Archive for November, 2016

When Stress Causes A “Headache” In The Pelvis

November 26, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD 11/26/2016

stress

Image above attributed to Dr. David Potter, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

It is virtually impossible to avoid stress in our lives. A small and manageable amount of stress—“eustress”—triggers adrenaline release, which increases pulse, respiratory rate and blood pressure, dilates the pupils and makes one hyper-alert, focused and motivated. All things considered, this can improve performance—think “caffeine on steroids.” However, excessive stress—”distress”—is clearly a bad situation, causing anxiety that can decrease performance, un-motivate and make life rather unpleasant.

The immediate manifestations of stress-mediated adrenaline release are due to the primitive “flight-or-fight” response that causes us to brace, tighten, clench and compress our bodies. Stress triggers rapid, shallow and less efficient chest breathing as opposed to proper breathing from the diaphragm, which is slow, steady deep and efficient. Slouching and poor posture from clenching and muscle tensioning further exacerbates the breathing issues.

Chronic stress—internalized—can have many physical manifestations, often tension headaches involving taut muscles in the head, neck and back. Other signs of stress-turned inwards are insomnia, fatigue, altered immune system function, depression and loss of sex drive. It can also be responsible for high blood pressure, angina, heart attacks and strokes as well as give rise to gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Urinary frequency is a not uncommon urological manifestation of chronic stress.

When stress is internalized within the pelvic floor muscles it can cause pelvic floor tension myalgia, which causes pelvic pain often accompanied by sexual, urinary and bowel symptoms. It can cause knots within the pelvic muscles—discrete sights of hyper-tensioned muscle. This tension myalgia is a very difficult and frustrating situation that often requires a number of different treatment approaches.

Because the pelvis is the site of important functions– urinary, sexual and bowel–it is a particularly bad location for holding tension. Pelvic “hypertension” can cause urinary, genital and rectal pain as well as adversely affect the proper performance of these systems. It can cause difficulty starting one’s urinary stream, a weak stream, incomplete emptying of the bladder and symptoms of overactive bladder (urgency, frequency, etc.). It can be responsible for pain with sexual stimulation and intercourse, sometimes to the extent that sexual intercourse is not possible. It can also cause constipation, hemorrhoids, fissures and other bowel symptoms.

When anxiety expresses itself through tension in the pelvic floor muscles, the physical tension and pain further contribute to emotional anxiety and stress reaction, which creates a vicious cycle. Poor posture, muscle overuse and abnormalities with the nerve pathway that regulates muscle tone are other factors that contribute to the pelvic tension.

Characteristically, the pain waxes and wanes in intensity, may “wander” to different locations and can be perceived to be superficial, intermediate or deep in the pelvic tissues. It can involve the lower abdomen, groin, pubic area, genitals, perineum, anus, rectum, hips and lower back. The pain is often described as “stabbing,” although it can be cramping, burning or itching in quality. Urination, bowel movements and sexual activity can aggravate the pain.

Because the symptoms of pelvic floor tension myalgia can be vague and variable, those afflicted often have difficulty precisely expressing their symptoms, although they usually have many complaints and have typically seen numerous physicians and have had multiple prior interventions. Many patients thought to have interstitial cystitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic prostatitis, vulvodynia and fibromyalgia in actuality have pelvic tension myalgia. In fact, this pelvic floor issue is probably one of the most common problems that urologists and gynecologists see and is likely one of the most misunderstood, misdiagnosed and mistreated conditions. Many suffering with it are miserable and deeply frustrated after having endured years of episodic agony without relief.

How Is Pelvic Floor Tension Myalgia Diagnosed?

Most important are a rectal exam in men and a pelvic exam in women to evaluate the pelvic floor muscles. Typical findings are tight, tender and weak pelvic muscles, spasticity, and difficulty in relaxing the muscles following contraction. Localized, knot-like bands can often be felt, similar to tension knots that can develop in back muscles. The pain can often be localized by a vaginal or rectal exam that identifies these trigger points, the sites of origin of the myalgia that when manipulated cause tremendous pain, often replicating the symptoms.

