On this episode of the Healthy, Wealthy and Smart Podcast, I welcome Dr. Sarah Haag to talk about exercise and urinary incontinence. This interview was part of the JOSPT Asks interview series. Sarah is the co-owner of Entropy Physiotherapy and Wellness in Chicago. Sarah was awarded the Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy (CAPP) from the Section on Women’s Health. She went on to get her Doctorate of Physical Therapy and Masters of Science in Women’s Health from Rosalind Franklin University in 2008. In 2009 she was awarded a Board Certification as a specialist in women’s health (WCS). Sarah also completed a Certification in Mechanical Diagnosis Therapy from the Mckenzie Institute in 2010.
In this episode, we discuss:
- The prevalence of urinary incontinence
- Is urinary incontinence normal
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Pelvic floor exam for the non-pelvic health PT
- Sports specific pelvic health dysfunction
- And much more
More Information about Dr. Haag:
Sarah graduated from Marquette University in 2002 with a Master’s of Physical Therapy. Sarah has pursued an interest in treating the spine, pelvis with a specialization in women’s and men’s health. Over the years, Sarah has seized every opportunity available to her in order to further her understanding of the human body, and the various ways it can seem to fall apart in order to sympathetically and efficiently facilitate a return to optimal function. Sarah was awarded the Certificate of Achievement in Pelvic Physical Therapy (CAPP) from the Section on Women’s Health. She went on to get her Doctorate of Physical Therapy and Masters of Science in Women’s Health from Rosalind Franklin University in 2008. In 2009 she was awarded a Board Certification as a specialist in women’s health (WCS). Sarah also completed a Certification in Mechanical Diagnosis Therapy from the Mckenzie Institute in 2010. Sarah has completed a 200 hour Yoga Instructor Training Program, and is now a Registered Yoga Teacher.
Sarah looks at education, and a better understanding of the latest evidence in the field of physical therapy, as the best way to help people learn about their conditions, and to help people learn to take care of themselves throughout the life span.
Read the Full Transcript below:
Speaker 1 (00:06:25):
So, and hopefully it doesn’t want to lose what we’re doing here. We’ll see. Okay. Going live now. Okay. Welcome everyone to JLS. PT asks hello and welcome to the listeners. This is Joe SPT asks the weekly chat where you, the audience get your questions answered. My name is Claire Arden. I’m the editor in chief of Joe SPT. And it’s really great to be chatting with you this week, before we get to our guest. I’d like to say a big thanks for the terrific feedback that we’ve had since launching [inaudible] a week ago. We really appreciate your feedback. So please let us know if there’s a guest that you’d like to hear from, or if you have some ideas for the show today, we’re in for a very special treat because not only are we joined by dr. Sarah hake from entropy physio, but guest hosting [inaudible] asks today is dr. Karen Litzy who you might know from the healthy, wealthy and smart podcast. Dr. Lexi is also a new Yorker. And I think I can speak for many of us when I say that New York has been front of mind recently with the coronavirus pandemic. And I’d like to extend our very best wishes to everyone in New York where we’re thinking of you. So I’m going to throw to Karen now. We’re, I’m really looking forward to chat today on pelvic floor incontinence and exercise over to you, Karen.
Speaker 1 (00:08:25):
Hi everyone, Claire. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your giving me the opportunity to be part of J O S P T asks live stream. So I’m very excited about this and I’m also very excited to talk with dr. Sarah Hagar. Sarah is an educator, a clinician, and an author. She is also co-owner of entropy wellness and our physiotherapy and wellness in Chicago, Illinois, and is also a good
Speaker 2 (00:08:56):
Friend of mine. So it’s really a an honor for me to be on here. So Sarah, welcome. Thank you so much. I was really excited that all this came together so beautifully. Yes. And, and again like Claire had mentioned, we’re all experiencing some pretty unprecedented times at the moment. And the hope of these J O S P T asks live streams is to continue to create that sense of community among all of us, even though we can’t be with each other in person, but we can at least do this virtually. And as Claire said, last week, we want to acknowledge our frontline healthcare workers and colleagues across the world for their dedication and care to those in need. And again, like Claire said before, a special shout out to my New York city colleagues, we are they are really working like no other.
Speaker 2 (00:09:52):
And I also want to acknowledge not just our healthcare colleagues and workers, but the scientists, the grocery store workers, the truck drivers the pharmacist, police, firefighter paramedics, they’re all working at full capacity to keep the wheels turning around the world. So I just want to acknowledge them as well and thank them for all of their hard work during this time. Okay. So, like Claire said today, we’re going to be talking about the pelvic floor, which is something Sarah loves to talk about because what I also, I also failed to mention is she is a certified pelvic health practitioner. So through the American physical therapy association. So she is perfectly positioned to take us through. And as a lot of, you know, we had, you had the opportunity to go onto Slido to ask questions. You can still do that. Even throughout this talk, just use the code pelvic that’s P E L V I C, and ask some questions.
Speaker 2 (00:10:57):
So we do have a lot of questions. I don’t know if we’re going to get to all of them. So if we don’t then certainly post them in the Facebook chat and maybe Sarah can find those questions in the chat below. And we’ll try and get to those questions after the recording has finished. All right, Sarah. So like I said, lots of questions and the way the questions were, were written out, kind of corresponds quite well with maybe how you would see a patient in the clinic. So let’s start with the patient comes into your clinic. They sit down in front of you. Let’s talk about the words we would use in that initial evaluation. So I’ll throw it over to you. Okay. So being a pelvic health therapist, obviously most people when they’re coming to females, Things that happen in the pelvis, I like to acknowledge it, that there’s a lot of things happening in the past. So I have
Speaker 1 (00:11:54):
Them tell me kind of what are the things that have been bothering them or what are the things that have been happening that indicate something might be going on? Like if something’s hurting, if they’re experiencing incontinence, any bowel issues, any sexual dysfunction. And, and I kind of go from there. So if the talk that’s the title of the talk today includes incontinence. Continence is a super common issue that let’s see in general might pop in. And if you would bother to ask there’s actually, I think it’s like one out of two people over 60 are experiencing incontinence of some kind. The answer is going to be yes, some, so you can start asking more questions. But starting out with what, what is bothering them is really what I like to start with. Then the next thing we need to know is after we vet that issue or that priority list of things that are bothering them in the pelvis, and it’s not uncommon actually to have.
