How physical therapy can help reduce urinary leakage with coughing, sneezing and laughing

November 1, 2022

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MYTH: “Leakage with coughing, sneezing and laughing is a normal part of aging or is normal after childbirth and it is not treatable.”

This is not the case, and we’re here to help breakdown how physical therapy can help! Urinary leakage caused by an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, such as coughing, sneezing or laughing is known as stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Urinary incontinence affects 25-45% of all women.

There are many factors that could predispose someone to develop SUI, such as pregnancy, aging, obesity, and sports. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved! Most often, the cause of urinary leakage is weakness and/or incoordination of the pelvic floor muscles. The functions of the pelvic floor include sphincteric, stability, support and sexual function.

  • Sphincteric:
    Maintains continence, and allows for contraction and relaxation of pelvic floor musculature.
  • Stability:
    The pelvic floor is considered a “core muscle” and provides stability for the pelvic girdle and trunk.
  • Support:
    The pelvic floor supports the pelvic organs and their contents against gravity
  • Sexual function:
    Provides tone for vaginal wall and increases ability to have orgasm.

How can Purpose Physical Therapy help with stress urinary incontinence?

  • Work to improve strength of pelvic floor muscles
  • Work to improve coordination and proper recruitment of pelvic floor muscles
  • Assess and treat mobility of hips and lower back
  • Assess and treat strength of associated core and hip musculature

To learn more and get started on your path to healing and/or preventative treatment, don’t hesitate to schedule your first consultation with us at our St. Petersburg office.