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

Women of Medical Valor

Dr. Rena D’Souza
Dr. Lindsey Criswell

While this year has generally not been known for its kindness to most, August 2020 has been a friend to women. (No, Kamala, this blog is not about you, as unfortunately I pride myself on never mixing politics with pleasure aka medicine. Suffice to say, “well done.”) During this past month, two brilliant and talented women were promoted to prominent positions within the National Institutes of Health where they will be able to further lead, inspire, and heal. Worthy of note is that August is also the month when we celebrate Women’s Equality Day which commemorates August 18, 1920, the day when Congress ratified the iconic 19th amendment which granted women the right to vote. Coincidence? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Allow me to introduce you to these two women. Rena N. D’Souza, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., has been chosen to serve as director of NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), which she plans on joining later this year. A licensed dentist, Dr. D’Souza is currently the assistant vice president for academic affairs and education for health sciences at the University of Utah, where she also serves as a professor. She has conducted research in craniofacial development, genetics, tooth development, and regenerative dental medicine. She has published 140 peer-reviewed journal papers and medical book chapters. She is also an exemplary role model of kindness as she has provided volunteer dentistry services to people in need. As a recipient of more dental procedures than I would like to keep track of, I can confidently attest to the value of her research and contributions. Massive thank you.

Our next female noteworthy of celebration is Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc., who has been chosen to direct NIH’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). A rheumatologist, Dr. Criswell is currently the vice chancellor of research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is a professor of rheumatology in UCSF’s Department of Medicine. She has been published in more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles about genetics and epidemiology of autoimmune diseases, specifically on systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Thank you, Dr. D’Souza and Dr. Criswell, for leaning in and daring to ask through your actions, “What glass ceiling?” Watching you succeed from the sidelines makes me sorta kinda wonder what am I doing, sitting at an outdoor cafe on a beautiful August afternoon, writing about your achievements? How can I be more like you, and how can I help the masses on the grandest scale possible? For now, I will suffice with the following answer: I am promoting the fact that women can accomplish tremendous heights. They can exert sweat and toil (hopefully minus the blood and tears), and they can perform and produce professionally as well as (if not better than) any man. And by doing so, I hope to inspire more women to follow in your footsteps. So while I did not entitle this blog “You Go Girls” out of respect to these two fantastic females, I will conclude with, thank you for the inspiration and keep up the good work.