Continence and Pelvic Wellness

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Many women can experience the involuntary leakage of urine. When this happens enough to be a problem, it is called urinary incontinence. Contrary to popular belief, urinary incontinence is not a normal part of aging or something to be expected after childbearing or surgery. It is usually caused by a physical problem or condition, and can be treated with positive results.

Nearly 20 million people may suffer from incontinence, with women being affected twice as often as men. Beyond the physical problem, loss of bladder control is also a strain on a person’s self-esteem and confidence level. Unfortunately, many are too embarrassed to seek help for this sensitive condition.

Fortunately, with an accurate evaluation and treatment from our specialized team, any person suffering from incontinence can now expect significant improvement, and many will find complete relief.

Types of Incontinence

Stress Incontinence:
The leaking of urine when exercising, moving or other activity that puts stress on the bladder. The pelvic floor muscles become weak and cause the bladder to fall out of position.

• Leaking urine when sneezing, coughing or laughing
• Leaking urine when getting up from a chair or bed

Urge Incontinence:
An uncontrollable urge to urinate happens when the bladder muscle becomes hyperactive. Leakage or discharge may occur even when the bladder is nearly empty. Urge incontinence is caused by an actual muscle malfunction, emotional stress or a nerve condition such as Parkinson ’s disease or a stroke.

• Leaking urine before getting to the bathroom and/or
• Urinating often, sometimes every two hours during the day and evening

We Offer Help

Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Continence Services are specifically designed to evaluate and develop an individual treatment plan for each patient, including:

Women who are living with, or recovering from:

  • Post pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Pelvic muscle weakness


The experienced staff at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Continence Services uses several techniques to diagnosis the condition through:

  • Medical history review
  • Physical examination
  • Urinalysis / urine culture
  • Post void residual (measurement of urine left in the bladder after urination)

Treatment Options

Under the guidance of a physician, specially trained therapist or nurse, a wide range of successful treatment modalities are available.

Behavioral Approaches:
Relaxation and diet management.

Bladder Training:
Teaching methods to control bladder function.

Individual exercise programs to increase motor control and strength of the pelvic floor, such as the Kegel exercise (repeated tightening and release of the pelvic muscles) and other physical therapy movements.

Women learn correct techniques for exercising and toning the pelvic muscle.

Special medication can be included in the overall treatment plan for calming the bladder muscle or to desensitize the nerves controlling the bladder, generally best prescribed for urge incontinence.

Plastic support device to reposition the bladder; a pessary is not a permanent solution for incontinence and serves only as a temporary repair.

Bladder “pacemaker”:
Technologically advanced, implanted device, called InterStim Therapy. By using mild electrical stimulation of the sacral nerves incontinence symptoms are dramatically reduced or eliminated.

Minimally invasive surgical correction to provide the necessary support for the bladder. It is an outpatient procedure with a 90% curative rate.

Incontinence Assessment

The following self-assessment may help determine if you can benefit from our trained Continence Clinic staff. If you answer “yes” to one or more of the questions below, please contact us for further evaluation.

  • Do you urinate at a normal frequency (fewer than eight times per day), but continue to leak urine unexpectedly?
  • Do you have sudden or uncontrollable urges to urinate that sometimes result in accidents?
  • Do you leak urine without any warning while sneezing, coughing, lifting objects, exercising or changing physical positions?
  • Is your sleep interrupted by the urge to urinate two or more times per night?

Taking the Next Important Step

We diagnose … We treat … and You succeed.

Physical Therapy Services

To schedule a physical therapy appointment at the location below, call 414-326-2660.

Water Tower Medical Commons
2350 N. Lake Dr., Suite 509
Milwaukee, WI 53211
Phone: 414-326-2660
Fax: 414-769-4935

Meet our Therapists

Physician Services

If you are interested in speaking to a physician regarding any of these services, contact a physician referral specialist at 414-332-DOCS (3627).



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