How Is Pelvic Floor Tension Myalgia Managed?

The key to treatment is to foster relaxation and “down-training” of the spastic pelvic muscles in order to untie the “knot(s).” By making the proper diagnosis and providing pain relief, the vicious cycle of anxiety/pain can be broken. Managing it often requires multiple approaches including stress management, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic medications, and physical interventions.

Pelvic muscle training can be a useful piece of this multimodal management approach by its focus on developing proficiency in relaxing the pelvic muscles. The emphasis here is not on contracting these already over-contracted and over-tensioned muscles, which could aggravate the problem. This demands a different spin on the usual concept of pelvic training, which in this instance is not to increase tone and strength—rather it is to instill pelvic muscle awareness and enable the capacity for maximal pelvic relaxation, which is considered to be a “meditative” state between pelvic muscle contractions. Those suffering with this problem need to learn to unclench and release the pelvic floor muscles.

Focused therapies include the application of heat and pelvic massage. Pelvic floor physical therapists can be of great benefit to those suffering with pelvic tension myalgia. They use a number of physical interventions that provide pelvic muscle stretching and lengthening to increase muscle flexibility including trigger point therapy, which compresses and massages the knotted and spastic muscles. Those afflicted that are so motivated can pursue self-treatment regimens using internal, manually guided trigger point release wands that aim to relieve or eliminate the knots by self-directed manipulation and massage. These devices may be obtained without a prescription and are available online. Pelvic muscle tension myalgia sometimes requires injections of medication—including anesthetics, steroids or Botox—into the offending trigger points.

Bottom Line: In people afflicted with pelvic pain, the diagnosis of pelvic floor muscle tension myalgia should be a primary consideration. Physical interventions can be extremely helpful in alleviating the pain and untying the “knots” within the over-tensioned pelvic muscles. By making the proper diagnosis and providing pain relief and fostering muscle relaxation, the vicious cycle of anxiety/pain can be broken.

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 the comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered Private Gym/PelvicRx, a male pelvic floor muscle training program built upon the foundational work of renowned Dr. Arnold Kegel. The program empowers men to increase their pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, and endurance. Combining the proven effectiveness of Kegel exercises with the use of resistance weights, this program helps to improve sexual function and to prevent urinary incontinence: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.  

In the works is the female PelvicRx DVD pelvic floor muscle training for women.

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. 

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The Ins And Outs Of The Vagina

November 19, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD 11/19/16

Chances are that you may be clueless about female genital anatomy and for good reason, as you had no formal instruction…no “vagina-ology” class exists. Education often involves knowledge imparted from friends and schoolmates and perhaps a talk from a parent on the “birds and the bees,” generally less than adequate means. “Sex Ed” classes in junior high school (a.k.a. middle school) were cursory and insufficient. Your dad’s Playboy, your mom’s Cosmo and other magazines may have provided some insight, but were certainly not the gospel. Pornography offers a totally skewed perspective. As a consequence, most people have been educated through practical experience with their own vagina or with those of sexual partners. Although there is no substitute for “hands on” experience, a bit of vaginal academics is certainly a good addition to practical experience.

For many men—and women for that matter—the vagina is a dark and mysterious place, a “black hole” of human anatomy, hidden in the deep recesses of the body. This landscape is complex terrain and unfortunately does not come with a topographical map explaining its intricate subterranean geography.

The following are quotes about the vagina from Tom Hickman’s book: “God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis”:

“A place of procreative darkness, a sinister place from which blood periodically seeped as if from a wound.”

“Even when made safe, men feared the vagina, already attributed mysterious sexual power – did it not conjure up a man’s organ, absorb it, milk it, spit it out limp?”

