A pelvic floor fitness program for older women with urinary symptoms, "Beyond the Abstract," by Sheila Dugan, MD, Missy Lavender, MBA, Jennifer Hebert-Beirne, PhD, MPH, and Linda Brubaker, MD, MS

BERKELEY, CA (UroToday.com) - As in many areas of health care, urinary incontinence (UI) and overactive bladder (OAB) are best addressed with a team approach. Non-surgical (PM&R) and surgical (urogyn) colleagues collaborate, providing informed recommendations -- from preventive strategies through pre-hab, surgery and/or rehab as fits individual patient’s needs. As with other skeletal muscles, pelvic floor muscle weakness and poor endurance can lead to life altering impairments. Expertly trained pelvic floor physical therapists are key providers who identify and remediate these impairments leading to reduced disability. However, we believe preventive strategies focused on empowering women in the community can have the greatest impact on reducing the incidence and outcomes of bladder issues. To this end, we have included insights of our socio-behavioral colleagues and enlightened patients. While our previous work focused on younger women, the current study demonstrates how impactful the Total Control© Platinum program was in an older cohort. Training instructors throughout the community provides the much needed link from medical center to community and back.

In their post-study comments, we captured, on video, the passionate feelings of the women who participated in Total Control© Platinum. We watched them blossom from awkwardly, at times, talking about their pelvic floor muscles and bladder function, to pushing for their granddaughters to learn about pelvic wellness. In fact, their input inspired our adolescent programming and research, culminating in our development of a workbook.

Beyond demonstrating the feasibility of a community-based pelvic fitness and wellness program, we are confident that our participants have continued the conversation about incontinence and how to address it with their neighbors, families and health care providers. We are passionate about getting this conversation “out of the water closet.” Women have suffered too long in silence and ignorance. We welcome these new ambassadors and hope that our work continues to create ambassadors for pelvic health.

Written by:
Sheila Dugan, MD,a Missy Lavender, MBA,b Jennifer Hebert-Beirne, PhD, MPH,c and Linda Brubaker, MD, MSd as part of Beyond the Abstract on UroToday.com. This initiative offers a method of publishing for the professional urology community. Authors are given an opportunity to expand on the circumstances, limitations etc... of their research by referencing the published abstract.

a Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rush University Medical Center, 1725 W Harrison St, Suite 855, Chicago, IL USA
b Women's Health Foundation, Chicago, IL USA
c Women's Health Foundation and University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health, Chicago, IL USA
d Department of Ob/Gyn & Urology, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Loyola University, Chicago, IL USA

A pelvic floor fitness program for older women with urinary symptoms: A feasibility study - Abstract

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