Archive for the ‘stress incontinence’ Category

A Balloon In The Bladder-A New Treatment For Incontinence

June 18, 2014

Laughter is the best medicine; but not for overactive bladder! This is a common condition affecting 15 million American men and women. Now a new novel treatment that does not require surgery is currently undergoing clinical studies in the United States in order to achieve FDA approval.

Stress urinary incontinence or loss of urine with coughing, sneezing, laughing, or even bending over to tie your shoes is the most prevalent form of incontinence among women, affects an estimated 140 million women worldwide. SUI is defined as the inability of the bladder to store urine during normal everyday physical activities without sudden increases in bladder pressure.

The Solace Bladder Control System is a non-surgical alternative to involuntary urinary leakage. The Solace Bladder Control Balloon is a small, lightweight device that floats within the urinary bladder. The balloon is designed to eliminate or reduce involuntary urinary leakage. It acts as a “shock absorber” to reduce the temporary pressure changes in the bladder that cause urinary leakage.

The Solace Bladder Control Balloon procedure is performed in the physician’s office. No medication or preparation is required before the procedure. The physician places the Solace Bladder Control Balloon into the bladder through a small tube inserted into the bladder under a local anesthetic. Pressure reduction is immediate. The balloon can be removed at any time.

For more information on the Bladder Control Balloon go to http://www.stopsui.com.

Bottom Line: Incontinence is a common condition that affects millions of American men and women. At the present time there is no medication to treat this problem. The Bladder Control Balloon may be a treatment option.

Urinary Incontinence is No Joking Matter

April 16, 2014

Have you ever heard someone say after telling a joke, “I laughed so hard, I peed my pants”? If it is indeed true, then it is no laughing matter. Incontinence affects millions of American men and women. It is more common as men and women age but can occur at any time and may impact a man or woman’s quality of life because of embarrassing leakage. It can affect a man or woman’s self-image and confidence.

There are two categories of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is due to laughing or sneezing. Basically, small amount of leakage occurs when the pressure in the belly is more than what the urethra – the urine tube leading out of the bladder – can stand. This is what happens when you laugh or sneeze and leak.

Urge incontinence occurs when the bladder contracts and forces usually large volume of urine out. People may describe a sudden urge to urinate, and they simply cannot make it in time to the bathroom. Sometimes both types of incontinence may be present and is referred to mixed incontinence.

Women are more likely to experience urinary incontinence because their anatomy predisposes them to leakage of urine. Also, hormonal changes occurring at the time of menopause with a decrease in estrogen levels, childbirth and aging make leakage more common for women. If the incontinence affects a woman’s day-to-day life and it keeps them from taking part in their daily activities, then they should take the initiative and obtain the assistance of the physicians.
Men with incontinence, on the other hand, should see their doctor as it may represent a more serious problem with their prostate gland.
The good news is that urinary incontinence can be treated. It may be as simple as behavioral changes quit, special exercises and medicines. In some cases it may involve surgery.

Bottom Line: Urinary incontinence affects millions of American men and women. It is not a condition that kills those who suffer but it does affect their quality of life. Help is available and most men and women who suffer from urinary incontinence can be helped. Remember you don’t have to depend on Depends!

Urinary Incontinence-Non-Medication Solutions

March 9, 2014

Millions of Americans suffer from incontinence. Americans are already “polymedicated” or taking far too many drugs. Many of my patients are trying to solve problems naturally without the use of medications. This blog will discuss the treatment of urinary incontinence without prescription medications.

Incontinence is a symptom of a urinary tract problem, and there are different types of urinary incontinence. Women commonly have overactive bladder\urge incontinence or stress incontinence with the loss of urine with coughing, sneezing, or with exercise.

Men most commonly experience stress incontinence — the accidental release of urine when the bladder is under pressure — after being treated for prostate cancer.
Another type of incontinence called overflow incontinence, occurs more commonly in men. This is associated with enlarged prostate — benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH can squeeze the urethra and keep the bladder from completely emptying.

Whether you have stress incontinence, urge or overflow incontinence, there are natural steps you can take to support your urinary health and restore continence. If an enlarged prostate is causing your symptoms, you can learn how to promote a normal prostate size.

The lifestyle choices you make and the foods you eat can help you regain control of your bladder. Following are several lifestyle changes you can make that will positively affect your bladder control, prostate and urinary health.
Manage Fluids

Drink pure water. While it is important to stay properly hydrated, you want to avoid drinking in the two to three hours before bedtime.
Supplements

There are several natural supplements that support the urinary tract, and many supplements that shrink the prostate. Many men find urinary health benefits from quercetin, saw palmetto, curcumin, green tea extract, cranberry, stinging nettle and pygeum.