The objective of this entry is to explore and demystify the vagina to help you comprehend and navigate its complexities. Knowledge is power and whether female or male, a greater understanding and appreciation of the anatomy, function and nuances of this curious and special female body part will most certainly prove useful.

Female Genital Anatomy 101

The hidden female nether parts and their inner workings are a mystery zone to a surprising number of women. Many falsely believe that the “pee hole” and the “vagina hole” are one and the same…not surprising given that lady parts are much more unexposed, subtle and complex than the more obviously exposed man parts. However, what lies between the thighs is more complicated and intricate than one might think…. three openings, two sets of lips, swellings, glands, erectile tissue, muscles and more.

Let’s first set the record straight on the difference between the vagina and vulva, geography that is often confused. When referring to external visible “girly” anatomy, most people incorrectly speak of the “vagina”—this is actually the “vulva,” divided in half by a midline slit known in medical jargon as the pudendal cleft or cleft of Venus or in slang terms, “camel toe.” The “vagina,” on the other hand, is the internal, flexible, cylindrical, muscular passageway that extends from vulva to cervix (neck of the uterus). The vaginal opening on the vulva is known in medical terms as the vaginal introitus. Further down south is the landscape between the vulva and the anus known in medical jargon as the perineum or in slang terms, “taint.”

vulva

(Anatomy of the vulva 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)

Bottom Line: The vulva is external, the vagina internal. Good to remember.

Fact: The word “vulva” derives from the Latin “cunnus” (hence the derivation of the slang C-word. The word “vagina” derives from the Latin word for “sheath,” a cover for the blade of a knife or sword, an apt term.

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Above image (public domain) entitled “Vagina Collage”…note that it should be entitled  “Vulva Collage”

Many Functions Of The Vagina

The vagina is an amazingly versatile and multifunctional organ that is truly a “cave of wonders.” Beyond being a sexual organ, it is an inflow pathway and receptacle for semen, an exit pathway for menstrual blood, and a birth canal. It is not simply a passive channel, but an active and dynamic, highly responsive passageway that has the capacity for voluntary muscular contraction.

Anatomy Of The Vagina

The average depth of the vagina (without sexual stimulation) is 3-4 inches or so, but with sexual stimulation and arousal, the vagina is capable of considerable expansion and distension to a much greater potential. The elasticity of the vagina is truly impressive (perhaps the most elastic and stretchable organ in the body), with the ability to stretch to accommodate a full-term infant and then return to a relatively normal caliber. The width of the vagina varies throughout its length, narrowest at the vaginal opening and increasing in diameter throughout its depth. It is typically about 1 inch in diameter at the external opening.

Joke from Maxim.com:

  1. Just how deep is the average vagina?
  2. Deep enough for a man to lose his house, his car, his dog and half of all his savings and assets…

All vaginas are unique with a great variety in shape, size and even color, similar to variations in penile anatomy. The vagina is a banana-shaped structure and when a woman lies down on her back, the more external part of the vagina (closest to the vaginal opening) is straight, and the inner, deeper part angles/curves downwards towards the sacral bones (the lower part of the vertebral column that forms the back bony part of the pelvis). This vaginal “axis” often changes with aging and childbirth.

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Banana representing vaginal axis, with inner portion curved towards sacrum and outer portion straight (Thank you Pixabay for image)

Fact: Although the vagina recovers remarkably well after childbirth, anatomy does generally change to some extent. Pelvic examination is usually easily able to distinguish between women who have and have not had children vaginally. Of note, elective C-section (no labor) preserves vaginal anatomy. Women who have an enlarged vaginal outlet due to childbirth may have difficulty in satisfactorily “accommodating” the penis, resulting in the vagina merely “surrounding” the penis rather than firmly “squeezing” it, with the end result being diminished sensation for both partners.

The vagina has pleats and corrugations called rugae that maximize the elasticity and stretchiness of the vagina. They are accordion-like ruffles and ridges that supply texture, which increase friction for the penis during sexual intercourse. In a young woman they are prominent, but with aging they tend to disappear.

