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WakeMed Blogs

Urinary Incontinence: How Physical Therapy Can Help

September 21, 2016

When you’re potty training a child, bathroom accidents are part of the game. But what happens when you’re an adult? If you’re an adult who is experiencing involuntary or accidental urine loss, you’re not alone.

Defining Urinary Incontinence

As we age, our bladders have a smaller capacity to hold urine. The same is true during pregnancy. The result? You may need to urinate more frequently, or you may experience some accidental urine loss.

Urinary incontinence is a type of pelvic floor disorder (PFD), described as any involuntary or accidental loss of urine from the bladder. Though it can affect anyone, women in the 35+ age range are especially susceptible – especially if they are pregnant or have had children.

Urinary system anatomy Facts About Urination & Your Bladder

  • It is normal to pass urine 5-7 times during a 24-hour period & no more than once during the night
  • The average bladder can hold up to 2 cups of urine before it needs to be emptied!
  • The “urge” to urinate is simply a reminder. You should be able to control it.
  • Urinary incontinence during/after pregnancy is not normal.
  • A healthy bladder is typically the size of a large grapefruit.
  • Your bladder can stretch much larger when needed & shrinks back when it’s empty.

3 Tips for Better Bladder Habits

  1. Take your time when urinating. There’s no rush!
  2. Don’t ignore the urge to go! Ignoring the urge to urinate for more than 4-5 hours isn’t healthy.
  3. Avoid going more often than needed. Avoid going more than every 2 hours. Only use the bathroom when your bladder is full.

Physical Therapy & Urinary Incontinence

So, how can physical therapy help you with urinary incontinence? Our physical therapists will conduct a detailed assessment of your pelvic floor muscles along with a musculoskeletal evaluation. From this, they can provide:

  • Education
  • Bladder retraining
  • Posture training
  • Biofeedback
  • Manual therapy techniques
  • Customized exercise programs
  • And more!

For additional information about urinary incontinence, stop by one of our educational booths at our upcoming Ladies Day event, taking place this Friday, September 23 at our Cary Hospital. You can also email us any questions or comments: info@wakemed.org.

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