Kate Divine, PT, DPT, Lisa McVey, PT, DPT
Current healthcare models view urinary tract infections (UTIs) as a medical condition; however, bacteria may not be the only culprit for symptoms associated with UTIs. There is growing evidence that chronic UTIs can be effectively treated with conservative physical therapy management. This case report describes how underlying pelvic floor dysfunction can contribute to symptoms associated with chronic UTIs.
Antibiotics may treat symptoms for some, but will not treat the cause of chronic UTIs. This may be because pelvic floor dysfunction can:
→ disrupt the flow of urine through and out of the urethra, giving bacteria in the urine an opportunity to remain in the urinary system;
→ lead to inappropriately contracting the pelvic floor muscles which leads to tightening of the external urethral sphincter;
→ or mimic urinary urgency and urethral burning pain when there is increased tone in the muscles.
Read the case report for an example of how physical therapy can reduce incidence of recurrent UTI symptoms through management of underlying pelvic floor dysfunction.