Fact: Vaginal rugae are like tread on a tire…in young women they appear like deep grooves on a new snow tire, whereas in older women they appear like thinning tire tread, completely bald at their most extreme…aging can be cruel.

The vaginal wall has an inner lining of “skin” known as epithelium, which is surrounded by connective tissues and a muscular coat. The vaginal muscle is comprised of an inner layer that is circular in orientation and an outer layer that is oriented longitudinally. Contraction of the inner muscle tightens the vagina. Contraction of the outer muscle shortens and widens the vagina. The vagina is secured within a “bed” of powerful pelvic floor muscles.

To better understand  vaginal anatomy, it is useful to divide it arbitrarily into thirds: outer, inner and middle. The outer and inner thirds are where “all the action is,” the outer third being the hub of sexuality, the inner third the hub of reproduction and the middle third essentially a connection between the inner and outer thirds.

Outer third: The outer third of the vagina is rich in nerve fibers and is the most sensitive part of the vagina. The “orgasmic platform” is the Masters and Johnson term for the anatomical “base” that responds to sexual arousal and stimulation with pelvic blood congestion. It consists of the outer third of the vagina and the engorged inner lips.

Middle third: The middle third is a conduit connecting the outer and inner thirds.

Inner third: The cervix (opening to the uterus) sits in the inner third of the vagina. Its presence within the deep vagina defines the deepest recesses of the vagina, which are referred to as the fornices (singular fornix), derived from the Latin word for “arches.” The largest fornix is the one behind the cervix (posterior fornix) with the two smaller fornices above and to the sides of the cervix (anterior and lateral fornices).

Question: What do you think is the origin of the word “fornicate”?

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Image above:  Uterus, Cervix and Inner Third Vagina from Dr. Johannes SobottaSobotta’s Atlas and Text-book of Human Anatomy 1906, note the vaginal rugae and the relationship of the cervix with the inner vagina

Fact: In the man-on top sexual intercourse position, the penis reaches the anterior fornix, while in the rear-entry position it reaches the posterior fornix.

The Pelvic Floor Muscles And The Vagina

The pelvic floor muscles play a pivotal role with respect to vaginal and sexual function, their contractions facilitating and enhancing sexual response. They contribute to arousal, sensation during intercourse and the ability to clench the vagina and firmly “grip” the penis. The strength and durability of their contractions are directly related to orgasmic potential since the pelvic muscles are the “motor” that drives sexual climax and can be thought of as the powerhouse of the vagina. During orgasm, the pelvic floor muscles “shudder.”

There is great variety in the bulk, strength, power and voluntary control of the pelvic floor muscles that support the vagina. Some women are capable of powerfully “snapping” their vaginas, whereas others cannot generate even a weak flicker.

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Image above: Female pelvic floor muscles, illustration by Ashley Halsey from The Kegel Fix

Fact: “Pompoir” is a sexual technique in which a woman contracts her pelvic floor and vaginal muscles rhythmically to stimulate the penis without the need for pelvic motion or thrusting. Women who diligently practice Kegel exercises can develop powerful pelvic floor muscles and become particularly adept at this technique resulting in extreme vaginal “dexterity” and the ability to refine pulling, pushing, locking, gripping, pulsing, squeezing and twisting motions, which can provide enough stimulation to bring a male to climax.  

Fact: “Penis Captivus” is a rare condition in which a male’s erect penis becomes stuck within a female’s vagina. It is thought to be on the basis of intense contractions of the pelvic floor muscles, causing the vaginal walls to clamp down and entrap the penis. It usually is a brief event and after female orgasm and/or male ejaculation, withdrawal becomes possible. However, it sometimes requires medical attention with a couple showing up in the emergency room tightly connected, like Siamese twins. Not a good call to 911!

