drinking more water and decreasing
caffeine and alcohol in their diet. Correct training of the pelvic
floor muscles (often called Kegel exercises), are an essential part of
continence rehabilitation and ultimately gaining control of the
Other areas of rehabilitation specialty include pelvic pain and
chronic constipation, as well as therapy before and after gynecological
If you are experiencing incontinence or would like more information
about our services and offerings, please call (317) 338-4HER for a free
consult. You may also visit 338-4HER.com or Facebook.com/3384HER.