Urinary incontinence, associated with poor functioning of the muscles in the pelvic area, was found to have a negative impact on daily activities like walking and overall quality of life in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a study shows.
Adding pelvic floor muscle training to an MS treatment program may help to improve overall function, the researchers suggest, which could improve patient performance of daily life activities, especially in those with moderate or severe dependence on others.
The study, “Pelvic floor dysfunction negatively impacts general functional performance in patients with multiple sclerosis,” was published in the journal Neurology and Urodynamics.
People with MS can often experience fatigue, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms, walking difficulties, pain, and bowel or bladder problems. Urinary symptoms such as urgency, frequency, excessive urination at night, called nocturia, dysuria, or pain or discomfort when urinating, and incontinence are indicative of an overactive bladder, and can affect patients’ quality of life considerably.
Studies have indicated that the improvement of the pelvic floor muscles’ function is directly associated with an improvement in gait or balance.
“Pelvic floor musculature is responsible for supporting the pelvic organs, as well as for providing stability to the trunk. The coordinated action of this musculature with the abdominal wall is fundamental to achieving the correct control of body stability in static activities and/or during those that require dynamic postural control, as in the case of gait,” the researchers said.
However, there is not much evidence on whether gait functionality — a person’s ability to walk — can be affected by the status of the pelvic floor musculature in MS patients.
Thus, researchers from the Universidad Antónoma de Madrid, in Spain, sought to evaluate the relationship between pelvic floor function and general functional performance in people with MS, and how the patients’ dependence on others correlated with that.
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