Sexual Function And The Vagina

Under normal circumstances, the vagina is not “primed” for sex and is little more prepared for intercourse than is a flaccid penis. The un-stimulated vagina is essentially a closed “potential space” in which the vaginal roof and floor are in contact. With sexual stimulation, the vagina expands with lengthening and widening of its inner two-thirds and flattening of the rugae. The cervix and uterus pull up and back. Pelvic blood flow increases and the vaginal walls undergo a “sweating-like” reaction as a result of pelvic blood congestion, creating a slippery and glistening film. Most of the lubrication is based upon seepage from this increased blood flow, but some comes from Bartholin’s and Skene’s glands. Bartholin’s glands are paired, pea-size glands that drain just below and to each side of the vagina. During sexual arousal they secrete small drops of fluid, resulting in moistening of the opening of the vagina. Skene’s glands are paired glands that drain just above and to each side of the urethral opening. They are the female equivalent of the male prostate gland and secrete fluid with arousal.

With sexual excitement and stimulation, in addition to vaginal lubrication from increased pelvic blood flow, there is congestion and engorgement of the vulva, vagina and clitoris.

Fact: The profound vaginal changes that occur during sexual arousal and stimulation are entirely analogous to the changes that occur during male arousal: expansion of penis length and girth, retraction of the testicles towards the groin, and the release of pre-ejaculate fluid.

With increasing stimulation and arousal, physical tension within the genitals gradually builds and once sufficient intensity and duration of sexual stimulation surpass a threshold, involuntary rhythmic muscular contractions occur of the vagina, uterus, anus and pelvic floor muscles, followed by the release of accumulated erotic tension (a.k.a. orgasm) and a euphoric state. Thereafter, the genital engorgement and congestion subside, muscle relaxation occurs and a peaceful state of physical and emotional bliss and afterglow become apparent.

Fact: Anatomy can affect potential for experiencing sexual climax.

Sexual intercourse results in indirect clitoral stimulation. The clitoral shaft moves rhythmically with penile thrusting by virtue of penile traction on the inner lips, which join together to form the hood of the clitoris. However, if the vaginal opening is too wide to permit the penis to put enough traction on the inner lips, there will be limited clitoral stimulation and less satisfaction in the bedroom. Furthermore, studies have suggested that a larger clitoris that is closer to the vaginal opening is more likely to be stimulated during penetrative sexual intercourse.

At the time of sexual climax, some women are capable of “ejaculating” fluid. The nature of this fluid has been controversial, thought by some to be hyper-lubrication and others to be Bartholin’s and/or Skene’s gland secretions. There are certain women who “ejaculate” very large volumes of fluid at climax and studies have shown this to be urine released because of an involuntary bladder contraction that can accompany orgasm.

Fact: “Persistent genital arousal disorder” is a rare sexual problem characterized by unwanted, unremitting and intrusive arousal, genital engorgement and multiple orgasms without sexual interest or stimulation. It causes great distress to those suffering with it and there are no known effective treatments. It typically does not resolve after orgasm.

The G-Spot—named after German gynecologist Ernst Grafenberg—was first described in 1950 and was believed to be an erogenous zone located on the upper wall of the vagina, anatomically situated between the vagina and the urethra (urinary channel). Stimulation of this spot was thought to promote arousal and vaginal orgasm.

Fact: There is little scientific support for the existence of the G-spot as a discrete anatomical entity; however, many women feel that they possess an area on the roof of the vagina that is a particularly sensitive pleasure zone. Although its existence remains controversial, the G-spot is certainly a powerful social phenomenon.

Regular sexual activity is vital for maintaining the ability to have ongoing satisfactory sexual intercourse with the vagina staying fit and healthy if one remains sexually active, as nature intended. Vaginal penetration increases pelvic and vaginal blood flow, optimizing lubrication and elasticity, while orgasms tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support vaginal function. “Disuse atrophy” is a condition when the vagina adapts to not being used, with thinning and fragility of the vaginal walls and weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. Use it or lose it!

