Pelvic Pain Support Network
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The Case of PT for Urge Incontinence

The Case of PT for Urge Incontinence

At our weekly staff meetings at PHRC, us PTs take turns presenting patient case studies to our colleagues.

Our M.O. in presenting these case studies is to cover each of the patient demographics we see here at the clinic: female pelvic pain; male pelvic pain, postpartum and pregnancy issues; and incontinence and prolapse. (Obviously, there is some overlap, especially with the latter two!)

These case study presentations have become a terrific way for us to learn from each other’s experiences. In that same spirit, we’ve decided to share them on the blog from time to time. I’ll be kicking things off with a case study that describes the role of PT in treating urge incontinence.

Patient History

The patient, who we will call “Joan” for the purposes of this case study, is a 44-year-old female with a 14-year history of urge incontinence. Joan has no children.

Also called “overactive bladder,” urge incontinence is a sudden, intense urge to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine. Patients with urge incontinence typically have only a few seconds to a minute to reach a toilet. Plus, they urinate often, including throughout the night.

For her part, Joan experienced leakage on the way to the toilet at least once a week, and she suffered with urinary frequency, urinating two times every hour. These incontinence issues greatly impacted Joan’s functioning and quality of life. She couldn’t sit through meetings at work and she avoided social activities and long walks due to a fear of leaking. By the time she sought out PT, she had come to feel as though her bladder was holding her hostage and preventing her from living her life to the fullest.


Joan’s initial goals for pelvic floor PT were twofold:...

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