Pregnancy is without question a joyful time for most women, but it can also create a number of physical and sometimes painful challenges.
Stress incontinence due to hormonal changes ranks high on the list of issues facing many pregnant women. The increased weight of an enlarging uterus combined with the stress of a vaginal delivery can weaken muscles of the pelvic floor, which are necessary for bladder control.
While pregnant women are often instructed by their physicians to perform Kegal exercises, it is not always evident which muscles should be contracted and in what manner. As such, the incontinence issues may not be properly addressed and may worsen over the course of a women’s life, progressing from mild loss of control when laughing or sneezing to total incontinence in later years.
Physical therapy can offer successful treatment for urinary incontinence. Women’s Health Specialists are trained in the use of EMG/biofeedback equipment which can provide treatment by placing external electrodes on the pelvic floor muscles. This use of biofeedback enables the patient to correctly identify, contract and strengthen the correct muscles, thereby retraining pelvic floor muscles and ultimately preventing urinary leakage. Biofeedback is particularly helpful for women who continue to experience incontinence four weeks post-partum.
It’s important for women to recognize that incontinence is treatable and if corrected early on can prevent the need for surgical intervention. Women concerned about incontinence should never be embarrassed to discuss the issue with their physician and seek Physical Therapy intervention. A typical course of care is two visits per week up to four weeks and is covered by most health insurances.
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