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

Dr. Andrew Siegel is a practicing physician and urological surgeon board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Much of the content of this entry was excerpted from his recently published book: The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health. For more info: http://www.TheKegelFix.com.

He has previously authored Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health; Promiscuous Eating: Understanding And Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship With Food; and Finding Your Own Fountain Of Youth: The Essential Guide For Maximizing Health, Wellness, Fitness & Longevity. Dr. Siegel serves as Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro. Area and Inside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community that is in such dire need of bridging.

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

The Kegel Fix is available in e-book format on the Amazon Kindle, iPad (Apple iBooks), Barnes & Noble Nook and Kobo and in paperback, all accessible via the following website: www.TheKegelFix.com. The e-book offers discretion, advantageous for books about personal issues, is less expensive, is delivered immediately, saves the trees, has adjustable fonts, as well as numerous hyperlinks—links to other sites activated by clicking—that access many helpful resources.  The book was written for educated and discerning women who care about health, well being, nutrition and exercise and enjoy feeling confident, sexy and strong.

Prostate Steaming For Better Urinary Streaming

November 12, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD 11/12/2016

A new, minimally invasive procedure for treating symptomatic prostate enlargement has been tested in clinical trials and has been shown to be safe and effective. I was informed about it at a recent urology meeting in Prague and was intrigued because of its simplicity. The prostate steaming procedure–called “Rezum”–takes less than 15 minutes and uses convective heat energy in the form of steam to open up the obstructed prostate gland. 

Convection Versus Conduction

Convection is the transfer of thermal energy by heating up a liquid, resulting in currents of thermal energy traveling away from the heating source.  This type of energy is used for the Rezum prostate steaming procedure.

This is as opposed to conduction, which is heat transfer via molecular agitation. Thermal energy that is directly applied to tissues heats up molecules and is transferred through tissues as higher-speed molecules collide with slower speed molecules. Conduction energy is commonly used in surgery to cut or coagulate tissues.

Benign Prostate Enlargement (BPH)

BPH is a common condition in men above the age of 50. Based upon aging, genetics and testosterone, the prostate gland enlarges to a variable extent. As it does so, it often compresses the urinary channel (like a hand around a garden hose), causing urinary obstructive and irritative symptoms that can be quite annoying.  Obstructive symptoms include: a weak, prolonged stream that is slow to start and tends to stop and start (to quote my patient: “peeing in chapters”) and incomplete emptying. Irritative symptoms include: strong urges to urinate, frequent urinating, nighttime urinating and possibly urinary leakage before arrival at the bathroom.

pre-treatment_v2

BPH (note the tissue compressing the urinary channel)

Medications or surgical procedures are often used to alleviate the symptoms of BPH.  One class of medication relaxes the muscle tone of the prostate (Flomax, Uroxatral, Rapaflo, etc.); another class shrinks the prostate (Proscar, Avodart). The erectile dysfunction medication Cialis has also been used (daily dosing) to help manage symptomatic BPH. Commonly performed procedures to improve the symptoms of BPH include Greenlight laser photovaporization of the prostate, Urolift procedure and TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate). The Rezum prostate steam procedure is a new addition to the BPH armamentarium.

Rezum Prostate Steaming

The prostate is a compartmentalized organ with discrete anatomical zones (compartments). The transition zone is the area responsible for benign enlargement. In the Rezum procedure, radio-frequency energy is used to convert a small volume of water to steam, which is injected within the  transition zone of the prostate via a retractable needle under direct visual guidance (cystoscopy). The steam adheres to the anatomy of the prostate zones, its spread limited by the zonal anatomy. Each steam (convective water vapor thermal energy) injection takes less than 10 seconds and utilizes no more than a few drops of water. The number of injections necessary is based upon the size of the prostate gland, but it generally requires only a few.

watervaportreatment

Steam being injected into prostate tissue via a retractable needle

Convection uniformly disperses the steam, causing targeted cell death of prostate cells. This slowly and gradually will un-obstruct the prostate and alleviate the symptoms of BPH.