Speaker 1 (00:13:00):
So let’s say they start with a discussion of incontinence. I still actually ask about sexual function, any pain issues, any bowel issues, just based on the innervation of the various, the anatomical arrangement of everything. It’s not uncommon to have more than one issue, but those other issues might not be bothersome enough to mention. So it’s kind of nice to get that full picture. Then the next thing we really want art. So there are times I’ve met women who come in and they’re like, Oh yeah, you know, I have incontinence. And you’re like, okay. So when did it start now? Like 25 years ago. Okay. Do you remember what happened then? Typically it was a baby, but sometimes these women will notice that their incontinence didn’t happen to like four or five years after the baby. Hmm. So that’s information, that’s very help if they say my baby that was born six weeks ago, our interventions and expectations are going to be very different than someone who’s been having incontinence for 25 years.
Speaker 1 (00:14:05):
So again, knowing how it started and when it happens, when the issues are happening, I just kind of let them, it’s like a free text box on a form. Like just, they can tell me so much more excuse me. And when we are talking about things, we, I do talk anatomy. So when it comes to incontinence, I talk about the bladder and the detrusor, the smooth muscle around the bladder, the basically the hose that takes the urine from the bladder to the outside world. I do talk about the vagina and the vulva and the difference between the two. And then actually we do talk about like the anus and the anal sphincters and how all of that is is all there together and supported by the pelvic floor.
Speaker 1 (00:14:54):
Cause that’s in physical therapy, it’s going to be something with that pelvic floor or something. Drought, does it need to be more, more pelvic floor focused or does it need to be behaviorally focused, which is the case sometimes, or is it that kind of finding that perfect Venn diagram of both for those issues that the person’s having? And let’s say you’re in a part of the world. One of the questions was what if you’re I think this question came from Asia and they said, what if you’re in part of the world where you have to be a little bit, maybe more sensitive around even the words that you use. I know we had gotten a question a couple of years ago about a woman in the Southern part of the United States that was from very conservative area. And do we even use these words with these patients?
Speaker 1 (00:15:48):
So what is your response to that? My response is that as healthcare providers, we are responsible, I think for educating people and using appropriate words and making sure people understand the anatomy like where things are and what they’re supposed to be doing. However, definitely when I’m having this conversation with someone I want them to feel at ease. So like I will use the Ana vagina anus, anal sphincters Volvo, not, it’s not a vagina, it’s a Volvo it’s on the outside. But then if they use different terms to refer to the anatomy, we’re discussing, I’m happy to code, switch over to what they’re most comfortable with because they need to be comfortable. But I think as, as again, healthcare practitioners, if we’re not comfortable with the area, we’re not going to make them feel very comfortable about discussing those issues. Right.
Speaker 1 (00:16:43):
And that makes a lot of sense. Thank you for that. So now let’s say you, the person kind of told you what’s going on and let’s, let’s talk about when you’re taking the history for women with incontinence, especially after pregnancy, are there key questions you like to ask? Yes. So my, my gals that I’m seeing, especially when they’re relatively relatively early in the postpartum period, are the things I’m interested in is did they experience this incontinence during their pregnancy? And did they have issues before pregnancy? And then also if this is not their first, tell me about the first birth or the, or the first two birth. So the first three birth to really get an idea of is this a new issue or is this kind of an ongoing marked by so kind of getting a bigger picture of it.
Speaker 1 (00:17:49):
And then also that most recent birth we want to know, was it vaginal? Was it C-section with vaginal birth? If there’s instrumentation use, so if they needed to use forceps or a vacuum that increases the likelihood that the pelvic floor went over, went under a bit of trauma and possibly that resulted in a larger lab. And even if there isn’t muscles, it’s understandable that things might work well, if it’s really small and if it’s still healing you know, different, different things like that. So understanding the, kind of like the recent birth story, as well as their bladder story going back. So you’ve met first baby or before that first baby so that we know where, where we’re starting from. And the, the reason why I do that is because again, if it’s a longterm issue, we have to acknowledge the most recent event and also understand there was something else happening that, that we need to kind of look at.
Speaker 1 (00:18:58):
So would I expect it all to magically go away? No, I wouldn’t. There’s probably something else we need to figure out, but if it’s like, Nope, this onset happened birth of my baby three months ago, it’s been happening since then three months is, seems like forever and is also no time whatsoever. It took 10 months to make the baby. So it’s you know, if you tear your hamstring, we’re expecting you to start feeling better in three months, but you’re probably not back to your peak performance. So where are we in that? And sometimes time will cure things. Things will continue to heal, but also that would be a time like how good are things working? Is there something else going on that maybe we could facilitate or have them reach continence a bit sooner. Okay, great. And do you also ask questions around if there was any trauma to the area?
Speaker 1 (00:19:56):
So if this birth was for example, the product of, of a rape or of some other type of trauma, is that a question that you ask or do you, is that something that you hope they bring up? It’s, that’s honestly for me and my practice, something, I try to leave all of the doors wide open for them to, to share that in my experience you know, I’ve worked places where it is on it’s on the questionnaire that they fill out from the front desk and they’ll circle no to, to any sort of trauma in the past.
