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Continence Advisor or Continence Physiotherapist? Do you know who does what?

You’ve probably heard your GP mention Continence Advisors and Continence Physiotherapists before, but do you really know who does what? Although nowadays both disciplines do overlap, each role does have a defined area.

Most of us know that physiotherapists help treat disease, injury, or deformity using physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery.   Physiotherapy can also help with both bladder and bowel incontinence.   Therefore if your incontinence is due to a weak pelvic floor, you may be referred to a Continence Physiotherapist for conservative management or to strengthen these muscles before considering an operation.

Physiotherapy treatment may include

  • Training you how to use your pelvic floor muscles correctly
  • show you exercises to strengthen them with or without electrical stimulation
  • Helping you look at how your diet may be affecting your bowel control
  • Give you advice on what and how much to drink
  • Discuss possible lifestyle changes which will help you manage the problem

Physiotherapists specialising in Continence will have undergone post graduate training enabling them to assess and treat your symptoms.

Continence Advisor

Usually a nurse who will assess you and agree a treatment plan for your incontinence and explain management options that are available. They often work alongside Continence Physiotherapists and can offer support on

  • Urinary and faecal problems/incontinence
  • Urine retention management, Bladder scanning
  • Teaching and management of intermittent self-catheterisation
  • Selection of continence products, pessary clinics
  • Long-term management of incontinence including supply of continence products in some areas