It is unusual for the actual procedure to take much longer than a few minutes, although the patient will need preparation time before and recovery time after the procedure. After the Rezum is completed, a catheter is placed for a few days. Common temporary side effects include inability to urinate (the reason for the catheter), discomfort with urination, urinary urgency, frequency, and blood in the urine or semen. Symptomatic improvement may be noted as early as two weeks after the procedure, but it may take up to 3 months before maximal benefits are derived.

tissue_resorption_v2

Prostate anatomy 3-months following Rezum procedure

A multi-center, randomized, controlled study was recently reported in the Journal of Urology. 200 men were randomized to active treatment with Rezum versus control. The study concluded that convective water vapor energy provides durable improvements in the symptoms of BPH, preserving erectile and ejaculatory function.

Bottom Line: This quick outpatient procedure for BPH  is safe and effective, can be performed in an office setting using sedation and can treat certain anatomical variations (e.g. middle lobe prostate enlargement) that cannot be treated by some of the alternative methods. Erectile and ejaculatory functions are preserved in most patients, which is often not the case with the BPH medications, Greenlight laser and TURP. A disadvantage is that the Rezum is not immediately effective, requiring a catheter for several days and a period of several weeks before symptomatic improvement is evident. Our urology practice is now offering this procedure to patients.

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 MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com

Author of THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health 

http://www.TheKegelFix.com

 

 

The Little Muscles That Could: The Mysterious Muscles You Should Be Exercising

November 5, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD 11/5/2016

This entry was a feature article in the Fall 2016 edition of BC The Magazine: Health, Beauty & Fitness.

(A new blog is posted weekly. To receive the blogs via email go to the following link and click on “email subscription”: www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com)

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Image above: female pelvic floor muscles, illustration by Ashley Halsey from The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health

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Image above: male pelvic floor muscles, illustration by Christine Vecchione from Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health

There are over 600 muscles in the human body and they all are there for good reasons. However, some are more critical to health and survival than others. In the class rank it is a no-brainer that the heart muscle is valedictorian, followed by the diaphragm. What may surprise you is that the pelvic floor muscles (a.k.a. Kegel muscles) rank in the top ten of the hierarchy.

The pelvic floor muscles are a muscular hammock that make up the floor of the “core” muscles. They are located in the nether regions and form the bottom of the pelvis. They are among the most versatile muscles in the body, equally essential in both women and men for the support of the pelvic organs, bladder and bowel control and sexual function. Because they are out of sight they are frequently out of mind and often not considered when it comes to exercise and fitness. However, without functional pelvic muscles, our pelvic organs would dangle and we would be diapered and asexual.

Our bodies are comprised of a variety of muscle types: There are the glamour, for show, mirror-appeal, overt, seen and be witnessed muscles that offer no secrets—“what you see is what you get”—the biceps, triceps, pectorals, latissimus, quadriceps, etc. Then there are muscles including the pelvic floor muscles that are shrouded in secrecy, hidden from view, concealed and covert, unseen and behind the scenes, unrecognized and misunderstood, favoring function over form, “go” rather than “show.” Most of us can probably point out our “bi’s” (biceps), “tri’s” (triceps), “quads” (quadriceps), “pecs” (pectorals), etc., but who really knows where their “pelvs” (pelvic floor muscles) are located? For that matter, who even knows what they are and how they contribute to pelvic health?

Strong puritanical cultural roots influence our thoughts and feelings about our nether regions. Consequently, this “saddle” region of our bodies (the part in contact with a bicycle seat)—often fails to attain the respect and attention that other zones of our bodies command. Cloaking increases mystique, and so it is for these pelvic muscles, not only obscured by clothing, but also residing in that most curious of regions–an area concealed from view even when we are unclothed. Furthermore, the mystique is contributed to by the mysterious powers of the pelvic floor muscles, which straddle the gamut of being critical for what may be considered the most pleasurable and refined of human pursuits—sex—but equally integral to what may be considered the basest of human activities—bowel and bladder function.

