Archive for May, 2016

10 Reasons For Women To Kegel

May 28, 2016

 Andrew Siegel, M.D. 5/28/16

The pelvic floor muscles—a.k.a. the Kegel muscles—are internal, hidden and behind-the-scenes muscles, yet they are vital to a healthy existence. There are numerous advantages to keeping them robust and fit with Kegel pelvic floor exercises.  Today’s entry enumerates why this is the case for females and next week’s entry will detail why Kegels are equally beneficial for males.

 

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10 GOOD REASONS FOR WOMEN TO DO KEGEL EXERCISES

  1. To enable you to have a more comfortable pregnancy, a smoother labor and delivery and a faster recovery.
  1. To improve/prevent pelvic relaxation (dropped bladder, uterus, rectum, etc.) and vaginal laxity (looseness).
  1. To improve/prevent sexual and orgasm issues. 
  1. To enhance sexual pleasure for you and your partner.
  1. To improve/prevent stress urinary incontinence (leakage with coughing, sneezing, exercise, etc.).
  1. To improve/prevent urinary and bowel urgency (“gotta go”) and urinary and bowel urgency incontinence (inability to get to the bathroom on time to prevent an accident).
  1. To improve/prevent pelvic pain due to pelvic floor tension myalgia by learning how to relax your pelvic floor muscles.
  1. To help prevent pelvic impairments from high impact sports and saddle sports (e.g., cycling, motorcycling and horseback riding).
  1. To improve core strength, posture, lumbar stability, alignment and balance.
  1. To maintain good health and youthful vitality.

 

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health– and MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook and Kobo; paperback edition available at TheKegelFix.com

Author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Siegel/e/B004W7IM48

Apple iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-kegel-fix/id1105198755?mt=11

Trailer for The Kegel Fix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHZxoiQb1Cc  

Co-creator of Private Gym and PelvicRx: comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training programs. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Kegel, these programs empower men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.  In the works is the female PelvicRx pelvic floor muscle training DVD. 

Pelvic Rx can be obtained at http://www.UrologyHealthStore.com, an online store home to quality urology products for men and women. Use promo code “UROLOGY10” at checkout for 10% discount. 

Your Pelvic Floor After Childbirth

May 21, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD 5/21/16

Pregnancy, labor and delivery are amazing experiences culminating in the birth of a precious human being. However, the process can be traumatic with possible untoward pelvic consequences. Today’s entry addresses some of the aftermaths and repercussions of the process of childbirth.

shutterstock_femalebluepelvic

 The thought was delivered just after my newborn’s placenta: A sneaking suspicion that things were not quite the same down there, and they might never be again…my daughter had finished using my vagina as a giant elastic waterslide.                                                                                      Alissa Walker, Gizmodo.com, April 2, 2015

 

The pelvic floor muscles (PFM) take a genuine beating from pregnancy, labor and vaginal delivery. Pregnancy incurs maternal weight gain, a change in body posture, pregnancy-related hormonal changes and the pressure of a growing uterus and fetal weight, all of which may reduce the supportive and sphincter (urinary and bowel control) functions of the PFM.

Labor is called so for a genuine reason! The hours you spend pushing and straining are often very unkind to the PFM. Elective Caesarian section avoids labor and affords protection to the PFM, but prolonged labor resulting in an emergency C-section is equally as potentially damaging to the PFM as is vaginal delivery.

Vaginal delivery is the ultimate traumatic event to the PFM. The soft tissues of the pelvis (including the PFM) get crushed in the “vise” between your baby’s bony skull and your own bony pelvis and are simply no match for the hardness and inflexibility of these bones. The PFM and connective tissues are frequently stretched, if not torn, from their attachments to the pubic bone and pelvic sidewalls, and the nerves to the pelvic floor are often affected as well. The undesirable consequences of obstetric “trauma” include altered PFM anatomy with loss of vaginal tone and function, a.k.a. birth-related laxity (looseness). This can give rise to a variety of pelvic floor dysfunctions including pelvic organ prolapse (pooching of one or more of the pelvic organs into the space of the vagina and in more severe cases, outside the vaginal opening), urinary and bowel control issues and sexual dysfunction.

