- Women’s Health
- Healthy Living
- Health Conditions
- Nurse Barb
Are you like millions of women who leak urine? Do you know where every bathroom is in a 5 mile radius of your house? Or maybe you wear a pantyliner to catch the little leaks that might occur if you cough, sneeze or laugh? Or maybe you’re like my patient Joan who leaks as soon as she puts the key into her front door. What’s up with that?
You are Not Alone
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because millions of women will experience some leaking, what we call urinary incontinence, at some point during their lives. This isn’t a topic that most women feel comfortable bringing up, even with their health care providers.
Most of my patients are surprised to learn that they’re not the only ones dealing with this. One patient told me she didn’t want to mention it because she was sure she’d be scolded for not doing Kegel exercises 10,000 times/day. As she said, “I don’t even know if I’m doing them right.”
Women who don’t leak urine are usually younger and have not had any pregnancies. As you can see in this illustration, the bladder is a nice oval shape, is high above the vagina and the the valves or urethral sphincters that stay closed so that you can stay dry. The bladder is held up in place by the pelvic floor muscles.
Eventually, over time, as gravity works it’s not so nice magic on the pelvic floor muscles the bladder can slip down into a curved position where some of the urine can stay in a pool that never quite empties, which can lead to leaking.
Should You Exercise Your Pelvic Floor Muscles?
The pelvic floor is like a small trampoline, it has a little bit of bounce and keeps all the organs in their places with bright shiny faces. Exercising your pelvic floor muscles helps strengthen them and can help women regain control leading to less leaking.
To find out if you need to exercise take this quick quiz
If you answered True to any of these questions, practicing pelvic floor exercises can help you regain more control over your bladder.
How to exercise your pelvic floor
It may be difficult to isolate the muscles of your pelvic floor and to learn how not to use your abdominal muscles to squeeze, hold and then relax. Here’s how you might practice in the privacy of your bathroom. I recommend trying while seated on the toilet.
Staying hydrated seems obvious, but it might be more challenging than you think. Most of my pregnant patients are surprised to learn that their blood volume increases by about 50% midway through pregnancy.
When it comes to salt – Remember Gold-i-locks: Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. The truth is, your body needs salt, so while we don’t want you to over indulge in lots of salty foods, a little goes a long way in helping you maintain your fluid balance. So, don’t restrict your salt intake.
I’m back at FAME after a lovely safari weekend at Tarangire National Park, known as the park of elephants and Baobab trees. There has been more rain than usual for this time of year; maybe it is an El Niño effect, who can say, and in any case the grass is lush and green and there’s water.
On the road to Safari, what I saw was herds of cows and goats being led to whatever water had collected into impromptu mini-lakes and ponds along ditches on the side of the road, and then after the animals were cared for, the women and older children were washing clothes, giving the babies their baths and finally filling large buckets for their cooking and drinking water. It’s all the same water. No filters that I could see, and hopefully a fire to boil it at home.
There is so much here that is different, and yet so much is the same. Most of the people who come to the hospital, and many of the staff do not have running water. A daily hot shower that I take for granted is as rare as the likelihood of me seeing the white giraffe. (more…)
On my 2nd day, here at FAME, I saw something, extraordinary. I was privileged to be at the right place at the right time and witnessed a jaw dropping display of talent and knowledge in a most unexpected place. Pauline Diaz, the volunteer coordinator was giving me a tour and suggested that we bring the new donated baby hats from the US and the brand new Tanita baby scale to the maternity ward. Sure! Why not?
Here in Africa, many people come to see the Big 5 animals on safari. Yes, I know there are birders out there and plenty of people who love the cheetahs, warthogs, jackals, hyenas, antelopes, giraffes and zebras. Thousands of dollars are spent, and thousands of miles traveled to catch a glimpse, or perhaps get close enough to see the elephant, cape buffalo, lion, rhino, leopard, all of whom belong to the exclusive group of the Big 5.
However on that 2nd day at FAME, within seconds of arriving in the maternity ward and setting up the new baby scale, what I saw was Mama Evelyn, a 62 year-old experienced midwife, who delivered a baby, kept traction on the cord, and then resuscitated the new infant.
Disclosure: Guest Post by Rachael Gerkensmeyer
By taking the time to pre-plan and stock your fridge with healthy items for the ahead, you will likely find it’s much easier to adhere to a healthy lifestyle without feeling hungry and deprived throughout any given day. Modernize recommends stocking your fridge with the following 10 items to help ensure a full belly and a healthy body:
Consuming nuts on a regular basis provides protection from Alzheimer’s disease and helps to improve cognitive function. Nuts such as macadamias, pecans, and pistachios may even reduce the risk of developing heart disease and some cancers. Add them to salads or eat them by the handful! (Unless of course, if you’re allergic, then you know to stay away.)
Whole grains, like rolled oats, offer a myriad of health benefits to take advantage of such as optimal weight control, blood sugar regulation, and a big dose of essential minerals. Toasted oats will help regulate your blood pressure levels and help you feel full throughout the day too.
Fresh Herbs (more…)
Did you read our 1st blog, Real, Sustained Weight Loss After the Holidays?
If you’ve found your motivation and you’re ready for more weight loss tips, here they are:
Eating for Two
Getting the Right Nutrients
For more information on Pregnancy be sure to check out my new book, Nurse Barb’s Personal Guide to Pregnancy, now out on Amazon.
Even if you kind of suspected or knew with your whole heart that you were pregnant, when you actually pee on the stick and see the little lines officially confirming your pregnancy, your life changes in a nanosecond.
All of a sudden you might go from thinking “I’m probably just late.” To OMG, now what? Suddenly, there’s a flurry of emotions and questions. What should you do? Are you ready? What should you name your child? While I won’t suggest baby names for you, I can give you some guidance on what to do during pregnancy. Pregnancy is an incredible feat, and I know you’ll be able to rise to the challenge. Ready? Set? Let’s get started. (more…)
Lots of things change as women continue on their journey through mid-life. Some, like increased confidence and less worry about what others think, are fantastic aspects, others like unwanted changes in our bodies can be frustrating to deal with. What’s worse? Insensitive comments, such as the one’s I’ve compiled below.
Want to learn more?
This Saturday, Sept 26, 2015, El Camino Hospital will be hosting a FREE women’s health fair from 9:30 to 12:30. Seating is limited, so register by clicking here or call: (800) 216-5556
• Is that a beard? Have you ever considered electrolysis? – The fact is that during the menopause transition, lots of women start to lose the hair on their heads and around their pubic areas (which is probably age related) and at the same time discover alarming new hair growth where we don’t want it! – Our upper lips, chins and necks.
Blame hormonal changes for the thick, coarse hairs that seem to sprout every day. Plucking, waxing, threading are good temporary measures. If the hair is dark then laser will still work. Personally, I have my electrolysis expert on speed dial. She has vanquished both dark and light hairs over many months. (more…)