The deep pelvic floor muscles span from the pubic bone in front to the tailbone in the back, and from pelvic sidewall to pelvic sidewall, between the “sit” bones. The superficial pelvic floor muscles are situated under the surface of the external genitals and anus. The pelvic floor muscles are stabilizers and compressors rather than movers (joint movement and locomotion), the more typical role that skeletal muscles such as these play. Stabilizers support the pelvic organs, keeping them in proper position. Compressors act as sphincters—enveloping the urinary, gynecological and intestinal tracts, opening and closing to provide valve-like control. The superficial pelvic floor muscles act to compress the deep roots of the genitals, trapping blood within these structures and preparing the male and female sexual organs for sexual intercourse; additionally, they contract rhythmically at the time of sexual climax. Although the pelvic floor muscles are not muscles of glamour, they are certainly muscles of “amour”!

Pelvic floor muscle “dysfunction” is a common condition referring to when the pelvic floor muscles are not functioning properly. It affects both women and men and can seriously impact the quality of one’s life. The condition can range from “low tone” to “high tone.” Low tone occurs when the pelvic muscles lack in strength and endurance and is often associated with stress urinary incontinence (urinary leakage with coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising and other physical activities); pelvic organ prolapse (when one or more of the female pelvic organs falls into the space of the vagina and at times outside the vagina); and altered sexual function, e.g., erectile dysfunction or vaginal looseness.  High tone occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are over-tensioned and unable to relax, giving rise to a pain syndrome known as pelvic floor tension myalgia.

A first-line means of dealing with pelvic floor dysfunction is getting these muscles in tip-top shape. Tapping into and harnessing their energy can help optimize pelvic, sexual and urinary health in both genders. Like other skeletal muscles, the pelvic muscles are capable of making adaptive changes when targeted exercise is applied to them. Pelvic floor training involves gaining facility with both the contracting and the relaxing phases of pelvic muscle function. Their structure and function can be enhanced, resulting in broader, thicker and firmer muscles and the ability to generate a powerful contraction at will—necessary for pelvic wellbeing.

Pelvic floor muscle training can be effective in stabilizing, improving and even preventing issues with pelvic support, sexual function, and urinary and bowel control. Pursuing pelvic floor muscle training before pregnancy will make carrying the pregnancy easier and will facilitate labor and delivery; it will also allow for the effortless resumption of the exercises in the post-partum period in order to re-tone the vagina, as the exercises were learned under ideal circumstances, prior to childbirth. Similarly, engaging in pelvic training before prostate cancer surgery will facilitate the resumption of urinary control and sexual function after surgery. Based upon solid exercise science, pelvic floor muscle training can help maintain pelvic integrity and optimal function well into old age.

Bottom Line: Although concealed from view, the pelvic floor muscles are extremely important muscles that deserve serious respect. These muscles are responsible for powerful and vital functions that can be significantly improved/enhanced when intensified by training. It is never too late to begin pelvic floor muscle training exercises—so start now to optimize your pelvic, sexual, urinary, and bowel health.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

Andrew Siegel MD practices in Maywood, NJ. He is dual board-certified in urology and female pelvic medicine/reconstructive surgery and is Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and attending urologist at Hackensack University Medical Center. He is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro area and Top Doctor New Jersey. He is the author ofTHE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health (www.TheKegelFix.com) and MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health (www.MalePelvicFitness.com). He is co-creator of PelvicRx, an interactive, FDA-registered pelvic floor muscle-training program that empowers men to increase their pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, and endurance. Combining the proven effectiveness of Kegel exercises with the use of resistance, this program helps improve sexual function and urinary function. In the works is the female PelvicRx pelvic floor muscle training for women. Visit: http://www.UrologyHealthStore.com to obtain PelvicRx. Use promo code “UROLOGY10” at checkout for 10% discount.