Regain your life: women affected by bladder control problems no longer must suffer in silence thanks to increased awareness and new treatment options offered at Hedrick Medical Center
Chillicothe, Mo. — As many as 50 percent of women will find themselves crossing their knees when they laugh, frequently seeking out the bathroom, or avoiding social situations for fear of experiencing urinary incontinence in public. Many women suffer in silence believing it is a normal part of aging. However, Amber Miller, PT, specialist in pelvic floor disorders at Hedrick Medical Center and Wright Memorial Hospital, dispels that myth and offers tips to help women of all ages break free from pelvic floor disorders.
“Women commonly say, ‘my mother or my sister has this problem, and it is just a normal part of growing older,” said Miller. “The truth is while urinary incontinence is common, it is not untreatable. In fact, there are many simple things women can do to help overcome pelvic floor disorders and regain quality of life.”
Pelvic floor disorders include problems with bladder control, bowel control (problems having a bowel movement or stool leakage), or pelvic organ prolapse (feeling pelvic pressure or bulge in the vagina) caused by weakened muscles in the pelvis.
“Urinary incontinence can have a tremendous impact on a woman’s life by restricting her social and physical activities. It is a significant reason for nursing home placement in elderly women,” said Miller. “However, women should not be embarrassed or ashamed of discussing these issues or resign themselves to wearing continence pads.”
The key is addressing the issue. Eighty to ninety percent of women treated by a specialist will experience significant symptom improvement. Treatment options include surgical and non-surgical treatments, and therapy should be individualized to the patient and her condition.
Women can improve their pelvic floor health by taking some of the following steps:
- Maintaining a normal weight
- Limiting alcohol and caffeine intake
- Avoiding constipation
- Exercising regularly
- Seeing medical attention to prevent chronic cough\Avoiding heavy lifting
- Stopping smoking
- Learning how to properly perform pelvic floor exercises, or “Kegels”
For more information about bladder control issues and pelvic floor rehabilitation, call 660-214-8170.
Hedrick Medical Center is a member of Saint Luke's Health System, which consists of 16 area hospitals and several specialty and primary care practices, and provides a range of inpatient, outpatient, and home care services. Founded as a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, our mission includes a commitment to the highest levels of excellence in health care and the advancement of medical research and education. The health system is an aligned organization in which the physicians and hospitals assume responsibility for enhancing the physical, mental, and spiritual health of people in the metropolitan Kansas City area and the surrounding region.