Studies measuring PFM strength before and after first delivery show a decrease in PFM strength in about 50% of women.  Not surprisingly, following delivery, the larger the measured diameter of the vaginal opening, the weaker the vaginal strength.

Who Knew? After a vaginal delivery, things “down there” are often just not the same. The vagina becomes looser and more open, the vaginal lining becomes dryer and hormonal-related pigmentation changes often cause a darker appearance of the vulva.

Since birth trauma to the pelvic floor often gives rise to urinary, bowel, gynecological and sexual consequences, why not consider starting pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) well before pregnancy? This runs counter to our repair-based medical culture that is not preventive-oriented and our patient population that often opts for fixing things as opposed to preventing them from occurring in the first place.

Realistically, PFMT prior to pregnancy will not prevent pelvic floor anatomical changes and dysfunction in everyone. Unquestionably, obstetrical trauma (9 months of pregnancy, hours of labor and vaginal delivery of a baby that can be plus or minus 9 pounds, repeated several times) can and will often cause some element of pelvic floor dysfunction, whether the PFM are fit or not! However, even if pelvic training does not prevent all forms of pelvic floor dysfunction, it will certainly impact it in a very positive way, lessening its degree and accelerating the healing process. Furthermore, mastering PFMT (a.k.a. Kegel exercises) before pregnancy will make carrying the pregnancy easier and will facilitate labor and delivery and the effortless resumption of the exercises in the after-delivery period, as the exercises were learned under ideal circumstances, prior to PFM injury.

Preventive health routines are commonly practiced with respect to general physical fitness. We work out not only to achieve better fitness, but also to maintain fitness and prevent losses in strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, etc. So why not apply this to the pelvic floor as well?

Bottom Line: Birth trauma can be detrimental to your pelvic health, resulting in a variety of pelvic floor issues.  Fortunately, these pelvic floor dysfunctions are treatable conditions. The best approach is a proactive and preventive, pursuing pelvic floor muscle training before pregnancy.  In fact, pelvic exercises can be beneficial to any woman, even if pregnancy is not a consideration. 

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health– newly available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook and Kobo; paperback edition available at TheKegelFix.com

Author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Siegel/e/B004W7IM48

Apple iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-kegel-fix/id1105198755?mt=11

Trailer for The Kegel Fix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHZxoiQb1Cc  

Co-creator of Private Gym and PelvicRx: comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training programs. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Kegel, these programs empower men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.  In the works is the female PelvicRx pelvic floor muscle training DVD. 

Pelvic Rx can be obtained at http://www.UrologyHealthStore.com, an online store home to quality urology products for men and women. Use promo code “UROLOGY10” at checkout for 10% discount. 

 

Addyi: Female Viagra Or What?

May 14, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD  5/14/16

Viagra-femminile

Clearly, sexism exists in the field of sexual medicine with a large gender gap with respect to the recognition and treatment of sexual issues. Numerous medications and options are available for male sexual dysfunction, but choices are few are far between for females with sexual problems.  Men have pelvic floor muscle training, vibrational stimulation, vacuum suction devices, pills (Viagra, Levitra, Staxyn, Cialis, Stendra), testosterone replacement, urethral suppositories, penile injection therapy and penile implants. Women have Kegel exercise programs, vibrational stimulation and estrogen replacement.  It is only fair that women have equal sexual medical rights.

One of the issues underlying this sexual gender gap is the erroneous assumption that  by virtue of possessing vaginas, females are less prone to sexual dysfunction than men are. The word “vagina” derives from the Latin word for “sheath,” a cover for the blade of a sword. The sword and sheath metaphor is convenient and assumes that the male plays the fully active role and the female the passive one. A flawed thought pattern is that while a man needs a rigid erection to perform—a complicated nerve-blood vessel-muscular event—a woman can simply lubricate and be ready to go. The truth of the matter is that female sexual response, although more subtle and nuanced than the male response, results in genital anatomical changes as profound as those that occur in males, just less apparent and obvious because the vagina is internal. Under normal circumstances, the vagina is no more “primed” for sex than is a flaccid penis, the un-stimulated vagina being merely a potential space; however, when stimulated, the vaginal walls lubricate and the vagina expands, lengthens and widens in order to accommodate an erect penis, changes that are as dramatic as the transition of a flaccid penis to an erect penis. The bottom line is that the vagina is by no means simply a passive channel.