Speaker 1 (00:20:34):
Yeah. They just, they don’t want to circle yes. On that form. So and also I kind of treat everybody like they might have something in their past, right. So very nonjudgmental, very safe place, always making them as comfortable in a safe as possible. And I will say that there’s anything I can do to make you feel more comfortable and more safe. We can do that. And if you don’t feel safe and comfortable, we’re not doing this w we’re going to do something else. Cause you’re right. That it’s always one of those lingering things. And the statistics on abuse and, and rape are horrifying to the point where, again, in my practice, I kind of assume that everybody has the possibility of having something in their past. Okay, great. Thank you. And now another question that’s shifting gears. Another question that came up that I think is definitely worthy of an answer is what outcome measures or tools might you use with with your incontinence patients? So with incontinence, honestly, my favorite is like an oldie buddy, but a goodie, like just, it’s an IC, it’s the international continents questionnaire where it’s, I think it’s five or six questions. Just simple. Like how often does this happen? When does it happen?
Speaker 1 (00:21:58):
There’s a couple of other outcome measures that do cover, like your bladder is not empty. Are you having feelings of pressure in your lower abdomen? It gets into some bowel and more genital function. Can you repeat that? Cause it kind of froze up for a second. So could you repeat the name of that outcome tool as it relates to the bladder and output? Oh, sorry. I see. IQ is one and then, but like I see IQ vs which renal symptoms, right? So there are, there’s a lot of different forms out there. Another one that will gather up information about a whole bunch of things in the pelvis is the pelvic floor distress bins questions about bowel function, bladder function, sexual function discomfort from pressure or pain. So that can give you a bigger picture. I’ll be honest. Sometimes my, the people in my clinic they’re coming in, and even though I will ask the questions about those things, when they get the, the questionnaire with all of these things that they’re like, this doesn’t apply to me. I’m like, well, that’s great that it doesn’t apply to you, but they don’t love filling, filling it out. So sometimes what I will go with is actually just the pale.
Speaker 1 (00:23:24):
Can you say that again? Please help me. Oh yeah. Oh, so sorry. The patient’s specific functional scale where, where the patient says, this is what I want to have happen. And we kind of figured out where they are talk about what would need to happen to get them there, but it’s them telling what better. Right. Cause I’ve had people actually score perfect on some of these outcome measures, but they’re still in my office. So it’s like, Oh, I’m so patient specific is one of my one of my kind of go tos. And then there’s actually a couple of, most of these pelvic questionnaires finding one that you like is really helpful because, because there’s so many and they really all or discomfort. So if you have a really good ability to take a really good history, some of the questions on that outcome measure end up being a bit redundant.
Speaker 1 (00:24:26):
So I like, and you know the questions on there, make sure people are filling them out. You look at them before you ask them all the questions that they just filled out on the form for you. Yes. Good. Very good advice. So then the patient doesn’t feel like they’re just being piled on with question after question and cause that can make people feel uncomfortable when maybe they’re already a little uncomfortable coming to see someone for, for whatever their problem or dysfunction is. So that’s a really good point. And now here’s a question that came up a couple of times, you know, we’re talking about incontinence, we’re talking about women, we’re talking about pregnancy. What about men? So is this pelvic floor dysfunction? Is this incontinence a women only problem? Or can it be an everybody problem? So it very much can be an everybody problem. Incontinence in particular for men, the rates for that are much lower. And typically the men are either much older or they are they’ve undergone frustrate removal for prostate cancer.
Speaker 1 (00:25:33):
Fleur plays a role in getting them to be dry or at least dryer. And then it’s like the pelvic floor is not working right. That can result in pain. It can result in constipation. It can result in sexual dysfunction. It can result in bladder issues. So it’s, so yes, men can have all of those things. In fact, last night we had a great talk in our mentorship group at entropy about hard flacid syndrome. So this is a syndrome with men where everything is normal when they go get, get tested, no no infections, no cancers, no tumors, no trauma that they can recall. And, but the penis is not able to become functional and direct. And with a lot of these men, we’re finding that it’s more of a pelvic floor dysfunction issue, or at least they respond to pelvic floor interventions.
Speaker 1 (00:26:30):
So having a pelvic floor that does what it’s supposed to, which is contract and relax and help you do the things you want to do. If, if we can help people make sure that they’re doing that can resolve a lot of issues and because men have pelvic floors, they can sometimes have pelvic floor dysfunction. Okay, great. Yeah. That was a very popular question. Is this a woman only thing? So thank you for clearing up that mystery for everyone. Okay. So in going through your evaluation, you’ve, you’ve asked all your questions, you’re getting ready for your objective exam. What do you do if you’re a clinician who does not do internal work, is there a way to test these pelvic floor muscles and to do things without having to do internal work? My answer for that question is yes, there are things that you can do because even though I do do internal exams, I have people who come to see me who are like, no, we’re not doing that.
Speaker 1 (00:27:31):
So, so where can we start? And so the first one is pants on and me not even touching you pelvic floor, I wouldn’t really call it an assessment or self report. So even just sitting here, if you, if you were to call me up and and this actually goes into, I think another question that was on Slido about pelvic floor cues. So there is actually then it seems more research on how to get a mail to contract this pelvic floor then actually females. But I would ask you like like this is one that my friend Julie, we would use. So like if you’re sitting there and you just sit up nice and tall, if you pretend you’re trying to pick up a Ruby with your PA with your vagina is not on the outside, but imagine like there’s just a Ruby on the chair and you’d like to pick it up with no hands, breathe in and breathe out and let it go. So then I would go, did you feel anything and you should have felt something happen or not. So if, if you did it, would you mind telling me what you built? You’re asking me, Oh my goodness. Oh yes. I did feel something. So I did feel like I could pick the Ruby up and hold it and drop it.
Speaker 1 (00:29:04):
Excellent. And that’s, and that, that drop is key. Excellent. So what I would say is this is like like a plus, like a, I can’t confirm or deny you that you did it correctly, but I like, I would have watched you hold your, like she holding my breath. Is she getting taller? Cause she’s using her glutes. Did she just do a crunch? When she tried to do this, I can see external things happening that would indicate you’re might be working too hard or you might be doing something completely wrong. So then we’ll get into, I mean, you said, yes. I felt like I pick up the Ruby, but if it’s like, Hmm, I felt stuffed, but I’m not really sure we would use our words because they’ve already said no to hands to figure that out. But again, I can’t confirm it. People are they’re okay with that.
