An Ounce of PT Prevention

No one wants to deal with urinary incontinence (UI), or involuntary loss of urine. Unfortunately, an estimated 25-45% of women will experience UI at some point during their lives. As if that were not bad enough, it has been hypothesized that women who experience UI are at risk of developing uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs). I am sure you would agree that this is a rather unwanted two for one deal. The reason for this is that dysfunctional voiding can disrupt the normal flow of urine through the urethra, which can result in bacteria travelling back to the bladder and creating infection.

Past research has focused on and proven that pelvic floor physical therapy can help reduce UI symptoms…but does pelvic floor PT help with UTI prevention?

I am not the only one who has pondered this question. Lucky for us, Dr. Kate Divine and Dr. Lisa McVey have asked themselves the same question and kindly performed research to help answer it. They conducted a single-subject case study with a 50-year-old schoolteacher who presented with a ten-year history of UI, UTIs, urinary urgency/frequency, and pelvic pain. Her conservative pelvic floor physical therapy treatment plan included bladder retraining, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, patient education, and exercises. After six sessions, the patient had achieved all her goals. When the researchers checked in with her three months later, she had not experienced any UTIs (compared to pre-treatment, when she typically experienced them every 1-2 months) or UI symptoms.

Obviously, additional research is warranted to explore if the same results occur across the board, because a sample size of one is rather small. It would also be interesting to see if the positive results continue beyond three months. But this is a huge first step. The research is extremely promising, especially because resistance to UTI antibiotics is on the rise. The fact that physical therapy, a conservative and non-pharmacologic approach, may be of help further reinforces my strong belief in “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.”

If you are someone you know stands to benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy to address either UI or recurrent UTIs, please contact us! It would be an honor to serve as your healing agents.

Divine, Kate PT, DPT, WCS; McVey, Lisa PT, DPT Physical Therapy Management in Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections: A Case Report, Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: January/March 2021 – Volume 45 – Issue 1 – p 27-33 doi: 10.1097/JWH.0000000000000189

Pot-ential Pregnancy Preventer?

Can marijuana interfere with pregnacy?
Can marijuana interfere with pregnancy? 

Recreational cannabis is picking up steam…and legal rights. On Election Day, November 3, 2020, New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota, and Montana joined the eleven other states where pot is legal to bring our national total up to fifteen. It appears to be only a matter of time until recreational marijuana will be legal throughout the United States. As a pelvic floor physical therapist with a one track mind, I am curious about how the inevitable changes will converge with science and medicine, especially in the arena of women’s health and fertility.

A recent National Institutes of Health (NIH) study led by Dr. Sunni Mumford (published on January 11, 2021) revealed that women who recreationally use cannabis products such as marijuana or hashish may experience greater challenges conceiving a child compared to women who do not use marijuana. The study focused on women who had previously experienced one or two miscarriages. 

The statistics that emerged from their research is as follows:

  • Women who had used cannabis within several weeks prior to or while trying to conceive were 41% less likely to conceive than non-users
  • 42% of active users became pregnant during the study vs. 66% of non-users
  • Miscarriage rates were relatively similar between the two groups

Another noteworthy difference between the two groups involves the reproductive hormones associated with ovulation. Cannabis users had elevated levels of luteinizing hormone. Also, the researchers suggested that cannabis usage may negatively impact the uterine lining, which could interfere with successful embryo implantation. 

Although the researchers acknowledged the small sample size in the study, the statistics are interesting enough to give pause until further research can be conducted. Furthermore, considering that it takes two to tango, it would be fascinating to explore whether or not a partner’s usage of cannabis affects fertility rates, a piece of the puzzle that was not addressed in Mumford’s research. 

Until further research can verify and delve deeper into this topic, feel free to digest and incorporate this information into your life as you see fit. May everyone, especially women trying to conceive, find healthy outlets to relax, revitalize, and enjoy themselves.