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New Study Reports That Physical Therapy Treatment Resolves Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence in Women
Date:3/19/2008

ty that couldn't be further from the truth," she says. "Health care professionals need to be aware of the role that physical therapists play in treating incontinence so that their patients know about alternatives to diapers, medication, or surgery."

Jenkyns notes that physical therapists use a variety of methods to help patients correct pelvic floor dysfunction. The initial patient evaluation requires determining the type of incontinence (stress, urge, or both), the extent of incontinence, assessing the strength, motor control and endurance of pelvic floor muscles, and screening for any other musculoskeletal issues, then developing an individualized exercise treatment program, and making sure patients understand their role in the treatment program.

In a case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (March 6, 2008) regarding urinary incontinence in women, it is noted that "first-line treatment for stress incontinence includes pelvic floor muscle training." Affirming the Annals of Internal Medicine results, this second study points out that women unable to identify their pelvic floor muscles "may benefit from seeing a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor therapy."

Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor muscle exercises that involve contracting, holding, and releasing pelvic floor muscles, are the most effective weapon in the fight against stress incontinence. "Once patients have correctly identified these muscles, a physical therapist will train how to enhance pelvic floor muscle function, coordinate with abdominal muscle exercises and bring these exercises and awareness into functional activities," says Jenkyns. She notes that these exercises need to be brought into daily activities, and can be done when sitting at your desk or on the toilet, while driving, or at the gym. For those with very weak muscles, she recommends starting the exercises while lying down.

Jenkyns always reminds her patients who experience stress
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SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
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