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Ask the PT – Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

I tend to leak urine when I sneeze or cough, and sometimes have to run to make it to the bathroom. Is this a normal part of getting older, or is there something I can do to fix this issue?

Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) can affect both men and women. A large percentage of men and women have these symptoms, however they often go untreated.

It is more common for females to be diagnosed with PFD, which may have roots in pregnancy, osteoporosis, surgery in the pelvic region, endometriosis, or even heavy lifting. However, in men, PFD is much more common than once thought. For example, studies show that 95 percent of cases of chronic prostatitis in men is nonbacterial, and could indeed have a musculoskeletal origin relating to the pelvic floor.

Common symptoms of PFD for both men and women can include urinary or bowel incontinence, sexual dysfunction, lower back pain, or pelvic pain.

Ron Jagadeesh says, “It is a combination of people thinking these symptoms are a normal part of aging and a lack of awareness of pelvic floor dysfunction amongst health professionals. These symptoms are not normal and can significantly affect quality of life.” Luckily symptoms can improve with physical therapy and a dedicated Pilates practice.

Pilates-based physical therapy helps to strengthen and relax the pelvic floor muscles, bringing them back into balance. Jagadeesh and his staff educate patients on the proper way to engage the core, inner thighs, back muscles and pelvic floor, resulting in improved function in all movements.

Breathing is also an important way to improve pelvic floor health. Simply focusing on moving the diaphragm up and down during respiration can improve pelvic floor function.

If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be PFD, check with your doctor.

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