Speaker 1 (00:29:48):
And I’m like, and if what we’re doing based on the information you gave me, isn’t changing, we might go to step two. If you can send in step two is actually something, any orthopedic therapist honestly, should not feel too crazy doing. So if anyone has ever palpated the origin of the hamstring, so where is the origin of the hamstring facial tuberosity? If you go just medial to that along the inside part get, don’t go square in the middle. That’s where everyone gets a little nervous and a little tense, but if you just Pell paid around that issue, tuberosity it’s pretty awesome. If you have a, a friend or a colleague who’s willing to let this happen is you ask them to do a poll of our different cues with that in a little bit. You say that again, ask them to do what to contract the pelvic floor.
Speaker 1 (00:30:44):
Okay. And again, figuring out the right words so that they know what you’re talking about. We can talk about that in a minute, but if they do a pelvic floor contraction, you’re going to feel kind of like the bulging tension build, right there may be pushing your fingers. You should feel it kind of gather under your fingers. It shouldn’t like push your fingers away, but then you can be like, well, you could test their hamstring and see that you’re not on the hamstring and you can have them squeeze your glutes and you can kind of feel the differences. The pelvic floor is just there at the bottom of the pelvis. So you can palpate externally, even through BlueJeans is a bit of a challenge, but if they’re in you know, like their workout shorts for yoga pants, it’s actually very, very simple. And, and honestly, as long as you explained to them what you’re doing and what you’re checking for, it’s no different than palpating the issue of tuberosity for any other reason.
Speaker 1 (00:31:36):
And with that, I tell them that I can, it’s more like a plus minus, so I can tell that you contracted and that you let go. That’s all I can tell. So I can’t tell you how strong you are, how good your relaxation Wells, how long you could hold it for any of those things. And then I tell them with an internal exam, we would get a lot of information we could, we can test left to, right? We can, I could give you more of like a muscle grade. So like that zero to five scale be use for other muscles. We can use that for the pelvic floor. I can get a much better sense of your relaxation and see how was that going and I can even offer some assistance. So so we have two really good options for no touching.
Speaker 1 (00:32:19):
And then just as long as we understand the information we might gain from an internal exam, we can, we can, the information we gathered from the first two ways, isn’t sufficient to make a change for them. And then as let’s say, the non pelvic health therapist, which there might be several who are gonna watch this, when do we say, you know, something? I think it’s time that we refer you to a pelvic health therapist, because I do think given what you’ve said to me and you know, maybe we did step one and two here of your exams. I think that you need a little bit more. So when do, when is that decision made to reach the point of, they have a bother that I don’t know how to address so we can actually go to like the pelvic organ prolapse. So pelvic organ prolapse is, is when the support for either the bladder, the uterus, or even the rectum starts to be less supportive and things can kind of start to fall into the vaginal wall and can give a feeling of like pressure in with activity the sensation can get.
Speaker 1 (00:33:39):
So then we have two options, which is more support from below with perhaps a stronger meatier pelvic floor by like working it out to hypertrophy. So like if, if I had someone who had that feeling when they were running and we tried a couple are lifting weights, let’s go lifting weights. No, like I feel it once I get to like a 200 pound deadlift. Okay, well, let’s see how you’re lifting when you’re doing 150 and let’s take a look at what you’re doing at 200 in fresh with your mechanics or what’s happening. And if there’s something that is in your wheelhouse where you’re like, well, can you try this breath? Or can you try it this way and see if that feeling goes away? I’m good with that. And if the, that the person who’s having issue is good with that. Awesome. But if you’re trying stuff or the incontinence is not changing, send them to a pelvic floor therapist, because what we love to do is we can check it out.
Speaker 1 (00:34:41):
We’re going to check it out. We’re going to give some suggestions. And then my, the end of every one of those visits that I get from my, from my orthopedic or sports colleagues is I’m like, excellent. So you’re going to work on this, keep doing what you’re doing. Cause another really common thing is like, is I don’t really believe that they can make a lot of these things worse doing the things that they’re doing. And by that, I mean, they can become more simple MADEC, but in many cases you’re not actually making the situation worse. So if the symptoms seem to be not getting better or even getting worse, doing the things they’re doing, they go come back to the pelvic floor therapist. And then that pelvic floor therapist also has a responsibility that the things I’m asking them to do, isn’t helping them get there.
Speaker 1 (00:35:29):
You can try something a little more intense, still not helping. Then that’s when I actually would refer for females, especially with like pelvic pressure. So Euro gynecologist for an assessment in that regard. Yeah. So I think I heard a couple of really important things there. And that’s one, if you are the sports therapist or the orthopedic physiotherapist, and you have someone that needs pelvic health support, you can refer them to the pelvic health therapist and you can continue seeing them doing the things you’re doing. So just because they’re having incontinence or they’re having some pressure, let’s say it’s a pelvis, pelvic organ prolapse. It doesn’t mean stop doing everything you’re doing.
Speaker 3 (00:36:12):
Speaker 1 (00:36:15):
Correct. Okay. Yeah. It may mean modify what you’re doing. Stop some of what you’re doing, listen to the pelvic floor therapist. And I’m also seeing, well now we’re, aren’t we this great cause we’re creating great team around this, around this person to help support them in their goals. So one doesn’t negate the other. Absolutely correct. And I, and I think too often even, even within the PT world is people start to get kind of territorial. But it’s not about what each one of us is doing. It’s that person. Right. so telling them to stop doing something, especially if it’s something they love it seems like a bad start. It’s like, okay, let’s take a look at this. Tell me what you are doing. Tell me what you want to be doing. Tell me what’s happening when you do that. And let’s see if we can change it.
