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urinary urgencyPelvic floor physical therapy addresses a host of health issues including urinary urgency. This page will define urinary urgency, how it is diagnosed, treated and how pelvic floor physical therapy can benefit this condition.

What is urinary urgency?

Urinary urgency is the strong urge to urinate that comes on suddenly and is difficult to hold. It may be associated with other symptoms such as burning or discomfort during urination, difficulty starting to flow of urine, urinary leakage, urinary frequency, low urine output, and weak stream. Sometimes people feel like they have a urinary tract infection (UTI) as the symptoms can be similar. Urgency may be due to a UTI, however, it can also be due to increased tension of pelvic floor muscles and restrictions connective tissue of the pelvis, abdomen, inner thighs, and buttock.

Common conditions associated with urgency

Diagnosis

Urinary urgency is a symptom and can be indicative of one of the diagnoses listed above. To diagnose these conditions, urologists will take a full symptom, medical, and pharmacological history as well as run a urinary analysis to rule out active infections. They may also recommend that patients have a cystoscopy, CT scan, UroCuff testing, or urodynamics to further determine the root of the issue. If other conditions are suspected, patients will be referred for further testing based on their providers assessment.

Treatment options

How can pelvic floor physical therapy help with urinary urgency?

Pelvic floor muscles and the connective tissue that surrounds them can become chronically tight, short, and restricted. Excessive tension may be due to infection, prolonged sitting, injury, or stress. This tissue tightness puts mechanical pressure on the bladder and/or urethra signaling to the brain the need to urinate. Sometimes strong urges are triggered by stimuli like the sound of running water, opening the door to the bathroom, or unzipping pants. This is due to upregulation of the central nervous system and can be addressed with bladder training and relaxation techniques.

Pelvic floor physical therapy employs manual techniques, exercise programs, diet and activity modifications, and education to help resolve urinary urgency. A technique called connective tissue manipulation releases connective tissue restrictions in areas surrounding the pelvis including abdominals, inner thighs, groin, buttock, and low back. Manual release of pelvic floor muscles and relaxation exercises can help to alleviate muscle tension and associated urinary symptoms. Exercises and stretches are prescribed by physical therapists to address muscle dysfunction and tightness. Lifestyle modifications such as adjusting daily activities, bladder training, and diet help to address underlying causes and triggers of urinary urgency.


If you struggle with urinary urgency, contact Urology Austin to schedule a consult with one of our providers.