From our friends at American Urogynecologic Society:
|5 Ways to Talk to Your Doctor About “Down There” During National Bladder Health Month|
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) affects more than 15 million adult women and is the most prevalent form of incontinence among women. SUI can be characterized as a woman having an involuntary loss of urine, or bladder leakage, that occurs during physical activity, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise. Many women brush off the symptoms because they are scared or embarrassed and in turn, live in pain or mask the uncomfortable side effects. It’s important for every woman to know the symptoms of SUI and to know they don’t have to suffer in silence.
Fortunately for the millions of women who suffer from SUI, there are numerous treatments depending on the severity. Options range from nonsurgical treatments like pelvic floor training or surgical procedures such as sling or suspension. The treatment approach is individualized to tailor to each woman’s symptoms and lifestyle.
National Bladder Health Month takes place in November, so it’s the perfect time to learn more about SUI, the treatment options available, and how to start the conversation with your doctor today. If you’re having any reservations about starting this conversation, know that you are not alone—approximately 1 out of 3 women experience pelvic floor disorders and nearly 200,000 women choose surgery to treat their SUI each year, including the sling procedure.
Now is the time to take charge of your bladder health. Follow these five steps to start the conversation about SUI with your doctor and to get the best care for your individual needs:
- Recognize the symptoms. If you experience loss of urine that occurs simultaneously with activities that increase abdominal pressure, such as sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercising, you might be suffering from SUI.
- Start the conversation. Talk to your primary care physician if you experience these symptoms and ask him or her to refer you to a specialist called a urogynecologist or a pelvic health physical therapist, if necessary. Voices for PFD created this useful tool to assist you with initiating the conversation with your physician.
- Come prepared. Bring your medical records, especially any prior evaluation and treatment for pelvic floor disorders (PFDs), and most importantly any surgical reports.
- Determine your treatment plan. There are many treatment options available for SUI and each one is unique to your particular symptoms and lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about the treatment option that is right for you.
- Keep a bladder diary. At the beginning of treatment, these diaries are helpful in establishing the severity of your problem. Download the Voices for PFD mobile app or visit voicesforpfd.org for more information and an easy way to monitor your bladder control problems.
A patient who was coming to physical therapy after ankle surgery was shocked to know that we can help with headaches. My initial reaction was, how can she not know this? But then I realized, why should she, if no one has told her. So…
As a follow up to my post, “Do you have to go to school for this?”, I want to write about what we, as physical therapists (PT’s), can address in the clinic. I could give a very long list of all the conditions that we treat. I’m afraid that it would be very tedious and you would move on to something more exiting on the web. So I will make it very simple. If it has to do with movement, PT’s treat it.
Physical therapists are movement specialists! Movement is an extremely complex task that involves multiple body systems. We need to have a comprehensive working knowledge of how these systems interact and react to one another. It is one of the reasons why more and more PT’s are now graduating with a doctoral degree.
I have been polling my patient’s about what their thoughts on what the role of PT’s was before they came into MOSAIC. It seems that the general consensus is pain (especially low back or neck pain), injury (ex: sprain ankles, sore shoulders), or surgery (ex: ACL replacement, total joint replacement). We absolutely treat these conditions. At MOSAIC, however, we address them in regards to how they affect movement (more on that in a different post about HOW we treat).
Sometimes movement issues aren’t as obvious. Here are some examples of other conditions that physical therapy can address:
Lymphedema and swelling disorders: I have been treating lymphedema for 5 years. Lymphedema is a abnormal accumulation of lymph fluid in the tissue between the skin and the muscle. Its often thought of as a result of cancer treatment, but ALL of my patient who have swelling, even if it is due to injury or surgery, receive some type of treatment to reduce the swelling. If there is swelling around a joint, the joint does not communicate to the brain well. That affects movement.
Pediatric concerns: Every time there is a baby or a toddler in the clinic, I get asked by my adult patients, “why does a kid need PT?”. Again, the answer is movement. If the kiddo has a condition that will effect his movement (ex: Torticollis- or head tilt- so goes the head, so goes the body in movement development; toe walking- throwing off posture and balance centers; delayed milestones- skipping crawling is not an advancement!) PT’s can address it. Dr. Laura is trained in pediatrics and has treated patients as young as 3 weeks old!
Headaches: Yes, we really do treat headaches. Commonly thought of as “tension headaches”, the muscles at the base of the skull can become “tight”, affecting the movement of the joints of the head and neck causing irritation of the nerves in this area, resulting in head pain.
Still have questions about conditions that we treat? Post them below.
Thanks again for reading!