Fruits And Vegetables
These foods are high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. These support prostate health and urinary tract health, as well as being good for the rest of you too.

Consume Healthy Fats
Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats help promote prostate health.

Avoid Food Additives And Sugar
Some foods and additives are harmful to the prostate and your urinary function. Try to avoid the worst ingredients in processed foods.

Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight can worsen symptoms of urinary incontinence by putting excess pressure on the bladder. Exercise helps promote prostate health.

Kegel Exercises
Doing Kegels every day can help improve bladder control. Other alternative treatments such as physical therapy may also be of help.

Avoid Cigarettes Or Drink
Smoking is a risk factor for stress incontinence. Alcohol increases urinary frequency, so try to limit or avoid it.

Drink Green Tea
Green tea health benefits come from its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Whether your drink it or take it as a supplement, look for caffeine-free green tea.

Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine from coffee, tea and soda can promote urinary frequency. A study on incontinence in men and caffeine shows that men who consumed 234 mg or more of caffeine every day were 72 percent more likely to have some urinary incontinence compared to men who drink small amounts.

Avoid Foods That Irritate The Bladder
Foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder include citrus fruits, citrus juice, carbonated drinks and spicy foods.

Go When You Need to Go
Don’t hold your urine when you need to go. Holding it can irritate your urinary tract and possibly lead to a urinary tract infection.

Of course, there are medications and other treatments that can help with urinary symptoms of BPH, but they have some unwanted side effects. Before taking any medications, you should give some of the natural supplements and lifestyle changes a try. They may help and they won’t hurt.

Bottom Line: The first step is to talk to your doctor about what is causing your urinary incontinence and to develop a plan for dealing with the problem. Learn as much as you can about urinary incontinence. If you suffer from urinary incontinence, try some of these non-prescription alternatives. They just might work and will decrease your dependence on Depends!

This blog was inspired and modified by an article Treat Urinary Incontinence Naturally
Dr. Geo Espinosa
http://easyhealthoptions.com/easy-health-options-digest/treat-urinary-incontinence-naturally/

When Something Is Coming Out “Down There”-Use of A Pessary To Treat Vaginal Prolapse

January 30, 2014

As women reach menopause, many women experience changes in the vagina which include incontinence of urine and pelvic organ prolapse where organs and tissues start coming out of the vagina. For mild problems of incontinence, Kegel exercises can help control the problem. For more extensive prolapse surgery is often necessary. For women who can’t have surgery or wish not to take the surgical option, a pessary is an alternative. This blog will discuss a vaginal pessary and how it can help women with urinary incontinence and vaginal prolapse.

A vaginal pessary is a removable device placed into the vagina. It is designed to support areas of pelvic organ prolapse.

There are a variety of pessaries available, made of rubber, plastic, or silicone-based material. Among common types of pessaries are the inflatable, the doughnut, and the Gellhorn

Your physician will fit your pessary to hold the pelvic organs in position without causing discomfort. Pessaries come in a variety of sizes and should be fitted carefully.

What To Expect After Treatment
Your pessary will be fitted in your health professional’s office. You may need to experiment with different kinds of pessaries to find one that feels right for you. Your health professional will teach you how to remove, clean, and reinsert the pessary on a regular schedule. The cleaning schedule is determined by the type of pelvic organ prolapse and the specific brand of pessary. If it is hard for you to remove and replace your pessary, you can have it done regularly at your doctor’s office.

Why It Is Done
Pessaries are used as a nonsurgical approach to the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse. They are frequently used to treat uterine prolapse in young women during pregnancy. In this instance, the pessary holds the uterus in the correct position before it enlarges and becomes trapped in the vaginal canal.

Pessaries are also used when symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are mild or when childbearing is not complete. They can be used in women who have other serious chronic health problems, such as heart or lung disease, that make a surgical procedure more dangerous.

