Posts Tagged ‘overactive bladder’

Female Bladder Works

February 11, 2017

Andrew Siegel MD   2/11/17

This entry is a brief overview of bladder anatomy and function to help you better understand the two most common forms of urinary leakage—stress urinary incontinence and overactive bladder— topics for entries that will follow for the next few weeks.  Having a working knowledge of the properties of the bladder will serve you well in being able to understand when things go awry. 

                          6. bladder

                             Drawing of the bladder and urethra by Ashley Halsey from “The Kegel Fix:                           Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health”

The bladder is a muscular balloon that has two functions—storage and emptying of urine. The stem of the bladder balloon is the urethra, the tube that conducts urine from the bladder during urination and helps store urine at all other times. The urethra runs from the bladder neck (where the urinary bladder and urethra join) to the urethral meatus, the external opening located just above the vagina.

Bladder Control Issues—More Than Just a Physical Problem

Urinary incontinence is an involuntary leakage of urine. Although not life threatening, it can be life altering and life disrupting. Many resort to absorbent pads to help deal with this debilitating, yet manageable problem. It is more than just a medical problem, often affecting emotional, psychological, social and financial wellbeing (the cumulative cost of pads can be significant). Many are reluctant to participate in activities that provoke the incontinence, resulting in social isolation, loss of self-esteem and, at times, depression. Since exercise is a common trigger, many avoid it, which can lead to weight gain and a decline in fitness. Sufferers often feel “imprisoned” by their bladders, which have taken control over their lives, impacting not only activities, but also clothing choices, travel plans and relationships.

Bladder Function 101

Healthy bladder functioning depends upon properties of the bladder and urethra. Bladder control issues arise when one or more of these go awry:

Capacity

The average adult has a bladder that holds about 12 ounces before a significant urge to urinate occurs. Problem: The most common capacity issue is when the capacity is too small, causing urinary frequency.

Elasticity

The bladder is stretchy like a balloon and as it fills up there is a minimal increase in bladder pressure because of this expansion. Low-pressure storage is desirable, as the less pressure in the bladder, the less likelihood for leakage issues. Problem: The bladder is inelastic or less elastic and stores urine at high pressures, a setup for urinary leakage.

Sensation

There is an increasing feeling of urgency as the urine volume in the bladder increases. Problem: The most common sensation issue is heightened sensation creating a sense of urgency before the bladder is full, giving rise to the frequent need to urinate. Less commonly there exists a situation in which there is little to no sensation even when the bladder is quite full (and little warning that the bladder is full), sometimes causing the bladder to overflow.

Contractility

After the bladder fills and the desire to urinate is sensed, a voluntary bladder contraction occurs, which increases the pressure within the bladder in order to generate the power to urinate. Problem: The bladder is “under-active” and cannot generate enough pressure to empty effectively, which may cause it to overflow when large volumes of urine remain in the bladder.

Timing

A bladder contraction should only occur after the bladder is reasonably full and the “owner” of the bladder makes a conscious decision to empty the bladder. Problem: The bladder is “overactive” and squeezes prematurely (involuntary bladder contraction) causing sudden urgency with the possibility of urinary leakage occurring en route to the bathroom.

Anatomical Position

The bladder and urethra are maintained in proper anatomical position in the pelvis because of the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue support. Problem: A weakened support system can cause urinary leakage with sudden increases in abdominal pressure, such as occurs with sneezing, coughing and/or exercising.

Urethra

In cross-section, the urethra has infoldings of its inner layer that give it a “snowflake” appearance. This inner layer is surrounded by rich spongy tissue containing an abundance of blood vessels, creating a cushion around the urethra that permits a watertight seal similar to a washer in a sink. The female hormone estrogen nourishes the urethra and helps maintain the seal. Problem: With declining levels of estrogen at the time of menopause, the urethra loses tone and suppleness, analogous to a washer in a sink becoming brittle, potentially causing leakage issues.

Sphincters

The urinary sphincters, located at the bladder neck and mid-urethra, are specialized muscles that provide urinary control by pinching the urethra closed during storage and allowing the urethra to open during emptying. The main sphincter (a.k.a. the internal sphincter) is located at the bladder neck and is composed of smooth muscle designed for involuntary, sustained control. The auxiliary sphincter (a.k.a. the external sphincter), located further downstream and comprised of skeletal muscle contributed to by the pelvic floor muscles, is designed for voluntary, emergency control. Problem: Damage to or weakness of the sphincters adversely affects urinary control.

