Female Urethral Syndrome (FUS) is responsible for 25 percent of all patients with lower urinary tract symptoms. FUS is part of the spectrum of female bladder and urinary tract conditions, and is most common in women between the ages of 30-50.
FUS has all the symptoms of a urinary tract infection, yet none of the bacteria or viruses that would cause such symptoms. Most patients with FUS have a history of being diagnosed with chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs), and have received standard doses of antibiotics — in spite of a lack of bacteria.
FUS is characterized by chronic pain throughout the lower pelvis and urinary tract. This pain may come and go; remain constant; or be triggered by food sensitivities, allergies, vigorous sex, activities like cycling, and urinary tract irritants. This pain may present sharp burning symptoms in a specific segment of the urethra or feel like a dull ache over the entire urethra.
Regardless of the initial event that triggered an episode of female urethral syndrome, the pelvic muscles contract (both voluntarily and involuntarily) in an attempt to protect against the next spasm/wave of pain. This pelvic floor dysfunction creates a positive feedback loop of pain that makes the original condition worse, causing the patient additional anxiety and frustration.
Overly tight pelvic floor muscles can inhibit normal urinary function and create pain throughout the pelvis. When this type of restriction occurs, the normal flow of urine can back up and cause inflammation in all the urinary tract tissues “upstream” from the pelvic floor muscles (urethra and bladder), as well as inflammation in the Paraurethral glands (sometimes called “Skene’s” or “Periurethral” glands) that are near the urethral opening.
In our experience, integrated physical therapy to correct/heal lumbo-sacral, sacro-illicac, and pubic synthesis misalignments and injuries is the most effective way to correct the type of pelvic floor dysfunction that often leads to Female Urethral Syndrome.
Female Urethral Syndrome Symptoms
- Chronic pelvic pain (usually above the pubic bone)
- Swelling or tenderness in the groin
- Dysuria (painful urination)
- Urinary frequency
- Urinary urgency
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Blood in the urine
Prevention of Female Urethral Syndrome
- Drink 8-10 glasses of pure water every day
- Avoid environmental chemicals in soaps, perfumes, bath oils, douches, certain contraceptive gels, and condoms.
- Diet (Eliminate bladder irritants — avoid eating foods that you wouldn’t put on an open wound)
- Spicy foods
- Carbonated beverages
- Acidic foods
Self Care for Female Urethral Syndrome
- Caster oil packs
- Mayan massage
- Anti-constipation recipe
- Core muscle strengthening to restore healthy tone and biomechanics
- Pilates classes (floor and reformer)
- Yoga classes
- Group exercise classes that focus on core strength and stability
- Working out with a knowledgeable personal trainer
- Specific home exercise programs
- Musculo-skeletal Health
- Condition-specific Acupressure (Our staff acupuncturist teaches patients the precise acupuncture points to assist in healing the patient’s particular condition.)
- Partner-facilitated physical therapy (We teach both patient and their partner the specific physical therapy techniques and exercises to facilitate the patient’s healing at home.)
Diagnostic Tools for Female Urethral Syndrome
- Medical history
- Physical exam
- Tests for sexually transmitted diseases
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Various lab tests
Treatment of Female Urethral Syndrome
We look for the causes beneath the symptoms of Female Urethral Syndrome. (Why are you in pain? How can we free you from this condition?) Our integrated approach to healing the whole person is based on a deep understanding of traditional medicine, and supported by 60 years of combined experience in treating Female Urethral Syndrome.
We understand how debilitating FUS can be. Our treatment protocol begins by helping patients make simple lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, supplements, and stress management). For many patients, these simple changes dramatically decrease symptoms.
When patients require additional care to regain their health, we rely on the following treatment areas:
Physical Therapy for Female Urethral Syndrome
- Cranio-sacral work
- Biofeedback/Electrical stimulation
- Frequency specific microcurrent
- Myofacial release
- Stanford Protocol