Dr. Todd Schad, Obstetrics and Gynecological Surgeon: Urinary incontinence is the uncontrolled loss of urine at inappropriate times. There are three basic types of incontinence. There is something called stress incontinence, and stress incontinence is where you cough, laugh, sneezed, or lift something and you have leakage of urine. And that’s more of an anatomic or a structural change within the body that’s causing the leaking.
There’s also something called urge incontinence. So basically, you get a strong urge to go to the bathroom, but before you can get there, it starts to come out. And then there’s something called overflow incontinence, which is typically where you can’t feel when your bladder is full. That is more common with nerve injuries, whether it be from motor vehicle accidents or a nerve disease where they can’t tell when they have to go to the bathroom.
Becki Braund, Physical Therapist: It’s very common for women to have incontinence. Studies show that 50% of women, at some point in their lifetime, will have incontinence issues. Men have these same issues. It’s not as common just due to anatomy, but it definitely exists for men, and we treat it very similarly.
Dr. Todd Schad: One of the more common causes of stress incontinence is a weak pelvic floor. So the pelvic floor is basically what helps to hold the bladder and the uterus in place. But it’s something that a lot of women, as well as men, take for granted because it’s not something that you go to the gym and exercise, like you’re exercising your biceps. The pelvic floor also needs exercise to stay strong. And over time, it can be abused.
Becki Braund: I think in the past, and even for some women, it’s still a very embarrassing topic to approach with their physicians. I think just more community awareness that these services are provided and offered at the hospital here, and even having the physicians just be more proactive with asking questions about them will help kind of get rid of that stigma that this is something you shouldn’t be talking about.
Dr. Todd Schad: We have an excellent program at Sauk Prairie Healthcare that works with a physical therapist to help strengthen the pelvic floor. And what we found is that women who go through our physical therapy program can expect about a 50% to a 60% improvement in their incontinence.
And so I think that’s pretty remarkable that just by helping you strengthen yourself — so not taking medications, not going through a surgery — that you can make it 50% to 60% better by going through the pelvic strengthening exercises.
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