HealthWatch: Urinary incontinence therapy


Urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of bladder control and can be very embarrassing for the sufferer.
Many people have to change their lifestyle to try and deal with the problem.
One local hospital is using physical therapy to help patients.
According to the U.S. Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, 80% of women who suffer from incontinence can be successfully treated without surgery or drugs. 

Today Barb Strutz is strutting care free- not having to worry where the nearest bathroom is, “It’s mind control and muscle control,” said Barb Strutz.

Barb suffered with urinary incontinence for years, “I just got tired of having to run every time we would walk into a store,” said Barb.

And it was embarrassing when she couldn’t make it, “It would be like ‘oh no really’ so I started having to use pads,” said Barb.

So she went to Dr. John Utrie at Aurora BayCare Medical Center for a diagnosis. Dr. Utrie is fellowship-trained and is the first urogynecologist practicing in Northeast Wisconsin.

“I had to have surgery I had an ovary that was rather enlarged and it was actually pushing on my bladder,” explained Barb.

But Barb also had weak muscles in her pelvic floor, the muscles that support the pelvic organs “If the pelvic floor muscles are really, really weak they don’t do a really good job of shutting the bladder off ,” explained explained Kelly Gerl, physical therapist, pelvic health specialist, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

So Barb was sent to Kelly Gerl a physical therapist, pelvic health specialist, “My job is helping women to get aquatinted with what their pelvic floor is and how to use it,” said Gerl.

Kelly showed Barb how to strengthen her pelvic floor muscles, “We start out with really basic muscle control contraction so that’s like your kegel exercises,” said Gerl.

Barb also learned how to exercise her deep core muscles, “They made a big difference, it was amazing,” said Barb.

Kelly also helped Barb take a close look at her eating, drinking and bathroom habits, “Sometimes people can start making some changes within their lifestyle that can impact bladder symptoms,” said Gerl.

“Stopping yourself and really making yourself think of what you’re doing makes a big difference,” said Barb.

Kelly says most women should do pelvic floor exercises like kegels every day, “Research says in order to keep your pelvic floor nice and strong you need to do between 30 and 80 muscle contractions per day,” explained Gerl.

Kelly usually sees patients for 4-6 visits and sends them home with exercises. Barb only needed three and is still doing her  exercises, “I’ve found marketed improvement on it. I don’t walk in the house and immediately run to the bathroom anymore,” Barb said happily.

Gerl says weak pelvic floor muscles can be caused by childbirth, menopause or just aging.
Some women do benefit from surgery or drugs. 

To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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