Speaker 1 (00:37:02):
Cause like I said, like the, the other, that being something they’re going to make worse and worse and worse is if symptoms get worse and worse and worse, but they’re not causing damage, they’re not causing, I mean, what they’re doing and say leaking a bit. Got it. And now I’m going to take a slight detour here because you had mentioned pelvic organ prolapse. You had mentioned, there comes a time when, if that pressure is not relieving, you’ve tried a lot of different things. You would refer them to a urogynecologist now several years ago. They’re so you’re, you’re a gynecologist. One of their treatments might be surgery. So there was pelvic mesh sweats. It’s hard to say pelvic mesh surgery that years ago made some people better and made some people far, far worse with, with some very serious ramifications. So can you talk about that pelvic mesh mesh surgery and where we are now?
Speaker 1 (00:38:04):
Oh, the last bit cut out a little bit. So the pelvic mess, mess surgery and, and Oh, the most important part and kind of where we are now versus maybe where we were, let’s say a decade ago or so. Awesome. Yeah. So, so the pelvic mesh situation certainly here, I think it’s not a universal problem. I think it’s a United States problem is if you’re at home during the day, like most of us are now you will see law commercials, lawyers looking for your business to discuss the mesh situation on what’s happening is there was there were, it was mesh erosion and the resulting fact that that was a lot of pain because they couldn’t just take it all out. And it was several women suffered and are still sad.
Speaker 3 (00:38:55):
Speaker 1 (00:38:55):
But that was from a particular type of surgery with a particular type of surgical kit, which thankfully has, was removed completely from the market and isn’t being used anymore and mesh surgeries, I would say at least for the last five to 10 years, haven’t haven’t been using that and mesh surgeries are being done with great success in resolving symptoms. So I think it’s important that if a woman isn’t responding
Speaker 3 (00:39:27):
Speaker 1 (00:39:30):
Well changing their breath or making a pelvic floor or changing how they’re doing things is to have that discussion with the Euro gynecologist because they do have nonsurgical options for super mild prolapse. There are some even like over the counter options you can buy like poise has one where it’s just a little bit of support that helps you. Actually not leak because if you’re having too much movement of the urethra, it can cause stress or it can be contributing to stress incontinence. But so there’s some over the counter things or there’s something called a pessary, which I think about it. Like I’m like a tent pole, but it’s not a pole. It’s a circle don’t worry or a square or a donut. There’s so many different shapes, but it’s basically something you put in the vagina and that you can take out of the vagina that just kind of holds everything back up where it belongs, so it can work better.
Speaker 1 (00:40:21):
And that it’s not awesome. But there are also people who are like due to hand dexterity, or just due to a general discomfort with the idea of putting things in their vagina and living them there that they’re like, no, I’d rather just have this be fixed. So, so there are, it’s not just surgery is not your only option. There are lots of options and it just depends on where you want to go. But with the surgery, if that’s what’s being recommended for a woman, I really do. Some women aren’t worried at all. They’ve heard about the mash, but they’re sure it won’t happen to them, but there are when we’re still avoiding surgery, even with significant syndromes, because they’re worried about the mesh situation. And I would still encourage those women to at least discuss us, to see if that surgeon can, can educate them and give them enough confidence before they move forward with the surgery.
Speaker 1 (00:41:18):
Because the worst thing I think is when I had one patient actually put it off for years. Not, not just because of the mesh because of a lot of issues, but the first time the doctor recommended it, she had a grade four prolapse. Like that means when things come all the way out. And she it was so bad. Like she couldn’t use the pastory okay, so she needed it, but she avoided it until she was ready and had the answers that made her feel confident in that having the surgery was the right thing to do. So it might take some time and the doctor, the surgeon really should, and most of them that I’ve met are more than happy to make sure that the patient has all the information they need and understand the risk factors, the potential benefits before they move forward.
Speaker 2 (00:42:03):
Excellent. Thank you so much for that indulging that slight detour. Okay. Let’s get into intervention. So there are lots of questions on Slido about it, about different kinds of interventions. And so let’s start with lot of, lot of questions about transverse abdominis activation. So there is one question here from Shan. Tall said studies in patients with specific low back pain do not recommend adding transverse abdominis activation because of protective muscle spasm. What about urinary incontinence in combination? What do you do? So there is a lot on transfer subdominant as you saw in Slido. So I’ll throw it over to you and, and you can give us all your share your knowledge.
Speaker 1 (00:42:55):
Okay, well, let’s all do this together. So I don’t know how many people are watching, but if we just sit up nice and tall and I’m going to give a different cue for the pelvic floor. So what I want you to squeeze, like you don’t want to urinate, like you want to stop the stream of urine. Okay. So as we’re pulling that in anything else other than the underneath contract, what did you feel Karen?
Speaker 2 (00:43:24):
Well, I did feel my TA contract. I felt that lower abdominal muscle wall started to pull in.
Speaker 1 (00:43:32):
Yes. So, so the, the way I explain it is that the pelvic floor and the trans versus are the best is to friends. And this makes sense when you think about when you remember the fact that the pelvic floor, isn’t just there regarding like bowel bladder and sexual function. It’s one of our posture muscles. So if we’re totally like, like slacked out and our abs are off and all of that, our pelvic floor is pretty turned off as well. And then if I get a little bit taller and like, so I’m not really clenching anything. Right. But this is like stuff working like it should, my pelvic floor is a little more on, but not, I’m not acting. It’s just but then I could like, right, if I’m gonna, if I’m expecting to hit, or if I’m going to push into something, I can tend to set up more and handle more force into the system.
