Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Beverly Johnson


Urinary Incontinence -- therapy


Urinary incontinence is a condition in which involuntary loss of urine is a social and hygienic problem and is objectively demonstrable, affecting around 13 million adult Americans. In the past, many people suffering from incontinence never sought help. They may have been too embarrassed to speak out, and instead, ultimately restricted their lifestyle in order to accommodate their incontinence or they were unaware that there is help available in their community.

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) established guidelines for the treatment of urinary incontinence in 1992 with an update in 1996. These guidelines state that, except in special circumstances, non-surgical treatment be attempted for the treatment of urinary incontinence before proceeding with surgery. Physical therapists possess the necessary combined knowledge and skills in kinesiology, electrotherapy, and exercise science to conservatively treat problems associated with urinary incontinence.

The purpose of this independent study is to outline an interdisciplinary approach for medical providers in the set up and treatment of a conservative urinary incontinence program. To accomplish this, the anatomy, physiology, and normal bladder function necessary for continence will be discussed. The pathology and types of urinary incontinence will also be reviewed. This will be followed by a description of the different treatment options, their costs, and effectiveness.