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Female Urinary Incontinence
Female urinary incontinence refers to a condition whereby the affected individual passes urine involuntary. The amount of urine that leaks from the infected person ranges from a small dribble to large floods, based on the extent of damage of bladder muscles and the volume of urine available in the bladder (Egton Medical Information Systems, 2014). Moreover, the signs and symptoms, and causes of urinary incontinence depend on the type of incontinence that an individual might be suffering from. In addition, the management of this condition involves wearing protective undergarments such as pads and absorbent innerwear, behavior therapies such as decreasing intake of fluids, and pelvic muscle exercises. Treatment options entail medications, surgical options such as the implantation of sling, bulking injections, insertion of external devices, and physical therapies (American Medical Systems, 2015).
Normally, there are three types of urinary incontinence; stress, urge (overactive or unstable), and mixed incontinences. Stress incontinence arises when pressure in the bladder becomes too much, to such an extent that bladder muscles fail to withstand. Patients who suffer from this type of incontinence tend to involuntary pass out urine when they are involved with activities or situations that exert sudden extra pressure (stress) on the bladder or the tummy (abdomen). Some of these activities include; physical exercises (such as running or jumping), sneezing, laughing, coughing, among others (Egton Medical Information Systems, 2014). This type of incontinence is contributed by weak pelvic floor muscles. In women, pelvic muscles are weakened by practices such as numerous childbirths, obesity, and increasing age, while among men, these muscles are weakened by some prostate cancer treatments such as radiotherapy and prostatectomy.
On the other hand, urge incontinence occurs when bladder muscles contract too early, to the extent that urine leaks before one reaches a point of disposal, such as the toilet or urinal. However, the occurrence of this condition is linked to malfunctioning of the nervous system, especially due to some neurological disorders such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson`s disease, among others. Apparently, some individuals may suffer from both urge and stress incontinence (mixed incontinence). Other causes of urinary incontinence include; overflow incontinence, nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting), congenital abnormality, functional incontinence, among others (Egton Medical Information Systems, 2014).
The U.S National Library of Medicine (2001) reveals that, the prevalence of female urinary incontinence is moderately low early in life, increases around menopause, and finally peaks during 65 years and above. Precisely, in a general population of females, the prevalence of this condition is 10 percent in teenage females, 20-30 percent in young adults, 30-40 percent in middle aged females, and 30-50 percent in elderly. Moreover, the prevalence of mixed and stress incontinence is higher compared to that of urge incontinence. The U.S National Library of Medicine (2001) also reveals that on overall, almost 13 million Americans suffer from any of these types of urinary incontinence, but the condition is far more common in women than in men, and hence the name female urinary incontinence.
The American Medical Systems (2015) show that, more than 50 percent of women who have urinary incontinence fail to reveal their symptoms with health care providers due to the embarrassment situations that are associated with this condition. Others fail to seek medical help due to lack of knowledge on how to go about it. These reasons form the baseline on why I have opted to pursue this project. The project would facilitate me in accomplishing my mission of educating and providing physical treatment to the affected individuals.
Role of physical therapy in treatment and management of urinary incontinence
Most patients who are diagnosed with urinary incontinence think that there are no available treatment options for this condition, and their only alternative is to learn on ways of living with it. However, physical therapists play a crucial role in treating this condition, such as the assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Physical therapists employ a number of strategies aimed at helping patients to correct the dysfunction of pelvic floor muscles. Physical therapists conduct patient evaluation in order to establish the type of incontinence, screening for any other musculoskeletal dysfunctions, evaluating the severity of the incontinence, the strength, motor control and endurance of pelvic floor muscles, developing patient`s exercise treatment program, and ensuring that patients contemplate their role in the treatment program (American Physical Therapy Association, 2010).
American Medical Systems, (2015). Women`s Health. Retrieved from, https://americanmedicalsystems.com/en/patients/women/female-incontinence.html
American Physical Therapy Association, (2010). Study: Physical Therapy Resolves Urinary Incontinence Symptoms in Women. Retrieved from, http://www.apta.org/Media/Releases/Consumer/2008/9/17/
Egton Medical Information Systems, (2014). Urinary incontinence. Retrieved from, http://patient.info/health/urinary-incontinence-leaflet
U.S National Library of Medicine, (2001). The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence. Retrieved from, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1476070/