Regain control with pelvic floor therapy
When you experience pelvic pain or functional problems with urinating, it can be hard to tell what's going on "down there." Bladder, kidney, and other urinary tract illnesses often share overlapping symptoms. Sometimes, it takes a visit to your medical provider to tell you what's wrong. Although clinicians typically prescribe antibiotics for infections, other issues may benefit from pelvic floor therapy — a noninvasive form of physical therapy for urinary problems, pelvic pain, and more. First, you need to know what is happening.
Pinpointing the problem
Maybe it hurts when you urinate, or you have trouble going. Or perhaps you can't get to the bathroom fast enough. Sometimes the symptoms of kidney, bladder, and other infections overlap because they apply to a single body system called the urinary tract. This is how it works in three steps:
- Your kidneys filter waste products from your blood.
- The resulting urine flows down your ureters to your bladder, where it's held until you feel the need to urinate.
- The urine leaves your body through your urethra.
Together, this system is known as your urinary tract, and people can get urinary tract infections (UTIs) at any point.
Signs and symptoms of a UTI
Often, people with a UTI in their urethra or bladder will experience a variety of signs and symptoms.
UTI signs and symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine — especially in younger women
- Burning or pain when urinating
- Confusion or weakness — especially in older people
- Frequent need to urinate but not being able to
- Urine that looks dark or clouded or smells bad
- These infections can also move upstream to one or both kidneys.
When an infection has moved to your kidneys, you may experience:
- Fever and chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain in your groin
- Pain in your kidney area — your back and side
Preventing a UTI
Sometimes, you get a UTI, and there's nothing you can do to stop it, especially if you experience recurrent infections (ones that keep coming back). Hormone changes after menopause can make some women more susceptible to UTIs. However, a few strategies can help prevent UTIs.
Women should :
- Avoid 'feminine hygiene' products such as douches or scented sprays
- Clean your genital area daily
- Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
- Limit bath time and take showers instead
- Urinate before and after sexual intercourse
- Urinate when you need to - don't hold it in
Seeing a provider for a UTI
Some people recommend home remedies, such as drinking water or cranberry juice, but these home remedies are not proven to help. It's important to see a medical provider for UTI symptoms because if not properly treated, UTIs can keep coming back or lead to more serious problems.
When it's not an infection: Pelvic floor physical therapy
What if your provider says your problems with urination or pelvic pain aren't caused by an infection? What then? If your issues are functional in nature, you may be referred for pelvic floor physical therapy .
Pelvic floor physical therapy can help men and women with:
- Pain during intercourse
- Discomfort or prolapsed (fallen) organs following pregnancy and childbirth
- Pain following prostate cancer treatment
- Problems urinating — painful urination, urgency or leaking
- Problems with bowel movements — constipation or leaking