Speaker 1 (00:44:21):
So I like to think about it in those in those three ways, because the pelvic floor, isn’t just hanging out, down there and complete isolation it’s, it’s part of a system. And so in my personal, like emotional approach to interventions is I don’t want them to be too complicated. So if I can get someone to contract their pelvic floor, continue to breathe and let go of that pelvic floor, then we start thinking about what else are you feeling? Cause I don’t know that there’s any evidence that says if I just work my transverses all the time, my pelvic floor will automatically come along for the ride. So a great quote. I heard Karrie both speak once at a combined sections meeting and she goes, your biceps turn on. When you take a walk, it’s not a good bicep exercise. So just the fact we’re getting activity in the pelvic floor when we’re working other muscles, what’s supposed to work. And also if you want to strengthen that muscle, you’re going to need to work out that muscle.
Speaker 1 (00:45:26):
And that makes a lot of sense and something that people had a lot of questions around where we’re kind of queuing for these different exercises. And I really love the can. You’ve made it several times comparisons to other muscles in the body. So can you talk about maybe what kind of queuing you might use to have someone on? I can’t believe I’m going to say this turn on and I use that in quotes because that’s what you see in, in a lot of like mainstream publications for, for layman. So it might be something that our patients may see when they come in. So how do you cue that? To, to turn on the pelvic floor? So honestly I will usually start with floor and I do if I’m able to do a public floor exam, that’s usually, again, a lot more information for me, but I’m like, okay, so do that now.
Speaker 1 (00:46:27):
And I watched them do it or I feel them do it and I’d be like, Oh, okay. What did you, what did you feel move? And I start there. And then I always say it’s a little bit, like I get dropped into a country and I’m not sure what language people are speaking. So sometimes excuse me, one of the first cues that I learned was like, so squeeze, like you don’t want to pass gas. Okay. So everybody let’s try that. So sitting squeeze, like you don’t care and you got taller. So I think you did some glutes.
Speaker 1 (00:47:00):
It’s like, OK. So like lift, lift your anal sphincter up and in, but activating mostly the back part. So if you’re having fecal issues, maybe that’s a good place to start, but most people are having issues a little further front. So then we moved to the, can you pick a upper with your, with your Lavia? I had a, I learned the best things for my patients. One woman said it’s like, I’m shutting the church doors. So if you imagine the Lavia being churched doors, we’re going to close them up. And that, that gives a slightly different feeling. Them then squeezing the anal sphincter. Now, if you get up to squeeze, like you don’t want to like pee your pants, like you want to stop the stream of urine. That will activate more in the front of the pelvis. Look, men who are like if it gets stopped the flow of urine, I wouldn’t be here.
Speaker 1 (00:47:57):
So what else do you get? What’s really cool is in the male literature. So this is a study done by Paul Hodges is he found that what activated the anterior part and the urinary sphincter, this rioted urinary speaker, sphincter the most for men. What a penis or pull your penis in to your body now for women. So when I was at a chorus and it’s like, so let’s, let’s think of like other cues and other words, but even if, so, I don’t have a penis this fall that probably don’t have a penis. Even if you don’t have a penis, I want you to do that in your brain, shorten the penis and pull it in.
Speaker 1 (00:48:42):
And did you feel anything happen? Cause we do have things that are now analogous to the male penis, if you are are a female. So I’ll sometimes use that. Like I know it sounds stupid, but pretend to draw on your penis and it works and it does feel more anterior for a lot of people. So I’ll kind of just, I’ll kind of see what’s, like I said, sometimes it’s like the 42nd way of doing it that I’ve asked them to do where they’re like, Oh, that, and you’re like yeah. So then also just another, it’s a little bit of like a little bit of a tangent, but so as you’re sitting, so if you’re, if you’re sitting I want you to pick the cue that speaks most to your pelvic floor, and I want you to slouch really, really slouch, and actually to give yourself that cue and just pay attention to what you’re feeling. So when you squeeze, give yourself that cue, breathe in and breath out and then let go, we should have felt a contraction, a little hole and a let go. Now, the reason why I say breathe in and breathe out is if you breathe in and out, that’s about five seconds and also you were breathing. Cause another thing people love to do when they’re trying to contract their pelvic floors, just basically suck it in.
Speaker 1 (00:50:10):
And so that’s, that’s not great, but we want to feel the contraction and we want to feel it, let go. And that’s super important. I think that was another question on the Slido is that yes. For any muscle we’re working, you should be able to contract it and let it go. There’s not a muscle in our body where I just keep it contracted. It’s going to do much. It might look great. Eventually, but like I couldn’t get my coat on, like getting a drink of water would be a little weird. It’s not very functional muscles have to relax so that they can contract. So that’s a big, yes, it’s just as important that the contraction pelvic floor that cue and we felt where it happened, not tall, like, like you’re sitting out at a restaurant and you just saw someone looking at you and you’re like, Oh, what are they looking at? And then you’re going to do the exact same cue and you’re gonna breathe in and breathe out and let it go.
Speaker 1 (00:51:07):
And then did it feel different than menu or slouch that it did it change position? I feel like Karen’s Miami. It feels different. Now what I want you to do is if you can, depending on how you’re sitting really give me like an anterior pelvic tilt, really happy puppy and then do the exact same thing and then let it go. And so again, some more EMG work from, from Paul Hodges is that when you’re in a posterior pelvic tilt, you tend to activate the posterior portion more, which is fine. And if you’re not having problems in the front, if you’re having problems activating and maintaining continence in the front, actually increasing that lordosis can favor the front a bit. So this is, that’s really awesome when people can feel that difference. Because I want you to think about, if you start to leak on your fourth mile of a half marathon, there’s no way, no matter how awesome you are, but you’re going to be able to squeeze your pelvic floor for the rest of that race.
Speaker 1 (00:52:15):
Like there’s just, there’s no way. But sometimes if, because remember your pelvic floor is still doing its thing while you’re running is if you’re like, well, hold on, when you’re at your fourth mile, are you starting to get tired or hopefully not if it’s a half marathon, but you know, like is something changing and how you’re using your body. And can you, when you get to that point, remember to stay tall or lift your tail a little bit, or is there a cue or something they can change that will help them favor the front instead of going about four steps with the contracted pelvic floor and then losing it anyway. So there’s, there’s a lot of different ways you can actually make that your intervention for the issue you’re having and then let’s just get it functional. Perfect. And since you brought up running a question that’s been, got, gotten a couple of likes on Slido is how would you approach return to running after pregnancy?
