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Incontinence / Pelvic Health

Available at the St. Albert (Grandin Plaza) location.

Urinary incontinence is a condition that affects one out of three women. Often considered to be embarrassing, the topic is not discussed with healthcare professionals, partners or friends. According to the Canadian Continence Foundation, about half of those with incontinence do not discuss the issue with their healthcare provider.

Urinary Incontinence is not normal

A common misconception is that urinary incontinence is a normal part of the ageing process. Although it is more prevalent in post-menopausal and post-partum women, women of any age can be affected. In a study of female varsity athletes with a mean age of 19, 28% had incontinence. High impact sports, such as gymnastics, basketball and tennis, had the highest incidences. Incontinence is not normal nor is it a disease. It is a symptom and the cause should be investigated.

How physiotherapy can treat urinary incontinence

Incontinence is not inevitable and it is not irreversible. There are physiotherapy-based management strategies other than surgery and medication, including exercise, behavioural modifications and bladder retraining, which can significantly improve symptoms or eliminate the problem for some patients. Behavioural training includes lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes, modifying fluid and caffeine intake, smoking cessation, weight loss, improving bowel regularity, urge suppression techniques (which are aimed at inhibiting detrusor muscle contraction) and bladder retraining, which focuses on changing voiding habits to modify bladder function.

Studies have shown that pelvic muscle exercises are highly beneficial for those with stress incontinence. Exercises combined with bladder training are recommended in treating urge incontinence, with documented improvements in urinary leakage of 68 to 94 percent. Research suggests that for treatment of urge incontinence, exercise and behaviour modification techniques combined with drug therapy may be more effective than either treatment alone.

Pelvic floor muscle contraction (“Kegels”) for treatment of urinary incontinence

It is important to consider that less than 50% of women are able to do a pelvic floor contraction correctly with only verbal instruction. Additional feedback regarding correct muscle activation is necessary to ensure the exercises are being done correctly. Verbal feedback during palpation of muscle contraction, biofeedback and electrical stimulation can all be useful in improving perineal awareness and neuromuscular control. Electrical stimulation is an effective treatment for an overactive bladder and is a useful adjunct for increasing muscle tone and trophism.

Pelvic floor muscle re-education and behavioural techniques are effective at improving or resolving stress, urge and mixed urinary incontinence and cause no side effects. This makes them the optimal first choice of treatment for incontinence. If you have a condition that is not appropriate for conservative treatment with pelvic floor muscle re-education or behavioural techniques, your physiotherapist will inform you so that you can discuss appropriate options with your doctor.

Male Urinary Incontinence and Pelvic Pain

It is not just women who are affected by incontinence and pelvic pain. Men can also experience problems in this area often after surgeries such as prostectomies and various other injuries and life conditions. It is not well known that treatment is available and there are very few therapists who treat men with these conditions. We are very fortunate to have a Physical Therapist (Jenna Truelove) who has specific training in treating men. Treatment success allows men to return to a comfortable life without incontinence and once again enjoy their daily activities.

South Edmonton

10947 – 23 Avenue
Edmonton , AB
T6J 7B9

Tel: 780-988-5803
Fax: 780-988-5804


Grandin Plaza

#508, 1 Tache Street
St. Albert, AB
T8N 1B4

Tel: 780-458-0255
Fax: 780-460-9796


51st Avenue

10393-51 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T6H 0K4

Tel: 780-989-9789
Fax: 780-989-9788


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