Many older adults are hesitant to bring up pelvic floor dysfunction with their doctors. After all, urinating when you don’t mean to is embarrassing, and some patients fear that they will share their humiliating stories only to be told that they should accept wearing adult diapers for the rest of their lives.
Seek help for pelvic floor dysfunction
However, you do not have to accept that at all. Find a medical provider you trust so that you can candidly and thoroughly share your symptoms related to pelvic floor dysfunction. Two common types of pelvic floor dysfunction are 1) stress incontinence, when urine squeezes out after you cough, sneeze or experience other sudden contraction of the core muscles, and 2) nonrelaxing pelvic floor problems, when the pelvic floor muscles cannot contract and relax normally.
A knowledgeable and caring medical professional can walk you through the many treatment options available for older adults who struggle with these problems and others. Together, you are likely to identify an option that will help you feel like yourself again soon. With successful treatment, you can expect to:
- Get your active life back. If you’re avoiding activities you love because of your pelvic floor problems, treating the condition can help you resume sports, travel and other things you would normally look forward to.
- Live independently for longer. If you can control your bladder and bowels, you won’t need as much outside help.
- Extend how long you stay strong. When your pelvic floor is working properly, it helps you maintain proper posture and doesn’t overstress any muscles.
3 treatment options
If you’re convinced that it’s time to treat pelvic floor problems, it’s time to take a look at your treatment options.
- Medications. While medications will not make the muscles of your pelvic floor work differently, some can help alleviate frequent urination or uncontrolled bowel movements. Medications have side effects, so you will need to decide if medication is the right route for you.
- Surgery. Several surgical options can help you to need the bathroom less often or provide greater control of urination or bowels. These are generally effective, but surgery can be high-risk for some people. For this reason, many doctors will choose surgery only after their patients have tried physical therapy first.
- Physical therapy. A referral to physical therapy is key to treating many pelvic floor disorders. In fact, your doctor may very well view physical therapy as the first and best way to address pelvic floor issues.
Closer look at physical therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction
Physical therapy for this condition involves teaching patients how to use their pelvic muscles correctly. Patients practice a series of exercises and, over time, gain the control they need to manage their urinary tract and their bowels. These exercises can also help alleviate groin and lower back pain and may help you avoid major pelvic floor problems in the future.
At Heather Lane Physical Therapy, we offer pelvic floor physical therapy for both men and women. If you have decided to take control of your life and treat your pelvic floor dysfunction, give us a call today.