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Understanding Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a condition that our Manager of Physical Therapy, Lori Walker, treats often. She is a licensed physical therapist and is passionate about helping educate and spread resources to both men and women about the treatments available as well spread awareness regarding the number of people who experience it; urinary incontinence is likely more common than you’d expect.

Around 25 million people experience urinary incontinence. Walker utilizes different therapy techniques for people with stress, urge, or mixed urinary incontinence daily and explains that there is no reason to feel embarrassed or isolated because of it. Like any part of the body, these muscles can weaken. Meeting with your doctor about incontinence, Walker insists, is no different than seeking medical attention for any other part of the body and is an important step to help relieve or resolve symptoms.

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence can be categorized as stress, urge, or a mix that often stems from wear and tear on the body from aging or trauma.  Aging and life events like delivering a baby, loss of estrogen, lifestyle, or some surgeries can cause incontinence in both men and women, though it is often more frequent in women.

  • Stress. Stress incontinence is linked to events causing involuntary loss of urine like coughing, lifting, exercise, etc. These movements can cause stress on the weakened muscles and result in incontinence. Because of this, people may avoid exercise or socializing for fear of their loss of control, which can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression as well.
  • Urge. Urge incontinence occurs when you have a sudden urge to urinate or involuntarily lose urine. It is not a disease on its own, but symptomatic of other problems that your physician can address with you like diabetes, bladder irritation, and others.
  • Mixed. In many cases, people may suffer from a combination of the two incontinences which is referred to as mixed incontinence.


Lori Walker’s biggest message to those suffering from urinary incontinence is to speak up. In most cases, therapy can considerably reduce or completely resolve symptoms and increase a patient’s quality of life. Treatment is non-invasive and unlike many other types of therapy, it is not overly time consuming. Most exercises are taught in a therapy session once a week, and then done by patients on their own. Significant results are often seen in just 4-6 short weeks.

What Therapy Can Look Like

There are multiple therapy options, depending on the needs of each patient. The end goal is to strengthen the weakened muscles and encourage proper muscle functions. This can include:

  • Pelvic floor strengthening
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Bio feedback
  • Bladder Retraining
  • Diet and lifestyle modification

Good Bladder Habits for Prevention

To help lower your risk of urinary incontinence, Lori Walker shares her good bladder habits and prevention tips that people can do early on.

  1. Don’t empty your bladder when it isn’t full. Forcing yourself to continually use the restroom preventatively before your body produces the “urge” can train your bladder to feel full before it actually is full.
  2. Exercise to keep your body strong. Stress incontinence is often linked to weakened muscles, so keeping a strong body is an important part of prevention. Practicing Kegels can strengthen pelvic floor muscles, but keeping a strong core (including your abs, pelvic floor, back, and hips) is also important for good muscle function.
  3. Have healthy nutrition and hydration. Keeping your body weight in control and eating food that brings plenty of nourishment to your body is also an important part of prevention.


For those experiencing urinary incontinence, Lori Walker, PT, MPT urges women to talk with their primary care physician or gynecologist about their condition. There are medical, surgical, and therapy treatments to help reduce or completely resolve urinary incontinence. For more information about other services at Crittenton Rehabilitation facilities, call us at (586) 992-0869 or visit our webpage.


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