Pessaries are sometimes used to see what the effect of surgery for pelvic organ prolapse will be on urinary symptoms. This is called a “pessary test.” If you have a problem with incontinence with a pessary inserted, a separate surgery to fix the incontinence problem may be done at the same time as a prolapse surgery

How Well It Works
Pessaries do not cure pelvic organ prolapse but help manage and slow the progression of prolapse by adding support to the vagina and increasing tightness of the tissues and muscles of the pelvis. Symptoms improve in many women who use a pessary, and for some women symptoms go away.1

Risks
Possible complications from wearing a pessary include:

· Open sores in the vaginal wall.
· Bleeding.
· Wearing away of the vaginal wall. In severe cases, an opening (fistula) can form between the vagina and the rectum.
· Bulging of the rectum against the vaginal wall (rectocele formation).
Complications can be minimized by having a pessary that fits correctly and that does not put too much pressure on the wall of the vagina. Your pessary should be checked frequently by your health professional until both of you are satisfied with the fit.

In post menopausal women, estrogen (cream, ring, or tablets) is sometimes used with a pessary to help with irritation caused by the pessary.

Follow your health professional’s instructions for cleaning your pessary, because regular cleaning reduces the risk of complications. The cleaning schedule is determined by the type of pelvic organ prolapse and the specific brand of pessary.

What To Think About
Pessaries often are an effective tool for managing pelvic organ prolapse without surgery. They may be the best choice if you are a young woman who has not finished having children, if you have been told that surgery would be risky for you, or if you do not wish to have surgery for other reasons.

A pessary may not be a good choice after having a hysterectomy. This is because the walls of the vagina are no longer held in place by the uterus and cervix. Women with severe prolapse following a hysterectomy may have difficulty keeping the pessary in place.

Many women can have sexual intercourse with their pessary in place. But you cannot insert a diaphragm (a round rubber device used as a barrier method of birth control) while wearing a pessary. If you have not reached menopause, you may want to discuss birth control with your doctor.

Bottom Line: Incontinence and prolapse are common concerns of many middle age, post-menopausal women. Certainly medications are a first line of treatment. For women who do not respond to medication and do not want to have surgery, a pessary is treatment option.

Dripping and Depends-Loss of Urine After Prostate Gland Surgery

July 12, 2013

You Don't Have to Depend On Depends!

You Don’t Have to Depend On Depends!


Prostate cancer is the second most common malignancy in men. Many men will choose to have surgery on their prostate gland and have the entire gland removed if the disease is confined to the prostate gland. Unfortunately, the sphincter, or muscle that controls urination, is often injured at the time of surgery or is included in the surgical specimen. As a result men will have problems with urination after the surgery.

There are three types of urinary incontinence may develop after prostate cancer treatment. These are stress incontinence, overflow incontinence, and urge incontinence.

If you have stress incontinence, you leak small amounts of urine when you cough, sneeze, exercise or put pressure on your bladder. Kegel exercises may help strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor. This allows you to delay urinating until you reach a toilet.
You may have thought that Kegel exercises were something only women do. In fact, the muscles that are strengthened with Kegel exercises are the same in both sexes. (For more information on Kegel exercises, please refer to my website, http://www.neilbaum.com)

Urge incontinence occurs when your bladder suddenly contracts and expels urine. You get an urge to urinate even though you know you emptied your bladder not long before. You urinate, and then get the urge again a half-hour later. Urge incontinence often comes in waves. It may not bother you all morning, for example, but it becomes insistent mid-afternoon. In the course of a few hours you may feel the urge four or five times.

Bladder retraining helps by increasing the amount of urine your bladder can hold. In this technique you suppress your urge and gradually prolong the time between trips to the toilet. This really works, but now and then there’s a crisis. You’ve ignored the urge, and ignored it again, and suddenly you’re pretty sure you aren’t going to hold it and need to dash to the bathroom. The trick is to know when your bladder is at its limit and go to the bathroom just before you have to make that mad dash.

Prescription medications, particularly oxybutynin (Ditropan), tolterodine (Detrol) and some antidepressants, can be effective. The antidepressants aren’t treating depression: They calm the sensations that come from your bladder.

Overflow incontinence results when your bladder cannot empty completely. As a result, urine dribbles out. Alpha blocker drugs help to more fully empty the bladder.

Even if your incontinence can’t be cured, it can be managed. Absorbent underwear and highly absorbent disposable pads can be worn with everyday clothing. A condom-like device can be fitted over your penis and connected to a drainage bag. There is also a rubber clamp that can be used to compress the urethra or the tube that transports urine from the bladder through the penis to the outside of the body. Also there is a ring that can be applied to the penis that will gently compress the urethra and prevent urine loss.

Bottom Line: Fortunately, most men who have prostate gland surgery will be able to control their urination. The few who have problems with urination can be helped with exercises, medications, devices, and only rarely will need additional surgery to correct the problem.

