As we reach the end of cold and flu season, many of my recent patients are seeking therapy because they noticed bladder leaking while they were ill. Coughing and sneezing increase pressure in the abdomen, which transfers force on to the bladder and may cause leaking if pelvic floor muscles are weak. I appreciate this opportunity to tell patients that leaking isn’t normal, even after child birth.
There are only a few, rare reasons why leaking may be expected. Like all other muscle groups, the pelvic floor may need a tune up from time to time to function at its best, especially after child birth, surgery or trauma. It often takes only a few therapy sessions to get the ball rolling and see improvement, along with 5-10 minutes of daily pelvic floor exercise and awareness of healthy bladder habits.
Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction is also related to tailbone pain, pain with intercourse, and constipation. All of these problems usually worsen over time and can become incapacitating.
Stop the myth! If you leak when you cough or sneeze, constantly look for the closest bathroom or experience pelvic pain, seek care with a physical therapist trained in pelvic floor rehabilitation.
Not sure if therapy is for you? HOPE PT and Wellness offers free consultations.
Emily Ladd, PT, OCS, CSCS, CMTPT