Female sexual dysfunction is a common condition that can give rise to one or more of the following symptoms: diminished desire; decreased sexual arousal; difficulty achieving orgasm; and pain with sexual intercourse. The most prevalent issue and the subject matter of this entry is decreased or lack of sexual desire, the formal medical title being hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), although I prefer the less formal, non-medical version: “Honey, I’m not in the mood.” Diminished sex drive is complicated and involves a number of underlying factors–biochemical, psychological, and social.

In terms of biochemical factors, the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine stimulate sexual desire, whereas serotonin inhibits it. The SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) class of antidepressants function by increasing serotonin levels and are associated with decreased sexual desire as well as difficulty with arousal and orgasm, suggesting the important roles that serotonin plays as a regulators of sexual desire. Additionally, the hormone testosterone is a libido stimulant in both genders.

Addyi was initially developed as an anti-depressant and was investigated in a clinical trial for the treatment of depression. Unfortunately, it failed to offer a meaningful benefit as an anti-depressant, but was found to increase sexual desire in females who had depression in combination with decreased libido, providing the rationale for further investigating it as a treatment for diminished libido.

Addyi is a non-hormonal treatment that acts on the brain to normalize neurotransmitter levels and thus enhance sexual desire. Perhaps TMI… physiologically Addyi is an agonist of the serotonin receptor 1A and an antagonist of serotonin receptor 2A, inhibiting the serotonin “anti-sexual” effects while promoting dopamine “pro-sexual” effects.

Addyi was FDA-approved even though the members of the advisory committee acknowledged that its effectiveness was modest. One of the committee members who voted for its approval stated: “It’s not a little magic pink pill.” Another committee member who voted against approval claimed that it was “a mediocre aphrodisiac with some side effects with marketing winning out over science.”

Addyi 100 mg daily has been shown to be safe and effective and superior to placebo in improving female libido. It is used to treat “pre-menopausal women with acquired generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder characterized by low sexual desire that causes marked distress or interpersonal difficulty not due to coexisting medical or psychiatric issues, relationship problems or side effects from other medications.” It cannot be used with alcohol, so no romantic dinner with a nice bottle of wine if you are taking Addyi.

Last weekend I attended the San Diego American Urological Association meeting in San Diego, where Dr. Irwin Goldstein (a female sexual dysfunction expert with extensive experience prescribing Addyi) reported effectiveness in 60% of his patients with impaired libido, in some cases with life-changing results.

The adverse effects associated with Addyi –usually mild to moderate in severity–include dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, dry mouth and sleepiness. On occasion it can cause reduced blood pressure (hypotension) and passing out (syncope), particularly if used with alcohol.

Bottom Line: Although Addyi may not be as effective in increasing libido in women as Viagra is in improving erections in men, in the properly selected female it can provide a meaningful improvement in sexual drive.  It is the first FDA-approved drug for sexual dysfunction in women and hopefully represents the beginning of the end of sexism in the field of sexual medicine. 

Reference: Gao Z, Yang D, Yu L, and Cui,Y: Efficacy And Safety Of Flibanserin Center In Women With Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis. Journal of Sexual Medicine 2015; 12:2095 – 2104

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health– newly available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook and Kobo (paperback edition will be available soon).

Author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Siegel/e/B004W7IM48

Apple iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-kegel-fix/id1105198755?mt=11

Trailer for The Kegel Fix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHZxoiQb1Cc  

Co-creator of Private Gym and PelvicRx: comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training programs. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Kegel, these programs empower men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.  In the works is the female PelvicRx pelvic floor muscle training DVD. 

