The muscles that make up your pelvic floor are imperative to many daily functions, including proper urinary function. With proper bladder function, the pelvic floor muscles will support continence, aid in bladder function, and give you control over urination. Unfortunately, pelvic floor dysfunction can quickly remove your sense of security with bladder control and function.

When the muscles in your pelvic floor become dysfunctional, it can leave you with frequent urination, hesitancy, discomfort, and incontinence. Bladder dysfunction is a common issue, but it shouldn’t be normalized. If you are experiencing symptoms of bladder dysfunction, contact Pelvic Health Rehabilitation Center in Ventura county to schedule an evaluation.

Normal Bladder Function

  • Normal urination frequency is six to eight times in 24 hours
  • Leaking urine is never normal 
  • Bladder urge should not feel like a five-alarm fire
  • Normal voiding time is roughly 20 seconds
  • Starting the urinary stream should be easy and quick
  • Bladder urgency should go away after voiding
  • Increasing our fluid intake should increase the amount we urinate, not the frequency
  • Normal bladder capacity is 300 – 600ml
  • People under 60 years old may wake once per night to urinate, over 60 years old twice per night
  • Pain before, during, or after urinating is never normal

Normal Bladder Function

  • Normal urination frequency is six to eight times in 24 hours
  • Leaking urine is never normal 
  • Bladder urge should not feel like a five-alarm fire
  • Normal voiding time is roughly 20 seconds
  • Starting the urinary stream should be easy and quick
  • Bladder urgency should go away after voiding
  • Increasing our fluid intake should increase the amount we urinate, not the frequency
  • Normal bladder capacity is 300 – 600ml
  • People under 60 years old may wake once per night to urinate, over 60 years old twice per night
  • Pain before, during, or after urinating is never normal

Symptoms

  • Stress incontinence (leaking urine when coughing, laughing, sneezing, and/or during exercise)
  • Urge incontinence ( leaking on the way or before you get to the bathroom)
  • Mixed Incontinence (both stress and urge incontinence)
  • Pain or burning in the bladder and/or urethra before, during or after urinating 
  • Urinary urgency without a full bladder
  • Urinary frequency without a full bladder
  • Urinary hesitancy, slow or deviated urine stream
  • Urinary urgency during sexual activity
  • Urinary urgency/frequency after sexual activity or exercise
  • Urethra or bladder pain 
  • Climacturia (leaking urine with orgasm)

Symptoms

  • Stress incontinence (leaking urine when coughing, laughing, sneezing, and/or during exercise)
  • Urge incontinence ( leaking on the way or before you get to the bathroom)
  • Mixed Incontinence (both stress and urge incontinence)
  • Pain or burning in the bladder and/or urethra before, during or after urinating 
  • Urinary urgency without a full bladder
  • Urinary frequency without a full bladder
  • Urinary hesitancy, slow or deviated urine stream
  • Urinary urgency during sexual activity
  • Urinary urgency/frequency after sexual activity or exercise
  • Urethra or bladder pain 
  • Climacturia (leaking urine with orgasm)

Associated Diagnoses

Bladder symptoms are commonly associated with pelvic floor dysfunction and other diagnoses. Syndromes such as Endometriosis, Vulvodynia, Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome, Pudendal Neuralgia, Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome/Male Pelvic Pain, post-prostatectomy complications, the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause, and postpartum women often have bladder issues.

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Cause of bladder dysfunction

  • Repetitive urinary tract and yeast infections
  • Hormonal suppressive medications such as oral contraceptives, GnRH agonists (i.e. Lupron), acne medications
  • Childbirth, breastfeeding, and menopause
  • Surgical trauma
  • Orthopedic injuries or traumas 
  • Biomechanical or structural dysfunction (hip dysfunction, sacro-iliac joint dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, scoliosis, leg length discrepancy)
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Constipation and gastrointestinal distress/bloating

Cause of bladder dysfunction

  • Repetitive urinary tract and yeast infections
  • Hormonal suppressive medications such as oral contraceptives, GnRH agonists (i.e. Lupron), acne medications
  • Childbirth, breastfeeding, and menopause
  • Surgical trauma
  • Orthopedic injuries or traumas 
  • Biomechanical or structural dysfunction (hip dysfunction, sacro-iliac joint dysfunction, piriformis syndrome, scoliosis, leg length discrepancy)
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Constipation and gastrointestinal distress/bloating

Diagnostic Challenges

Diagnostic Challenges

Pelvic floor dysfunction can mimic the feelings of sexually transmitted infections and prostate and/or urinary tract and bladder infections which can lead to diagnostic confusion. It is common for people to feel certain they have an infection and then feel perplexed when the tests return normal. Bladder leaking is so common in women that it has become normalized, thereby making women less likely to seek help. Women are often told, “it’s because you just had a baby” or “it’s normal at your age”. Many men undergoing prostatectomy are unaware that up to 80% of men have post-surgical urinary incontinence. Regardless of your situation and underlying causes, an evaluation with a Ventura County pelvic floor physical therapist is beneficial.

Treatment:

How We Can Help You

Those who suffer from bladder dysfunction should schedule an evaluation with our pelvic health experts to find the connection between your symptoms and pelvic floor dysfunction. Symptoms of bladder dysfunction can be caused by excessively tight or weakened pelvic muscles; muscles could also malfunction or become uncoordinated, preventing proper function. Historical practices that have been recommended for years, such as kegel exercises, can damage your pelvic floor if the muscles are excessively tight, which is why we recommend working with a pelvic health specialist to diagnose, treat, and prevent further issues. In some cases, you must lengthen the pelvic floor muscles before they can strengthen. During your pelvic health evaluation, the physical therapist will review past treatments, symptoms, and the effect of prior methods to find our starting point.


Our pelvic floor physical therapists understand the difficulty most individuals go through before finding our clinic and the frustration that accompanies prolonged discomfort.

Treatment:

How We Can Help You

In your initial examination at PHRC in Ventura County, our physical therapists will examine essential components including your muscles, nerves, tissues, movement patterns, and joints. After the exam has concluded, your specialist will review their findings with you and discuss the best options moving forward. An assessment is completed to explain how your symptoms developed, outlining short and long-term goals for your treatment plan. Typically, the frequency of physical therapy treatment is one to two times per week for roughly 12 weeks. You are given a home exercise program to complement your in-person sessions, and your physical therapist will help to coordinate your recovery with the other members of your treatment team. We are here to help you recover and live your best life!