Addressing Incontinence

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It’s an issue not many people want to talk about or admit to. Urinary and fecal incontinence can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and time consuming, but people don’t have to live with this discomfort.

“Although it’s often associated with pregnancy and childbearing, it is not isolated to this population alone,” says Sarah S. Sidar, MS, OTR/L, Team Coordinator of Sentara Therapy Center. Both men and women can suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction or the inability to correctly tighten and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Symptoms can include constipation, urine or stool leakage and a frequent need to urinate.

“When a person has a healthy and well-functioning pelvic floor, they should never experience leakage, even when they cough, sneeze, jump or laugh; and, if they are under age 65, they should not have to get up in the middle of the night to urinate (over age 65, once per night is considered normal, but not more.) A
healthy, functional pelvic floor should also be able to maintain fecal continence; and a functional pelvic floor should not be painful. Unfortunately, because many people see a dysfunctional pelvic floor as a “normal” part of the aging process, or normal after having children, they do not realize their symptoms are
related to pelvic floor dysfunction,” explains Sidar.

People don’t need to suffer in silence. Sentara Therapy Center’s new pelvic floor rehabilitation program offers treatment for a wide variety of pelvic floor disorders, including incontinence, pelvic pain, and diastasis recti. Our comprehensive program offers skilled assessment and individualized treatment to
meet patients’ needs; this can include modalities such as transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation, or TENS, biofeedback and others to improve pelvic floor function.

“Evaluation and treatment of pelvic floor function includes an in-depth assessment of posture and breathing patterns, as well as a hands-on assessment of the pelvic floor structures, muscles, strength and coordination. Although the most optimal way to assess and treat a patient is via internal exam, for those patients not comfortable with this type of examination and treatment, we are still able to perform much of our evaluations without an internal exam necessarily being required. The comfort and consent of our patients is paramount, and we work with each person individually to adapt the treatment plan to meet their
needs and level of comfort,” says Sidar.

Our specially trained, certified physical therapists can help you start living your life again with a treatment plan tailored to your needs. It begins with a visit to your doctor. To learn more and schedule an appointment with Sentara Therapy Center, call 703-523-8750 or visit

For more information about the Pelvic Floor Program, visit or to talk with a Nurse Navigator, call 703-523-1924.


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