Kegel Exercises for Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence may occur as a result of a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles provide support to the uterus, bladder and other pelvic organs. For some women, this involuntary loss of urine can be treated with pelvic floor muscle training. Training includes exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, similar to kegel exercises. Studies have shown women who performed kegels were typically able to hold their bladder for longer periods of time and had a decrease in episodes of stress urinary incontinence as well as urge urinary incontinence . Pelvic floor physical therapists are physical therapists trained in assessing pelvic floor muscles and working with women to teach them how to isolate these muscles and properly perform pelvic floor exercises.
Depending on the severity of incontinence, some women may require additional behavior modification, medication or surgical intervention.
Urinary incontinence is not always easy to talk about and may be difficult to bring up with your healthcare provider. However, approximately 25% of young women, up to 57% of middle-aged and postmenopausal women and approximately 75% of older aged women living in nursing homes are living with urinary incontinence. Symptoms are not only bothersome and sometimes socially isolating, they increase the likelihood of more serious problems such as urinary tract infections, skin breakdown from chronic moisture and increased incidence in admission to nursing homes in older women.
The United States spent an average of $19.5 billion in 2004 on incontinence care (such as pads, diapers, medical treatment for related complications and nursing home admissions/care).
If you suffer from urinary incontinence, you are not alone and there are treatment options. At Austin Urogynecology, we work with you to develop the best plan of care to manage your symptoms.
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