Pelvic Rx can be obtained at http://www.UrologyHealthStore.com, an online store home to quality urology products for men and women. Use promo code “UROLOGY10” at checkout for 10% discount. 

The Clitoris: What’s Under The Hood?

May 7, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD 5/7/16

The clitoris is a complex and mysterious organ possessed by all female mammals. Many men (as well as a fair share of women) are clueless (“uncliterate”) about this curious, unique and fascinating structure. The intent of this entry is to provide a primer of useful knowledge so that you can understand what is under the (clitoral) hood, literally and figuratively.  Advances in imaging—especially magnetic resonance (MR)—have provided a much clearer understanding of clitoral anatomy. Whether you are a female or a male, a greater knowledge and appreciation of the anatomy, function and nuances of this special female body part will most certainly prove useful and beneficial. 

Female External Genital Anatomy

The clitoris is part of the vulva, the outer part of the female genitals. The vulva consists of the mons, outer lips, inner lips, vestibule, vaginal opening, urethral opening and the star of the show–the clitoris.

5. vulva 

(Female external genital anatomy, from The Kegel Fix, credit to illustrator Ashley Halsey)

Clitoral Geography: Mountains, Hills and Earthquakes

The vulva is home to some hilly and bumpy terrain that is well worth gaining familiarity with so it can be traversed with finesse. The word mons derives from Latin meaning “mountain” because it is the rounded and prominent fatty tissue overlying the pubic bone. The word clitoris derives from the Greek “kleitoris” meaning “little hill.”

An earthquake is the shaking of the Earth’s surface caused by the sudden release of energy resulting from movements within the earth’s crust that creates seismic waves. If a female orgasm is thought of as an “earthquake,” the clitoris is the “epicenter.” The head of the clitoris—typically only the size of a pea—is an extraordinarily dense bundle of sensory nerve fibers.

 Pleasure (and Reproduction)

The clitoris is central to the female sexual response and sexual climax, the only human organ that exists solely for pleasure, although nature has secondary motives. The clitoris is a vital part of the anatomical design used for nature’s clever “bait and switch” trick, in which the pursuit of a pleasurable activity drives reproduction of the human species and the perpetuation of life. In the mammalian kingdom, if reproduction was not associated with sexual pleasure, how much sexual activity do you think would actually occur?

Male and Female Comparative Genital Anatomy

It might surprise you how remarkably similar the female and male external genitals are. In fact, in the first few weeks of embryonic existence, the external genitals are identical. The female embryo’s external genitals are the “default” model that will remain female in the absence of masculinizing hormones. The female clitoris and the male penis are essentially the same structure, as are the female outer lips and the male scrotum. In fact, there is not much difference in appearance between a very large clitoris and a very small penis.

Although the clitoris is the female equivalent of the penis, it is exclusively a sexual organ, whereas the penis is a urinary, sexual and reproductive organ. Like the penis, the clitoris is largely composed of erectile tissue that upon arousal and stimulation engorges with blood and with increasing stimulation becomes erect. After sexual climax, the clitoris returns to its normal relaxed state.

Interesting trivia: The female spotted hyena, squirrel monkey, lemur, and bearcat all have in common a very large clitoris. When erect, it appears very similar to the male’s penis and is used to demonstrate dominance over other members of their clans. It is referred to as a “pseudo-penis.”

The Tip of the Iceberg, But Far From Frigid

 Most of the clitoris is hidden and internal. Commonly misrepresented as a “bean” or “button,” the external nub is the clitoral head, merely the “tip of the iceberg.” The iceberg metaphor is an apt one in terms of anatomy, but is off target with respect to what a clitoris is—the seat of female genital passion—with its head having a greater concentration of nerve endings than any other body part, a far cry from “ice.”

