Revitalize Physical Therapy Blog

Scary Statistics

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A recent poll about female bladder control confirmed a very saddening fact- too many women are suffering in silence. The University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, in conjunction with AARP, conducted the national poll under the direction of Dr. Preeti Malani, a professor at the university with a specialization in geriatric medicine. Over 1,000 women between the ages of fifty and eighty responded to the survey. Some of the most disturbing statistics that emerged from the poll are as follows:

 

  • Almost 50% of women in the targeted age bracket experience urinary incontinence
  • Of these women, approximately 33% experience symptoms almost every day
  • According to respondents, the most common triggers associated with leakage were coughing or sneezing (79%), while en route to the bathroom (64%), laughing (49%), and exercising (37%)
  • Approximately 66% of these women have not discussed this with their physicians
  • 41% of women experiencing urinary incontinence reported that this issue is either a “major problem” or “somewhat of a problem”
  • Only 38% of poll respondents participate in a pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercise program

 

We live in society where marketing and misinformation has conditioned many to believe that urinary incontinence is simply par for the aging course. Adult diaper products and advertisements bombard us in our pharmacies and on television, and this subtly communicates the message that incontinence is inescapable. Too many women have been trained to believe that urinary incontinence is a normal part of the aging process. While continence may prove to be more challenging as one gets older due to physiological and hormonal changes, it is not inevitable.

 

Pelvic floor muscle strengthening, or uptraining, is an evidenced based approach for improving continence. Women who experience urinary incontinence should discuss these symptoms with their doctors and request prescriptions for pelvic floor physical therapy. Obviously, this is a sensitive and delicate topic, and it is understandable that women may feel awkward initiating a conversation of this nature. However, it’s probably even more uncomfortable and depressing to resign oneself to a fate of eternal leaking.

 

If you or someone you know stands to benefit from a pelvic floor uptraining program, please contact us at Revitalize Physical Therapy. We specialize in treating men, women, and children experiencing urinary incontinence, and we can offer you a personalized treatment plan and home exercise program. We look forward to helping you along your healing journey!

APP-solutely Amazing

Multimedia Tablet Technology House Smart Home

Admittedly, I am not the most technologically savvy individual. As my web-designer, my friends who work at Google (who patiently field my many questions), and basically anyone who has ever met me already knows, I know enough to outsource most tasks that involve a plug and an outlet (#noshame). I kid you not when I share that one of the highlights of my week thus far was independently figuring out (okay, fine, with a little help from the internet) how to import photographs from my phone onto my laptop. I believe my grandmother has already been doing that for years.

That being said, I appreciate when others who are fluent in devices, computers, and programming create tools which enhance my life and the lives of my patients. I have recently been introduced to several mobile apps which are extremely beneficial for patients with pelvic floor dysfunction, and I would like to highlight three of those apps in today’s blog.

Pelvic Track

Pelvic Track is an incredible and comprehensive app developed by Dr. Evelyn Hecht. The app allows patients to keep track of exercises, enter information into bladder and bowel diaries, monitor symptoms, and set reminders for themselves (ex. “relax your pelvic floor” at set times throughout the day). The app provides helpful pictures and explanations of the exercises as well as self-help techniques. I encourage pelvic floor therapists to introduce their patients to Pelvic Track, especially ones who love having their homework consolidated in one easy to use application.

Seconds Pro Interval Timer

For patients who get bored of counting the seconds remaining to their monotonous endurance Kegel contraction, Seconds Pro Interval Timer is the perfect app. Instead of counting oneself, this interval training timer app will do all the work for patients while they enjoy music, watch Netflix, or daydream. The patient can customize both the squeeze/hold time as well as the rest time, and they can modify both factors as they get stronger and can holder for longer periods of time. Patients can also monitor heart rate and calories burned during the workout.

Perifit

Biofeedback is a modality employed by pelvic floor physical therapists to teach proper muscle recruitment, relaxation, isolation, and discrimination patterns. It is a technique in which a typically unconscious physiological process is presented to the patient (and therapist) as visual or auditory signals. Many patients who appreciate biofeedback and the positive educational experience it offers have expressed that they wished there was an equivalent home version. Thanks to developers in Europe, there is now. The Perifit is an internal sensor that connects through Bluetooth to one’s smartphone. The user opens the app and can perform pelvic floor exercises with feedback from the sensor appearing on their phone. The company claims, “This is about as fun as you can get training your pelvic floor muscles,” and my own patients have confirmed that assertion. In fact, one postpartum mother told me that she would recommend this innovative technology to all postpartum clients, because the Perifit provided extra motivation and allowed for greater ease in tracking progress.

So there you have my top three pelvic floor apps! I am excited to see how future technological advances will converge with and benefit pelvic health and wellness. It is an ever-unfolding story that possesses abundant potential.