Women's Health at Alpine Physical Therapy in Bend, Oregon.

Facts about female urinary incontinence

Did you know?

  1. Urinary leakage is common but never normal. Nearly 60% of women between the ages of 40 and 60 experience urinary incontinence.
  2. Women put up with urinary leakage for 4 or more years before seeking help.
  3. Incontinence is NOT only a problem associated with old age.
  4. 80% of incontinence that is related to pelvic floor muscle weakness can be cured or improved with physical therapy.
  5. Prevention or early diagnosis and treatment may help you avoid surgery.

Is my bladder normal?

True or false?

  • I urinate 7-8 times per day.
  • I urinate at intervals between 2-5 hours.
  • I do not wake up more than once during the night to urinate. (This applies to women under 65 years of age.)
  • I never leak urine when I sneeze, cough, laugh, exercise.
  • When I need to urinate, I can get to the bathroom without rushing.
  • I am not wearing panty-liners or pads “just in case” I leak urine.

If you answered “false” to any of these questions, please contact us to talk about a women’s health appointment.

How can I help myself?

Exercises (sometimes called Kegels) that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises involve tightening up the muscles surrounding your birth canal, anus, and urethra. The action is the same as if you were trying to hold yourself back from passing gas, or lifting up around the vagina.

Studies have shown that 40% of all women do these exercises incorrectly without proper instruction. Most women are not sure if they are doing these exercises correctly. Try these exercises for 1 month. If there is no change in your symptoms, do not give up. You may need individual instruction, or have very weak muscles.

How can physical therapy help?

Conditions that may benefit from physical therapy include:

  • Urinary leakage with cough, sneeze, laugh, lift, exercise.
  • Urinary urgency, a feeling of not being able to make it to the bathroom in time.
  • If you are unsure of how to do pelvic floor muscle exercises (kegels) correctly.
  • Some types of pelvic and perineal pain.
  • Back pain.
  • Some types of constipation.

Our women’s health therapists specialize in treatment of bladder problems and incontinence. We’ll help you perform pelvic muscle exercises correctly and design an exercise program specific to your needs. Treatment options will be explained to you, and may include:

  • Pelvic muscle retraining: Several techniques will be used to help your muscles work as effectively as they can.
  • Biofeedback: A sensor records your pelvic floor muscle activity and displays it on a computer monitor. This “feedback” gives you a picture of your muscle activity and improves the quality of your exercise efforts.
  • Electrical stimulation: Gentle stimulation acts as an external source of muscle excitation and gives weak muscles an extra boost. It is also very useful to lessen feelings of bladder irritability and urinary urgency.
  • Vaginal cones: This is “weight training” for the pelvic floor muscles. Small tampon-like weights are held in by the pelvic floor muscles, helping to strengthen them and squeeze effectively as you lift, cough, or exercise.
  • Education: You will learn how you can change the way you do some of your daily activities that may be causing stress on the pelvic floor muscles. Guidelines for lifting, exercising, doing housework, childcare, or gardening will help you prevent leakage. You will learn how to brace the pelvic floor muscles prior to leakage causing events. Normal voiding habits will be reviewed, as well as how to avoid common bladder irritants. Correcting the way you exercise, including what is wrong with most sit-ups, may be part of your program.
  • Pelvic Health

    Physical therapy for men and women experiencing urinary urge/frequency, coccyx (tailbone) pain, lower back pain, and more.
    Learn more
  • What to expect

    What to expect at a women's health physical therapy appointment.
    Your appointment