Clitoral Anatomy

The glans (head) is the external and visible part of the clitoris. It is located just above the opening of the urethra. The remainder of the clitoris is internal and consists of the clitoral shaft (body) and its extensions, known as crura (legs). The prepuce (foreskin), a hood of skin formed by the inner vaginal lips, covers the clitoral shaft.

clitoris

(Anatomy of the vulva and the clitoris by OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, Jun 19, 2013., CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30148635, no changes made to original)

The crura are wishbone-shaped and are attached to the pubic arch as it diverges on each side. The shaft and crura contain erectile tissue, consisting of spongy sinuses that become engorged with blood at the time of sexual stimulation, resulting in clitoral engorgement and erection. Beneath the crura on either side of the vaginal opening are the clitoral bulbs, sac-shaped erectile tissues that lie beneath the outer vaginal lips. With sexual stimulation, they become full, plumping and tightening the vaginal opening.

One can think of the crura and bulbs as similar to the roots of a tree, hidden from view and extending deeply below the surface, yet fundamental to the support and function of the clitoral shaft and head above, comparable to the tree’s trunk and branches.

Pelvic Floor Muscles

These important muscles are critical to sexual function in general and clitoral function in particular. They control the voluntary tightening and relaxing of the vagina, increase genital blood flow, support clitoral erection and contract rhythmically at the time of orgasm. Two of the pelvic floor muscles are especially vital to clitoral function: the ischiocavernosus and bulbocavernosus muscles that surround the crura and the bulbs, respectively. They stabilize the deep roots of the clitoris and compress the roots when engaged, increasing genital blood flow and maintaining clitoral erection, since their compressions push blood from the roots back towards the shaft and glans.

3. superficial and deep PFM

(Female pelvic floor muscles, from The Kegel Fix, credit to illustrator Ashley Halsey)

The pelvic floor muscles strongly contribute to the transformation of the clitoris from flaccid to softly swollen to rigid. By compressing the roots of the clitoris, they elevate blood pressure within the clitoris to maintain clitoral swelling and erectile rigidity. At the time of climax, these muscles contract rhythmically, and an orgasm would not be an orgasm without the contribution of these muscles working together with the clitoris.

Interesting trivia: The blood pressure within the clitoris at the time of a clitoral erection is hypertensive (high blood pressure) range, accounting for the rigidity. This is largely on the basis of the contractions of the aforementioned pelvic floor muscles. The only regions of the body where hypertension is desirable are the penis and clitoris.

Sexual Function And The Clitoris

With arousal and sexual stimulation, the clitoral erectile tissue engorges, resulting in clitoral shaft thickening and swelling of the glans. With increasing clitoral stimulation, clitoral retraction occurs, in which the clitoral shaft and glans withdraw from their overhanging position, pulling inwards against the pubic bone.

When a sufficient threshold of sexual stimulation is reached, climax occurs with contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, vagina, urethra, uterus and anus.

The clitoris plays a central role in orgasm for the majority of women and for most, clitoral stimulation is necessary to achieve orgasm. Some women require direct clitoral stimulation, while for others indirect stimulation is sufficient; about 25% are capable of achieving orgasm via vaginal intercourse alone. Vaginal intercourse often results in indirect clitoral stimulation since the crura and bulbs flank the vaginal opening and these inner parts of the clitoris are stimulated with penetrative thrusting.

Interesting trivia: Magnetic resonance studies have shown that a larger clitoral head size and shorter distance from the clitoris to the vagina are correlated with an easier ability to achieve a vaginal orgasm.

There is a clitoral literacy movement that is gaining momentum. Please visit:

http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/cliteracy for more information on the clitoris and this campaign to foster awareness of this curious organ.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

A new blog is posted every week. To receive the blogs in the in box of your email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health– newly available on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook and Kobo (paperback edition will be available soon).

Author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Siegel/e/B004W7IM48

Apple iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-kegel-fix/id1105198755?mt=11

Trailer for The Kegel Fix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHZxoiQb1Cc

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health and Promiscuous Eating: Understanding Our Self-Destructive Relationship With Food   

Co-creator of Private Gym and PelvicRx: comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training programs. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Kegel, these programs empower men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.  In the works is the female PelvicRx pelvic floor muscle training DVD. 

Pelvic Rx can be obtained at http://www.UrologyHealthStore.com, an online store home to quality urology products for men and women. Use promo code “UROLOGY10” at checkout for 10% discount.