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The Role of Occupational Therapy in the Treatment of Incontinence and Pelvic Floor Disorders

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Did you know that incontinence is not something experienced just by “old” people or pregnant women? In fact, more than 15 million people in the United States alone – male, female, young and old – experience incontinence. While you may find it uncomfortable to discuss, it is a common issue that could affect your daily routine. Bowel and bladder incontinence can negatively impact your work life, social life, and your budget. Bowel and bladder incontinence can increase symptoms of depression, social withdrawal, anxiety, fatigue, skin irritation and infections. Individuals may experience an rise in falls, and a decrease in sexual activity. Why are you reading about incontinence on our website? Bowel and bladder incontinence and pelvic muscle dysfunction can all be addressed by your occupational therapist! We encourage you to mention your concerns to your OT, or ask for an incontinence evaluation to be sure.  

Start by asking yourself these three questions: 

- “Do I ever have a hard time making it to the bathroom on time?”

- “When I laugh, cough or stand up, do I ever experience leakage?”

-“When I need to use the bathroom, do I experience a very strong urge to rush to prevent an accident?”

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, take a moment to process and consider talking to your occupational therapist about addressing your concerns. Your therapist can devise a treatment plan and provide you with the necessary tools to become more secure, more social, less anxious, and more productive. Strategies and techniques that could minimize accidents include scheduling frequent bathroom visits, changing your diet, utilizing proper positioning techniques to reduce discomfort or pain, or choosing proper easy-on/off clothing (ie: zippers, buttons, belts, etc.). Your occupational therapist can assist in determining whether or not additional equipment could be utilized to increase safety and decrease discomfort. 

Don’t let bowel or bladder incontinence negatively impact your life! See your OT today. Don’t have an OT, yet? Come see yours! Call 248-952-4340. 

For more information on incontinence, check out the OT Practice Magazine linked below: