Pelvic Floor Therapy – Bladder Control in Men and Women Without Drugs or Surgery
Pelvic floor therapy is a new method for helping women and men with bladder control problems. Using biofeedback techniques in conjunction with Kegel exercises, pelvic floor therapy teaches patients to properly contract the muscles of the pelvic floor more efficiently, resulting in improved bladder control.
Kegel exercises aim to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, thereby improving the urethra and/or rectal sphincter function. The success of Kegel exercises depends on proper technique and adherence to a regular resistance exercise program. Some people have difficulty identifying and isolating the muscles of the pelvic floor. Biofeedback can help teach people how to use the correct muscles.
Pelvic floor therapy is effective in up to 70 percent of patients and can help avoid the need for medications or surgery. For some patients, pelvic floor rehabilitation and biofeedback therapy serve as a compliment to medication.
How Does It Work?
Pelvic floor therapies vary according to each person’s need, but may include the placement of an internal probe to monitor contractions. In this technique, a small sensor probe is inserted vaginally for women or rectally formen. Small electrocardiogram(EKG) pads are then placed on the abdomen. The patient is asked to contract the pelvic floor muscles around the sensor. The goal is to isolate the pelvic muscles without using the abdominal muscles. Treatment may also include electrical stimulation, in which the sensor emits a slight pulse that causes the pelvic floor muscles to contract.
Does The Therapy Really Work?
Studies show that many patients report significant improvement or complete recovery of urine control within two to three months. The success rate depends on the patient’s condition and diligence. Pelvic floor therapy is completely safe and produces no harmful side effects. If the results are not satisfactory, all other treatment options remain available, including surgery.
What Are The Costs?
Pelvic floor therapy is covered by most insurance plans for patients with incontinence that has not responded to physical therapy.
How Long Is The Treatment?
Weekly 45-minute sessions with a nurse specialist span six to eight weeks. Between sessions, patients are encouraged to continue daily exercises on their own. After six weeks, the patient is re-evaluated and a home maintenance program is provided. As in any other part of the body, muscle strength is not maintained without continued exercise.
Common Conditions Treatable with Pelvic Floor Therapy
- Stress Incontinence — the loss of urinary control with physical activity.
- Urge Incontinence — a strong urge to urinate that is uncontrollable.
- Frequency — the need to go to the bathroom often.
- Nocturia — the need to go to the bathroom too often at night.
- Nocturnal Enuresis — bedwetting.
Other Candidates who may benefit from Pelvic Floor Therapy include patients with bladder problems associated with:
- Radical Prostatectomy
- Colon Surgery
- Previous Bladder Surgery
- Fecal Incontinence
- Pelvic Trauma
- Post Pregnancy
- Erectile Dysfunction