Speaker 1 (00:53:15):
Do you have any tips on criteria for progress, timeframe and a recreational runner versus a full time athlete? Because I would think the majority of physiotherapists around the world are seeing the recreational runner versus the professional or full time athlete. So first, how would you approach return to running any tips for progress? So that’s going to be after pregnancy, sorry. After pregnancy. Yeah. So this is where I was really excited. So just last year I’m going to say her name wrong, but Tom goom Gran Donnely and Emma Brockwell published returned to running postnatal guidelines for health professionals managing this population. And the reason why I was super excited is because even though it was just published last year, it’s the first one. There was definitely a lot of emotion and feelings about, about women getting back into sport after having a baby, but to be perfectly Frank, there’s very few actual solid guidelines for recreational or others.
Speaker 1 (00:54:30):
So I have not personally had a child, but I will tell you of all the women I’ve seen over the years, basically doctors are like, it’s been six weeks ease back into it, see how it goes. I’m not really even mentioning if you have a problem come back so we can figure it out. It’s just kind of like good luck with that. And as a result, what happens is a lot of women don’t get back into exercise or they get back into exercise and and kind of freak themselves out because stuff feels different. So to get back to the question of what do I do, actually this this guide from Tom and team really, really helpful. I think, and, and it’s just basically it’s it does have a series of exercises that I’ve actually started to use with my postpartum moms to go like, look, if you can do these things without feeling heaviness, you’re good.
Speaker 1 (00:55:30):
You’re good to start easing back into your running program, but get up, get walking because I’m going to post Sandy Hilton and like, you can’t rest this better, like just waiting, isn’t going to make it all go away. But it can also be deceiving because again, with polo, you don’t feel that heaviness and you don’t leak. And so I’m just going to stay right here where everything is fine. So that’s obviously not a good option longterm option for a lot of reasons. So, so what do I do? I do look at the patient’s goals, their previous running history, and if they’re having any options I recently had a patient who she was runner exercise or sr after baby number two for a bit, some feeling of happiness that got completely better, baby number three came along. So I saw her a bit while she was pregnant because she got, I think two thirds of the way through pregnancy before she started to feel that heaviness. Again, she was still running,
Speaker 1 (00:56:38):
Tried to see if we could change that feeling while she was running. And she could until about the, when did she start? I think she didn’t stop running to her 35th week, which is pretty impressive. But then she wanted to do a half marathon. I think it was just three months postpartum. Right. So this is like going from having baby to running 13. You think that a lot of people would probably feel that was too soon, too much too fast, but she was able to do it completely symptom-free. So as she was training and she was really fast, she was timing it so that she could get back in time to breastfeed. Like I was like, Oh my gosh, like I, that would disqualify me. Like, there’s no way I could run fast enough to make that happen. But she was able to, to work it out where she could perform at her level without symptoms. And I was really happy that I was able to support her in that she did all the hard work. For general people recreational, where you a runner before, or is this completely new and are you having any symptoms and is there any thing you’re worried about? Again, a lot of women are worried about giving.
Speaker 1 (00:57:53):
It’s actually really hard to perhaps to give yourself one baby babies are a great way to do it. But that’s like the risk factors I look up for something else a couple of years ago, I haven’t looked recently, but like you really have any prolonged lifting. So not like your CrossFit three days a week, but like your, your physical labor for eight, eight hours, 10 hours a day every day could eventually do it also having babies. So like once you get to every baby increases your risk of pelvic organ prolapse, which makes good sense. And that, and that is what it is. So kind of looking at what are their risk factors, are there any, and letting them know that if they feel it more, it doesn’t mean they made it worse. They just made it more symptomatic. Got it. Great.
Speaker 1 (00:58:40):
All right. So we have time for maybe one or two more questions, and then I’m going to throw back to Claire. Cause we’re coming up onto an hour here, maybe time for one more it’s so w what am I going to ask? I think I’m going to go with the gymnasts I work with all believe it’s normal to leak a little urine during training or competition. And this is something we talk about a lot. It might be common, but is it normal? You already gave me the answer. What is it, Karen? No, no, no. And so, yeah, so the, the short answer for that is no. Or I agree with the question where it is very, very, very common, and it is still, I would say, not to leak urine. Unfortunately, so there’s any researchers out there who want to get together.
Speaker 1 (00:59:26):
Let me know. We haven’t, we have information on athletes and incontinence, but mostly it’s prevalent that it happens a lot and gymnastics and dancing and volleyball. There’s, there’s even some swimmers who have it, right? So there’s, there’s incontinence across the spectrum, which basically tells me, yep. People have incontinence. Some of the some of the sports are more likely to have urgent continents. A lot of them though, we’re looking at stress incontinence, however, for none of the athletes, have, we really had a great study that says, this is what we’re finding. We’re thinking, this is the cause of this incontinence. And we certainly haven’t gotten to the point where it’s like, and this is what we should be doing for these women in particular. So I’m, I’m pretty curious as to what we would have to do as, as a profession, as, as a team with researchers to figure out what do we need to look at in these athletes, especially the female athletes, because most of these are also they’ve never had babies, right? So a lot of these athletes are the liberos. And so we can’t, we can’t blame them. There’s something with how things are working. That seemed to be the situation it’s not necessarily trauma or anything like that. So what do we need to look at? What do we think is happening? Can we measure it and assess it? And then can we get an intervention?
Speaker 1 (01:00:56):
My brain, obviously, something isn’t working as well as it could. So could something like that improve their performance, even I don’t, I don’t know. I’d like to think so. Yeah. That would be distinct study. Yeah. But we ultimately don’t know. So if anyone has any ideas for studies or doing studies, let me know, because I can’t wait to read them. But I think maybe the first step is to let coaches and parents and young gymnast know very common. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t let it stop you from doing what you want to do. But also don’t just ignore it. Maybe we can figure this out.
