I have a bladder neck obstruction with urinary issues. Is this connected to the pelvic floor? Will the Overcome program help?
By: Dr. Brianne Grogan, PT, DPT
Bladder neck obstruction occurs when the bladder neck fails to open completely during voiding. This is often as a result of increased sphincter activity (which leads to bladder neck hypertrophy). Two sphincter muscles exist at the bladder neck, both functioning to close (keep in) or open (let out) urine. One is voluntary and can be strengthened and relaxed with exercise, the other is involuntary and is part of the autonomic nervous system.
As you've personally experienced, when there is bladder neck hypertrophy, the tight/tense sphincters cause feelings of tightness when you have to pee. The tight sphincters also cause urinary frequency and a weak stream.
You asked if the Overcome program can help improve your condition, if the bladder neck is connected to the pelvic floor, and if this condition is curable.
The short answer is that YES, the Overcome program may be helpful for you. Overcome addresses all of the muscles in the pelvic region, including the hip and pelvic floor muscles, as well as the urinary and anal sphincters. While the urinary sphincters of the bladder neck aren't considered part of the pelvic floor "proper," they are connected to the pelvic floor muscles by way of fascia, and so all of the pelvic floor release work we do in Overcome will be helpful for your sphincters as well... particularly the external (voluntary) sphincter which is under motor control.
The internal (involuntary) sphincter will benefit from down-training the nervous system, which is the goal of the mind-body practices section of Overcome.
Both of the Overcome program goals (relaxing the muscles, and down-training the nervous system), can help with voiding dysfunction. Voiding dysfunction is often seen with organic bladder neck obstruction. It occurs when instead of relaxing the pelvic floor during urination, one contracts the entire pelvic floor musculature in an intermittent manner. This results in interrupted flow and straining to void, thereby compounding the bladder neck obstruction/bladder neck hypertrophy symptoms.
The cause and treatment of bladder neck obstruction is still not well-understood and is still being explored within the medical community. In my opinion, it's always a good idea to explore non-invasive + non-pharmacological options first, especially if you want to start a family or expand your family. I encourage you to explore the holistic approach in Overcome. Move through the program step-by-step, taking your time with it, and pay special attention to the deep relaxation poses and the mind-body practices (as well as the stretching routines). It may completely eliminate the need for surgery. However, if surgery is required in the future, the program will also give you the tools required to care for your pelvic floor muscles before and after the operation.
I'll leave you with one more thought, which is that the Overcome program has no side-effects other than feeling calmer (and ultimately, stronger).
I hope this helps you make a decision. Best wishes!