Self-Management and Community-Based Resources to Treat Urinary Incontinence

When my friends find out that I’m a pelvic floor physical therapist, they tell me that they pee their pants all the time. A little dribble escapes after a sneeze. Lifting kids leads to urine leakage. And they bring extra pants with them to cardio kickboxing class.

Incontinence is Not Normal

Don’t accept common as normal just because you’re getting a little older or had a few kids. Incontinence is unexpected urine loss, and it is not normal. You can do something about it!

Pelvic floor training and behavior training continue to be the first choice in treating urinary incontinence. After 3 months of therapeutic exercises or modified activities, most people see improvements in bladder function. Some even experience significant improvements after a handful of treatment sessions with a pelvic floor therapist.

Urinary incontinence can affect your relationships and how much physical activity you are willing to participate in. It can also lead to depression and isolation.

Find Help Treating Urinary Incontinence

Did you know 40-percent of women will experience urinary incontinence in their lifetime? Still, only a third of us will seek professional help.

Scheduling multiple appointments, finding the right specialist, or lacking flexibility in a strict program can be barriers to progress. Completing a bladder diary is tricky and not very practical. And keeping a time commitment outside of your already busy family and work schedule is challenging.

The key to keeping dry is to be consistent and work on symptoms regularly. In fact, many women welcome reminders and motivational tips to help them along their journey to dryness, and you can benefit from them, too!

Community Resources to Treat Urinary Incontinence

I recommend seeing a pelvic floor therapist to everyone. Get quality information and proven treatment techniques right from the horse’s mouth. But, sometimes, life gets in the way.

Community resources to help improve your pelvic floor symptoms include group exercise classes, yoga classes, and weight management programs. Many women find that training and education are invaluable when treating urinary incontinence and are willing to learn new information and complete refresher courses.

Using these community resources complements pelvic floor therapy well. And just participating in these activities and building pelvic floor awareness could be enough for you.

And if your previous experience with a pelvic PT wasn’t stellar, know that every therapist has different experiences, methods, and personalities that affect your outcomes. If your therapist is honest with you, they will let you know their limitations. You should be offered additional referrals to other professionals that can work best with your condition because Kegels are not always the answer.

What do you think was missing in your previous pelvic floor rehab experience?

Benefits of Community

Community-based programs offer cost-effective choices to people with limited funding and transportation. A lack of available specialists is also a barrier. You should connect with local groups that can help you create extensive networks. You can find doors of opportunity you did not know existed.

Group activities can be fun and motivational, and you are more likely to stick with them, further enhancing your care. Regular meetings and communications with community groups can help adhere to your pelvic floor care and exercise. 

In one study, a group of women who participated in a group-based yoga program for urinary incontinence participated decreased incontinence frequency by 76%. 

These groups can provide valuable information and accountability. They can also offer written communication or social media accounts that are helpful and can be reviewed on your own time at home.

You can include additional physical and mental practices such as mindfulness and awareness in group exercise programs, yoga classes, or private classes. This can help reduce stress and anxiety, which you may not receive in traditional PT clinics or gyms.

It Takes a Village to Raise Strong Women

It behooves clinicians to add similar programs to their practices to recruit and retain more clients. Many women report that they like their information to be practical, user-friendly, and easily accessible. 

Illustrations and demonstrations help drive the point home. Information in native languages or promoting cultural awareness improves a woman’s chance of finding the material credible. 

We can all work together to help women across all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds by sharing easily accessible knowledge with each other. And sharing can start within your circle of girlfriends. 

Fu Y, Nelson EA, McGowan L. An evidence-based self-management package for urinary incontinence in older women: a mixed methods feasibility study. BMC Urol. 2020 Apr 20;20(1):43. doi: 10.1186/s12894-020-00603-8. PMID: 32312255; PMCID: PMC7171836.

Huang AJ, Chesney M, Lisha N, Vittinghoff E, Schembri M, Pawlowsky S, Hsu A, Subak L. A group-based yoga program for urinary incontinence in ambulatory women: feasibility, tolerability, and change in incontinence frequency over 3 months in a single-center randomized trial. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Jan;220(1):87.e1-87.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2018.10.031. Epub 2018 Oct 26. PMID: 30595143; PMCID: PMC6314206.

** The views and opinions expressed on this site belong to Vigeo Ergo Consulting LLC. Any advice or suggestions offered herein are not a replacement for medical advice from a physician or other healthcare professional. My blogs are for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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