Speaker 2 (01:01:30):
All right. One more question with a short answer, if you can. So, and I’m going to ask this question because I feel like the person who posted this I think posted this in earnest. So that’s why I’m asking, this is the last question. So a female patient age, 20 years still bedwetting from her childhood, otherwise she is normal, no incontinence. So other than this, just while sleeping, she tends to urinate any thoughts on this or any place you can direct this.
Speaker 1 (01:02:04):
Yeah. So I did, I was like, Oh, great question. And I did actually do a little research for this specific question. There’s a lot of reasons why nocturnal enuresis, which is what bedwetting is called in the literature happens. And I think it’s really important. So I don’t know what kind of tests or studies this person has had done or what other issues they may be having. So things like sleep apnea is is something that could be related if there’s any medications, any sort of diuretics, any kind of sleeping medications. Again, the fact it’s kind of carried on since childhood, I, I would really wonder about how, how is the bladder functioning? The fact that it’s working fine throughout the day makes me wonder what’s changing at night. And I did find a study where it talked about when they look compared adolescents or adults who were bedwetting to people who weren’t, they did have like detrusor overactivity. So like basically like an overactive bladder that they could see on the testing. So I would, I would really encourage this person to find a urologist that they trust if they haven’t already and really to maybe investigate some of those other, other factors that could be contributing so that they can get some better sleep and not have that problem anymore.
Speaker 2 (01:03:28):
Excellent. Excellent. Oh, okay. Claire says we can go for one more question. So I’m going to listen to the boss here.
Speaker 1 (01:03:36):
And, Oh boy, are you ready? Because this is a question that did kind of get a lot of thumbs up. Okay. So we spoke about
Speaker 2 (01:03:44):
Briefly before we started.
Speaker 1 (01:03:47):
So let’s see treatment of nonspecific, pelvic girdle pain, not related to pregnancy, which strategy with no susceptive pain mechanisms and which strategy with non nociceptive pain mechanisms would you incorporate with this patient? Okay. So I would say in the clinic, it’s, it can be pretty hard. Like, I don’t know how I would distinguish being nociceptive and non nociceptive or what even like non nociceptive might be if we’re talking more central issues or stuff like that. I don’t, I don’t know. But honestly I would just look at, so in Kathleen’s Luca has a great book about looking at the different types of pain or the different categories of pain and the most effective medications for it. Right. So we’re really good in pharmacology. Like if you had this inflammatory process and, and inflammatory and anti-inflammatory should help, if you’re having neuropathic pain, you want a drug that addresses that when we get into like physical therapy interventions, what’s really cool is exercise is in all the categories.
Speaker 1 (01:04:59):
And it’s one of the things we have the best evidence for. So regardless of pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy or not pregnancy, and regardless of how it may have been labeled by somebody else is I would, I would mostly want to know when did the pain start? Is there anything that makes it better? Anything that makes it worse and see if I could find a movement or change something for that person. Or that made me sound like I was going to do a whole lot of work. If I could find something for that person to change for themselves to have that hurt less and have the I tend, I would tend to keep it simple, mostly cause in the clinic again, we could do a lot of special tests that might say, Oh, Nope, they definitely hurt there, but it’s still, if we’re looking at what’s going to be an effective intervention, that that patient is going to tell me what that is.
Speaker 1 (01:05:54):
Sorry. It would help a fire mute myself. So looks like we have time for one more. And I, I really, Claire was not clarity did not pop up yet. So we’ve got time for one more and then we’re going to work. We’re wrapping it up. I promise stroke patients, dementia patient. We just got the no go. Yes, no, it’s a super short answer if you want Claire super short answer. Okay. So stroke dementia patients with urinary incontinence, any useful ideas for the rehab program? Yes, but not get an idea of their bladder habits, their bowel habits, their fluid intake. Because a lot of that’s going to end up being outside caregiver help with the, with the stroke, it’s much different. It depends on the severity and where it is and all of that. But for people with dementia is if you just get that, like if you can prompt them or take them to the toilet, a lot of the times that will take care of the incontinence.
Speaker 1 (01:06:48):
It’s not a matter of like Cagle exercises. It’s more management. All right, Sarah, thank you so much. I’m going to throw it back over to Claire to wrap things up. Thank you both for a wonderful and insightful discussion. Sarah and Karen. So many practical tips and pointers for the clinician, especially I was loving learning about all of the things that I could take to the clinic. So I hope our audience find those practical tips really helpful as always the link to this live chat will stay up on our Facebook page and we’ll share it across our other social media channels. Don’t forget. You can also follow us on Twitter. We’re at Dow SPT. You can also follow us here on Facebook. Please share this chat with your friends, with family colleagues, anyone who you think might find it helpful. And if you like JSP T asks, please be sure to tell people about it at that what we’re doing so they can find this here, please join us.
Speaker 1 (01:07:46):
Next week when we host our special guest professor Laurie from the university of Southern California, Larry is going to be answering questions on managing shoulder pain. We’ll be here, live on Wednesday next week. So Wednesday, April the eighth at 9:00 AM Pacific. So that’s noon. If you’re on the East coast of the U S it’s 5:00 PM. If you’re in the UK and at 6:00 PM, if you’re in Europe, before we sign off for the evening, there’s also really important campaign that I’d like to draw your attention to. And it’s one that we at Joe SPT supporting and it’s get us PPE. So we’re supporting this organization in their quest to buy as much a, to buy much needed personal protective equipment for frontline health workers who are helping us all in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. So if you’d like to support, get us PPE, please visit their website, www dot, get us ppe.org, G E T U S P p.org as always. Thanks so much for joining us on this stale SPT asks live chat, and we’ll speak to you next week. Bye.
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