Incontinence and Pelvic Floor Program

Published On 07/11/2011

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Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation is offered at Methodist Germantown Outpatient Rehab, located on the campus of the Jewish Community Center, 6560 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN 38138. Contact them at 901.767.3061.

This program offers conservative management of incontinence, pelvic pain as well as pre- and post-partum complications. We utilize physical therapy techniques, including therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, electrical modalities, ultrasound and bio feedback to treat disorders of the pelvis.

Treatments consist of one-on-one physical therapy sessions, usually lasting 1 to 1-1/2 hours. An average patient will have 4 to 6 visits over a 2-3 month period. Most patients are referred by their urogynecologist, urologist, OB/GYN or family practitioner.

Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is a leakage of small amounts of urine when there is increased pressure on the bladder. This can happen with exercise, sneezing, coughing, lifting or other activities. Stress incontinence usually results from weakness and lack of supportin the muscles of the pelvic floor. These are the muscles that work to strengthen the lower back, stabilize the pelvic bones and help with sexual function. 

Causes of under active pelvic floor muscles include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Injury or trama
  • Surgery in the vagina or rectum
  • Episiotomy (during childbirth)
  • Lack of exercise and lack of use

Women with stress incontinence often have "under active" pelvic floor muscles. Physical therapy treatment involves activating and strengthening these important muscles.

Urge Incontinence

Urge Incontinence is the leakage of medium to large amounts of urine when a person feels a sudden strong urge to urinate. Physical therapy treatment involves improving control and awareness of the pelvic floor muscles, as well as activating and strengthening them. 

Some possible causes of urge incontinence are: 

  • Poor sensation and not being aware that the bladder is full
  • Neurologic problems such as stroke
  • Enlarged prostate in men
  • Malfunction of the bladder 

Mixed Incontinence

Mixed incontinence symptoms of both stress and urge incontinence. Possible causes can include any combination of the causes of stress and urge incontinence . Treatment also needs to address both contributions.

Functional Incontinence

Functional Incontinence is urine leakage that occurs when a person can not get to the toilet in time. Physical therapy treatment for functional incontinence involves improving mobility and learning ways to plan for bladder control. 

Causes include:

  • Joint pain or muscle weakness
  • Problems with mobility
  • Confusion, dementia or delirium
  • Environmental barriers (i.e., the bathroom is too far away, use of a walker or cane, too many obstacles to navigate around)
  • Psychological problems such as depression or anger