Losing Your Urine When You Cough Or Sneeze-Treating Incontinence With a Pessary

December 27, 2012

Pessary For Treating Mild Stress Incontinence

Pessary For Treating Mild Stress Incontinence


Stress urinary incontinence or loss of urine with coughing, sneezing, or even bending over to put on your shoes affects millions of American women. Often times a woman is looking for a treatment that does not involve medication or surgery. For certain women a vaginal pessary is an option. A pessary is a removable device placed into the vagina. It is designed to support areas of the pelvis such as occurs with pelvic organ prolapse.
There are a variety of pessaries available, made of rubber, plastic, or silicone-based material. Among common types of pessaries are the inflatable , the doughnut, and the Gellhorn.

Frequent Urination: Causes and Treatments
Gotta go all the time? The technical name for your problem is frequent urination or overactive bladder. In most people the bladder is able to store urine until it is convenient to go to the toilet, typically four to eight times a day. Needing to go more than eight times a day or waking up in the night to go to the bathroom could mean you’re drinking too much and/or too close to bedtime. Or it could signal a health problem.

Why It Is Done
Pessaries are used as a nonsurgical approach to the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse. They are frequently used to treat uterine prolapse in young women during pregnancy. In this instance, the pessary holds the uterus in the correct position before it enlarges and becomes trapped in the vaginal canal.
Pessaries are also used when symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are mild or when childbearing is not complete. They can be used in women who have other serious chronic health problems, such as heart or lung disease, that make a surgical procedure more dangerous.

Pessaries are sometimes used to see what the effect of surgery for pelvic organ prolapse will be on urinary symptoms. This is called a “pessary test.” If you have a problem with incontinence with a pessary inserted, a separate surgery to fix the incontinence problem may be done at the same time as a prolapse surgery
How Well It Works
Pessaries do not cure pelvic organ prolapse but help manage and slow the progression of prolapse by adding support to the vagina and increasing tightness of the tissues and muscles of the pelvis. Symptoms improve in many women who use a pessary, and for some women symptoms go away.

You will need to see a doctor to be fitted for a pessary which will hold the pelvic organs in position without causing discomfort. Pessaries come in a variety of sizes and should be fitted carefully.

What To Expect After Treatment
Your pessary will be fitted in your doctor’s office. You may need to experiment with different kinds of pessaries to find one that feels right. The pessary needs to be remove, clean, and reinsert the pessary on a regular schedule. Most often this is done by the doctor or his\her staff but some women prefer to do this themselves. The cleaning schedule is determined by the type of pelvic organ prolapse and the specific brand of pessary.

Risks
Possible complications from wearing a pessary include:
• Open sores in the vaginal wall.
• Bleeding.
• Wearing away of the vaginal wall. In severe cases, an opening can form between the vagina and the rectum.
• Bulging of the rectum against the vaginal wall (rectocele formation).

Complications can be minimized by having a pessary that fits correctly and that does not put too much pressure on the wall of the vagina.
In post menopausal women, estrogen (cream, ring, or tablets) is sometimes used with a pessary to help with irritation caused by the pessary.
What To Think About

Pessaries often are an effective tool for managing pelvic organ prolapse without surgery. They may be the best choice if you are a young woman who has not finished having children, if you have been told that surgery would be risky for you, or if you do not wish to have surgery for other reasons.
A pessary may not be a good choice after having a hysterectomy. This is because the walls of the vagina are no longer held in place by the uterus and cervix. Women with severe prolapse following a hysterectomy may have difficulty keeping the pessary in place.
Many women can have sexual intercourse with their pessary in place. But you cannot insert a diaphragm (a round rubber device used as a barrier method of birth control) while wearing a pessary. If you have not reached menopause, you may want to discuss birth control with your doctor.


Bottom Line: Stress incontinence is common condition affecting millions of American women. The treatment with a pessary is an option that does not require the use of medication or surgery.

For more information on women’s health, I suggest my new book, What’s Going On Down There-Everything You Need To KnowAbout Your Pelvic Health. the book is available from Amazon.com

New book on women's health

New book on women’s health

Problems “Down There” That Affect Your Sex Life

September 11, 2012

One of life’s greatest pleasures is intimacy with your partner. Nothing can put the ice on that relationship faster than when there is pain and discomfort for either a man or a woman associated with sexual intimacy. This article will review the most common causes of vaginal pain and what can be done to make the ouch go away.

