Urinary incontinence becomes more common as a woman gets older, but there are strategies for successful treatment. Dr. Halfon has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating urinary incontinence so women in and around Southwest, Florida can lead healthier, more confident lives.
What causes urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence can have several causes, but in most cases, it develops as a result of pelvic floor muscle weakness which can develop as a result of an injury, weight gain, hormonal changes, nerve or muscle issues, or even age. Vaginal birth and some types of gynecological surgery may also weaken pelvic floor muscles over time.
There are three primary types of urinary incontinence:
Stress incontinence that causes bladder leakage during physical exertion or as a result of sneezing, coughing or laughing.
Urge incontinence (also called overactive bladder) that causes frequent urges to urinate, even when sleeping at night.
Mixed incontinence, which includes both stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Different diagnostic methods are used to determine the type of incontinence that's present so treatment can be optimized based on each patient's unique needs and symptoms.
What is pelvic floor muscle therapy (PFMT)?
Pelvic floor therapy is a type of physical therapy or exercise program that focuses on the pelvic floor, including the muscles and connective tissues that help hold the pelvic organs (including the bladder, vagina, uterus, and rectum) in place. PFMT, is a painless treatment option which comes with a 70-80 % success rate of significantly improving symptoms and has no side effects.
Pelvic floor therapy begins with a health assessment and an examination to determine the existing strength of the pelvic floor muscles and to decide which exercises will be most beneficial in achieving results. Patients are taught how to identify and focus on their pelvic floor muscles so exercises are more effective. Pelvic floor stimulation is then performed in our office with a vaginal and/or rectal sensor. A mild electrical stimulus is used to stimulate pelvic muscles and causes a comfortable, timed contraction of the pelvic floor muscles. This will feel like a gentle tapping sensation and you will feel the muscle contract.
Who benefits from PFMT?
Bladder and pelvic issues affect millions of Americans. In Europe, the standard of care for every postpartum mom is to receive pelvic floor strengthening after she delivers a baby. The goal is to strengthen and rehabilitate the muscles of the pelvic floor thereby reducing the occurrence of postpartum incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse and to also help restore sexual function.
Recently, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologist have recommended this as a standard of care and we are so excited to be able to offer this program to our patients in the comfort and convenience of our office. Our goal is to return our patients to a life of health and independence.
PFMT can also treat other conditions:
Stress incontinence • Urge incontinence
Urinary frequency • Urgency
Interstitial cystitis • Chronic pelvic pain
Overactive bladder • Frequent nighttime urination
Fecal incontinence • Chronic constipation
Rectal pain • Pelvic floor relaxation
Painful sexual intercourse • Postmenopausal atrophy
How often will I need this treatment?
After your initial visit and first treatment, you return to the office for intermittent pelvic floor stimulation treatments. These follow-up visits will take approximately 30 minutes. A positive change in your symptoms should be noticed in 3 to 4 treatments if this therapy is going to be successful for you. We recommend appointments every 1 to 2 weeks initially depending on your symptoms and progress. The average number of visits is 6 to 8.
How can I tell if I'm a good candidate for pelvic floor muscle therapy?
Talk to Dr. Halfon to determine if pelvic floor therapy is a good choice and have a routine assessment. PFMT is covered by most insurance plans and restores confidence.
Is this covered by my insurance?
Many insurances cover this service with $0.00 out-of-pocket expense to you! Please call 561-798-4100 if you would like us to verify your benefits.