- Women’s Health
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- 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.
My friend, Katie called yesterday. The night before, she was at her monthly Bunco group, and after enjoying an appletini and was sitting in her chair, laughing at a friend’s hilarious story about their kids. Suddenly Katie was laughing so hard that she literally pee’d her pants. “I couldn’t control it,” she blurted, “Luckily, I was wearing dark pants, and it was just a little bit, but that has happened since after I had my 2nd child. OMG, is this the beginning of the end?
One of my patients called yesterday and said that her elderly mother had suddenly started leaking urine. Her mom just couldn’t get to the bathroom fast enough. The family was worried that this might mean that mom needed adult protection (diapers) and they worried that this would “crush” her spirit.
“It hurts when I go to the bathroom”
Ask yourself these questions:
– Very little
– Less than normal
– A normal amount
– More than usual
Have you been treated for a Bladder Infection? In addition to taking the prescribed antibiotics, it’s also been shown that a healthy dose of probiotics can help reduce the risk of having a recurrent infection.
A while back, I wrote about bladder infections. Today, we’ll dive into more detail about a great home remedy that really works to prevent and sometimes treat bladder infections.
Many of my patients have cranberry juice every day or a few times each week to keep the keep their bladders happy and healthy, and I recommend it. Here’s why:
New Evidence Proves What Women Already Know
It doesn’t take a genius to know that cranberry juice works. However, a very smart researcher, who also happens to be a woman, figured out how. (more…)
I think it’s funny and great way to get the conversation about leaking started. I mean how many of us know the precise location of every bathroom in a 5 mile radius? None of my patients wants to use heavy, bulky, diaper like protection. Poise works and they’re discreet, so that you can feel confident whether you’re laughing with friends, have a little cough or even stepping off a curb.
Did you know that one out of every four women will experience some form of pelvic health issue – bleeding, urinary incontinence or pelvic pain? This number actually doubles as women age!
Pelvic pain and incontinence frequently are suffered in silence, due to embarrassment. But an entire medical discipline devoted to these conditions is making significant inroads in the treatment of the painful conditions that fall under the topic of “pelvic health.” Women can now exchange embarrassment for empowerment.
In this edition of Nurse Barb’s Daily Dose, Barb speaks with the pelvic health experts: Drs. Sari Levine and Katherine Sutherland and physical therapist Meenal Mujumdar. Together, they address some of the misconceptions that keep women from seeking treatment for pelvic pain or incontinence problems and explain the advances in treatments that are worth considering.
Topics Covered Include:
You can download my Menopause Guide here.
Cary came in for an urgent visit. She was urinating every 5 minutes, felt that she had to go constantly, and yet there wasn’t much urine that came out and it burned like fire when it did finally trickle out. She had experienced this before and called to come in right away. “I think I have another bladder infection,” she said. “It just started last night and I didn’t get any sleep.”