The physicians at the Good Samaritan Women’s Center for Specialized Care regularly prescribe physical therapy to treat these conditions:
- Bladder incontinence
- Bowel incontinence
- Pelvic pain
Urine leakage is a sign that you have a medical problem that needs to be treated. Treatment depends on the type of bladder incontinence experienced. Types include:
- Stress incontinence – urine leakage when coughing, laughing, sneezing, or other activities that put pressure on the bladder
- Urge incontinence – frequent, sudden urges to urinate followed by leakage
- Overactive bladder – bladder muscles contract without warning, causing you to urinate more than normal
- Functional incontinence – can occur as a result of other medical problems
To properly diagnose, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history including your pattern of urinating. You may be asked to complete a bladder diary for a few days. Depending on your type of incontinence, tests may be recommended. In some instances treatment can begin immediately. This may include bladder retraining, medications, nerve stimulation and/or vaginal devices. Surgery usually is considered as a last resort.
Bowel incontinence can be the leaking of a small amount of stool when passing gas. It also can be a complete loss of bowel control. At either extreme, the condition is treatable.
The condition often is caused by a lack of muscle control. Other causes include:
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Nerve or muscle damage
- Overuse of laxatives
Once your doctor determines the cause of your bowel incontinence, he can recommend an appropriate treatment. This might include bowel retraining and physical therapy to restore muscle control. Other treatment options include lifestyle changes, medication and surgery.
Pain in a broad area below your abdomen is called pelvic pain. You may have it during your period, during intercourse or bowel movement, or whenever you are seated. The pain can be intermittent or steady; severe or a dull ache. It can feel like a pressure deep within your pelvic area.
If the pain is severe enough to disrupt your day, you should see your doctor. Finding the cause of pelvic pain is tricky. If the reason for the pain is found, treatment will focus on eliminating the cause. If not, treatment will focus on managing the pain.