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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Take Control of Your Bladder: Physical therapy has proven success

Apr 29, 2015 02:14PM ● By Liz Ingalls

Liz Ingalls, Director of Holistic Physical Therapy at Acker House

Urinary incontinence is a condition that affects men and women of all ages. Many people don’t seek help for this embarrassing condition, preferring instead to suffer in silence, but procrastinating can make the symptoms worse over time. The quicker the problem is addressed, the better the chances of fully resolving it, and the quicker the rehab process.

There are two main types of urinary incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence is leakage that occurs when increased stress is placed on the bladder—usually with a cough, sneeze, laugh or jumping motion. It is usually caused by weakness in the pelvic floor muscles due to childbirth, improper exercise technique, or prolonged coughing from an upper-respiratory infection.

Urge urinary incontinence is leakage accompanied by a strong urge to urinate. This problem is also linked to weakness in the pelvic floor muscles, as well as excessive intake of bladder-irritating foods and drinks or poor toileting habits.

Another condition that is usually associated with urinary incontinence is urinary urgency and frequency, which is defined as urinating more than seven times in a day, or more than once overnight.

Physical therapy has proven extremely successful at eradicating these conditions. Because weakness of the pelvic floor muscles is usually a main culprit, completing prescribed exercises to strengthen those muscles (Kegel exercises) is the first step in attacking urinary incontinence. When these exercises are coupled with stretching exercises, education on proper diet and nutrition, biofeedback training to help correctly identify muscles, and manual therapy, patients can usually resolve their condition without medication.

Liz Ingalls is Director of Holistic Physical Therapy at Acker House, 139 Grand St., Croton on Hudson, NY. Holistic Physical Therapy has therapists specializing in women’s health. They offer lymphedema treatment, breast cancer rehabilitation and pelvic floor physical therapy.  To make an appointment or for more info, call 914.217.7919 or visit