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Pelvic Floor Treatment Program

What is Incontinence?

Incontinence is involuntary loss of bowel or bladder control. This includes leaking urine-even just a little-when you cough or sneeze. It also includes losing urine or stool when you can't make it to the bathroom in time. Most people do not talk about incontinence becasue it is embarrassing and they think it is just a normal part of growing older.

What are behavioral treatments for incontinence?

At our office, we teach you how to get rid of your incontinence through behavioral treatment. This means we teach you as much as we can about having a healthy bladder through dietary changes, pelvic muscle exercises, and biofeedback. One of the most successful ways of treating incontinence is through biofeedback muscle re-education which helps improve sensation and muscle control.

What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback, also called surface electromyography (SEMG), is a learning technique that uses special equipment to assist a person in gaining control over natural body fuctions. For incontinence, biofeedback allows you to see what your pelvic floor muscles are doing. A small sensor reads your pelvic muscle activity and allows you to see it on the computer screen. It makes those invisible muscles very visible. With this feedback, you can learn to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and control your bladder or bowel.

Is it embarassing or painful?

Your comfort is very important to us. Everything is done in confidence. In most cases, there is no disrobing. The sensor is not painful. There is no medication, no injections, no surgery.

The National Association for Continence recommends a three month trial of pelvic muscle exercises with biofeedback before any bladder surgery. They have found that many people can get rid of their incontinence with behavioral treatments. If you are not satisfied, medications or surgery are still an option.

How does the biofeedback program work?

Please know there is hope. A sense of freedom and of being in control comes with having confidence in your bladder and bowel function.

  1. See your physician for a thorough evaluation.
  2. Get a referral to physical therapy for pelvic muscle rehabilitation.
  3. Call Providence Physical Therapy at 360.330.8844 to set up an appointment.
  4. You will meet with the Physical Therapist who will teach you about bladder/bowel health, types of incontinence, and behavioral treatments for incontinence.
  5. A biofeedback assessment will be done using either a personal sensor which you place inside the vagina or rectum or using stick-on sensors placed near your rectal opening.
  6. Based on your assessment and needs, you will be instructed in a home exercise program.
  7. You will make weekly visits until the therapist is confident you are doing the exercises correctly. Visits usually last 30-45 minutes.
  8. Once you learn how to do the exercises and feel confident you have gained control, you are on your own! This typically takes between 4-8 visits.