Vaginitis
The itching, burning, and pain associated with vaginitis results from a disruption in the natural balance of bacteria that live in every healthy vagina. There’s no single cause. Common culprits include hormonal changes due to birth control, menopause, or pregnancy as well as chronic medical conditions, such as HIV and diabetes, which weaken the immune system. Frequent sexual intercourse and sex with multiple partners can be to blame as well. Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most common vaginal infection in women of reproductive age. Women with BV may have a copious, thin grayish-white discharge. BV is easily treated with oral or vaginal antibiotics.
Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of one of several strains of Candida, a fungus that lives normally in the vagina. Women may notice a thick white discharge with a slight odor. However, many women complain of genital itching, soreness, or irritation. Treatment consists of a vaginal cream or an oral antifungal medication, Diflucan.
Treatment is painless and easy; most women simply insert at bedtime a prescribed cream or an ovule (a soft suppository) — generally soothing but messy — or they can take a prescription oral antifungal such as Diflucan. You’ll avoid the mess, but relief might take a few days longer.

Atrophic vaginitis is a result of a decrease in estrogen levels and the lining of the vagina becomes thin and easily irritated. Treatments such as estrogen creams or a vaginal estrogen ring can help.

Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection, can cause a greenish-yellow frothy discharge, with some itching and burning. This infection is easily treated with oral or vaginal antibiotics.

Vulvodynia

Vulvodynia is a condition where the pain so severe you can’t sit comfortably let alone have intercourse. The cause is unknown, but possible contributors include injury to nerves in the vulva, hypersensitivity to Candida, and pelvic floor muscle spasms. Treatment options include estrogens, oral antifungal medication, topical steroid creams, and physical therapy to loosen the muscles causing the spasms.
Vaginismus
This is a rare condition that fewer than 2% of women, which causes the muscles surrounding the vagina to contract so tightly that a woman can’t have sexual intercourse or even insert a tampon. The cause is unknown, but like vulvodynia, vaginismus responds to physical therapy. Now doctors are using Botox to relax the muscles and prevent spasms for up to six months.

Stress Incontinence
Stress incontinence occurs when there’s increased pressure or stress on the bladder or lower abdomen, such as when sneezing, when coughing, or during intercourse. This is a source of great embarrassment to a woman who loses urine during sexual intimacy. The cause is usually due to multiple vaginal childbirths, estrogen deficiency, obesity, and chronic constipation with the chronic straining to have a BM.
The easiest solution is for a woman to use the bathroom prior to sexual intimacy in order to empty her bladder. Kegel exercises can help build up the pelvic muscles that support the bladder and the urethra. Now there are minimally invasive surgical procedures that can help restore continence that can be done on an outpatient basis with immediate results.

Bottom Line: If you think you have any of these, see your doctor. Over-the-counter creams will often make the problem worse. The diagnosis is easily made in the doctor’s office and treatment can begin immediately and you will put the icing back on your sexual cake.

When Things Are Coming Out “Down There”-Pelvic Organ Prolapse

December 25, 2010

Pelvic organ prolapse is a common that affects more than 30 million American women in the United States.  Unfortunately, only 15% of women who have prolapse seek treatment from a doctor.  This article will define prolapse, discuss the symptoms of prolapse and discuss some of the treatment options.

Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition where there is a weakening of the support tissues or muscles of the pelvis.  The symptoms of POP include a bulge or lump in the vagina or a pulling or stretching sensation in the groin.  Women with POP may complain of difficulty with sexual intimacy.  They may also have urine and\or fecal incontinence.  They may also have difficulty with bowel movements or difficulty emptying their bladder.

The causes of POP include menopause, multiple pregnancies and childbirth, prior pelvic surgery, obesity, and as a consequence of the aging process.

Treatment options for POP

Conservative therapies including strengthening the pelvic floor muscles.  This can be easily accomplished with Kegel exercises.  These are exercises named after the doctor who devised the treatment, which consists of contracting and relaxing the muscles in the pelvis.  These are the same muscles which hold urine in and rectal gas in place.  A woman should do the Kegel exercises multiple times a day and should not expect any changes for several months until the muscles are strengthened.

For more information on Kegel exercises go to http://www.neilbaum.com/pelvic-exercises-for-women-kegel-exercises.html.

Another conservative therapy is the use of pessaries or plastic or rubber rings which are inserted into the vagina to restore the fallen organ back into the normal anatomic position.   Peccaries will work immediately but they have to be changed periodically in order to avoid vaginal infections.

