Physical Therapy Could Help Problem Affecting One in Four Women

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa –It’s a problem most people don't like to talk about, but it can affect day to day life. Incontinence affects one in four women between the ages of 18 and 60 at some point in their life.

Bobbie Morgan said, "Where I worked, everybody had the problem, almost because of all the lifting, but I'm retired now."

Incontinence commonly pops up after pregnancy, but it can happen for a variety of reasons. Physical Therapist Tarra Richard with UnityPoint Outpatient Physical Therapy, said, "Having been through the pregnancy, going through delivery, the extra weight in their pelvic floor, then having to have a baby, weight gain constipation, having lifting history."

Morgan had bladder surgery to correct it, but when she started experiencing problems again, she tried pelvic floor rehab at UnityPoint Outpatient Physical Therapy. "We're using things like biofeedback, which is little electrodes that go down our pelvic floor muscles or even internally for some patients. We're trying to show them in their brain where these muscles are so they can connect those muscles to their brain and then teach them how to re-utilize muscles they may have lost control of," said Richard.

Richard said it’s a growing area of physical therapy as people realize they don’t have to deal with the problem, and they can possibly avoid surgery. Richard said people should talk to their doctor about a referral. She said, "We ask questions: do you leak when you sneeze, cough, laugh, lift? Do you leak when you bend over? Do you leak when you have the urge to go to the bathroom before you get there?"

Morgan had physical therapy once a week for six weeks, and is happy she is back in control. “Teaching that muscle, those muscles to do what they need to be doing instead of suffering like that, and now knowing what to do about it. It's a miracle for me," she said.

Richard said insurance covers this therapy.