Probably the most common treatment is surgical repair of the prolapse.  The surgery is used to strengthen structures around the vagina to maintain support of the structures and organs in the pelvis.  These procedures can usually be accomplished through the vaginal opening.  Most women can have the procedure on a one-day stay basis or remain in the hospital for just 24 hours.  Most women need little or no pain medication after the procedure and can return to all activities including heavy lifting, exercise, and sexual intimacy in 3-4 weeks after the procedure.

Most of the surgical procedures that restore the normal anatomy are 90% successful and most patients are very satisfied after the procedure.

Bottom Line:  If something isn’t right “down there” you don’t have to suffer in silence.  There are several treatment options to restore your normal anatomy.  You can have an improved quality of life and return to your normal activities within a short time.  If you have any questions, call your doctor.

 

 

 

 

Loss of Urine After Vaginal Surgery-You Have To Depend On Depends!

December 12, 2010

There are many women who will develop urinary incontinence after vaginal surgery.  For example if a woman has a protrusion of her bladder, uterus, or rectum into the vagina and needs a surgical correction, the surgery may result in the involuntary loss of urine with coughing and sneezing after the surgery.  The reason is that the protrusion or prolapse kinks or bends the urethra or the tube from the bladder that transports urine to the outside of the body before the surgical correction thus preventing incontinence.  Once the normal anatomy has been restored and the urethra is no longer kinked, urinary incontinence may occur.  It is estimated that more than 30% of women who are continent before surgery will develop incontinence or loss of urine after the procedure.

 

What to do?  Be sure that your doctor checks for incontinence in the office BEFORE you have the surgery.  This may require some testing or maneuvers in the office to reduce the prolapse or protrusion and check for incontinence.  If incontinence is unmasked, then the doctor can perform a small procedure during the surgery to repair the prolapse that will prevent incontinence afterwards.

 

Bottom Line:  Urinary incontinence is a significant problem that results in loss of self-esteem, confidence, and may lead to a reclusive life-style.  In most instances this can be cured and prevented in women who are undergoing vaginal surgery if the doctor is aware of this possibility before the surgery takes place.

 

A Kegel A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

April 22, 2010

Mary Ann is a 45-year old woman who loses urine (incontinence) when she coughs and sneezes.  She is provided with exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles of her bladder. She does the exercises every day for 12 weeks and has significant improvement in her urinary symptoms.

There are many conditions that put stress on your pelvic floor muscles such as childbirth through vaginal deliveries, obesity, chronic coughing, and after menopause when there is a deficiency of estrogen or the female hormone produced in the ovaries.

When your pelvic floor muscles weaken, your pelvic organs descend and bulge into your vagina, a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse. The effects of pelvic organ prolapse range from uncomfortable pelvic pressure to leakage of urine or feces. Fortunately, Kegel exercises can strengthen pelvic muscles and delay or maybe even prevent pelvic organ prolapse.

How to perform Kegel exercises

It takes diligence to identify your pelvic floor muscles and learn how to contract and relax them. You can learn to identify the proper pelvic muscles by trying to stop the flow of urine while you’re going to the bathroom.

If you’re having trouble finding the right muscles, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Your doctor can give you important feedback so that you learn to isolate and exercise the correct muscles.

After you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold the contraction for three seconds then relax for three seconds.  Repeat this exercise 10 times.  After you have learned how to contract the pelvic muscles for 3 seconds, work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.  Perform a set of 10 Kegel exercises three times a day. The exercises will get easier the more often you do them. You might make a practice of fitting in a set every time you do a routine task, such as sitting at a red light.

For those women who have trouble doing Kegel exercises, biofeedback training or electrical stimulation may help. In a biofeedback session, a nurse, therapist or technician will either insert a small monitoring probe into your vagina or place adhesive electrodes on the skin outside your vagina or rectal area. When you contract your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll see a measurement on a monitor that lets you know whether you’ve successfully contracted the right muscles. You’ll also be able to see how long you hold the contraction.

Results are not immediate or the first time you do the exercises.  You can expect to see some results, such as less frequent urine leakage, within about eight to 12 weeks. Your improvement may be dramatic — or, at the very least, you may keep your problems from worsening. As with other forms of physical activity, you need to make Kegel exercises a lifelong practice to reap lifelong rewards.

An added bonus: Kegel exercises may be helpful for women who have persistent problems reaching orgasm.

Bottom Line:  Many women have a problem of loss of urine with coughing and sneezing.  Kegel exercises are effective for very mild urinary incontinence.  It’s inexpensive, does not require use of medication, and if you are patient, it does, indeed, work.