The main sphincter is similar to the brakes of a car—frequently used, efficient and effective. The auxiliary sphincter is similar to the emergency brake—much less frequently used, less efficient, but effective in a pinch. The pelvic floor muscles are intimately involved with the function of the “emergency brake.”

Nerves

The seemingly “simple” act of urination is actually a highly complex event requiring a functional nervous system providing sensation of filling, contraction of the bladder muscle and the coordinated relaxation of the sphincters. Problem: Any neurological problem can adversely affect urination, causing bladder control issues.

Bladder Reflexes

A reflex is an automatic response to a stimulus, an action that occurs without conscious thought. There are three reflexes that are vital to bladder control:

Guarding Reflex: During bladder filling, the “guarding” (against leakage) pelvic floor muscles contract in increasing magnitude in proportion to the volume of urine in the bladder; this provides resistance that helps prevent leakage as the bladder becomes fuller.

Cough Reflex: With a cough, there is a reflex contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, which helps prevent leakage with sudden increases in abdominal pressure.

Pelvic Floor Muscle-Bladder Reflex: When the pelvic floor muscles are voluntarily contracted, there is a reflex relaxation of the bladder. This powerful reflex can be tapped into for those who have involuntary bladder contractions that cause urgency and urgency leakage.

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

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: http://www.TheKegelFix.com

He is also the author of MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com

What You Don’t Know About Your Pelvic Floor Muscles, But Should

June 18, 2016

Andrew Siegel, M.D. 6/18/16

* Please note that although this entry is written for women, it is equally applicable to men.

In dogs, the pelvic floor muscles (PFM) play an important role with respect to tail position and movement. They are responsible for tail wagging in circumstances when dogs are happy and for the tail being held down between the legs when dogs are frightened or anxious. Weak PFM are virtually unheard of in the canine population, suggesting that with constant tail movement, the PFM are exercised sufficiently to maintain tone and vitality.

 

foot in water bowl

Photo above is Charley, my English Springer Spaniel.  Note her happy, erect tail and her curious habit of eating with her foot in her water bowl.

For better or worse, humans do not have tails to wag or place between our legs.  Tails became extinct with the evolutionary process (with the exception of the character played by Jason Alexander in the movie “Shallow Hal”). If we did have tails, our PFM would likely get a great deal more exercise than they typically do.

Sadly, the PFM don’t get the respect that the glitzy, for-show, mirror-appealing, external glamour muscles do. However, the PFM are hidden gems that work diligently behind the scenes–muscles of major function and not so much form-offering numerous powers and benefits, particularly so when intensified by training. Although not muscles of glamour, they are muscles of “amour,” and have a profoundly important role in sexual, urinary, and bowel function as well as in supporting our pelvic organs.

What are the PFM?

The PFM—commonly known as the “Kegel muscles”—are a muscular hammock that form the bottom of the pelvis. They are also referred to as the “saddle” muscles because you sit on them when seated on a bicycle. They are part of the “core” group of muscles.

What are the “core” muscles?

The core muscles are the “barrel” of muscles comprising the torso, consisting of the abdominal muscles in front, the lumbar muscles in back, the diaphragm muscle on top and the PFM on the bottom. The core muscles are responsible for stabilizing the pelvis and holding the spine erect.

1.core muscles

                              Illustration of core muscles by Ashley Halsey from                                            The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health

Where are the PFM?

The deep PFM (pubococcygeus, iliococcygeus, coccygeus) span from the pubic bone in front to the tailbone in the back, and from pelvic sidewall to pelvic sidewall, between the “sit” bones.

2.deep PFM              Illustration of deep PFM muscles by Ashley Halsey

The superficial PFM (ischiocavernosus, bulbocavernosus, transverse perineal, anal sphincter) are situated under the surface of the external genitals and anus.

3. superficial and deep PFM

            Illustration of superficial and deep PFM muscles by Ashley Halsey

 

What is the function of the PFM?                                                                      

The PFM muscles intertwine with the muscles of the vagina, bladder and rectum,  provide support for the pelvic organs, play a vital role in sexual function and contribute to the control mechanism of the urinary and intestinal tracts.

What is PFM dysfunction?

PFM “dysfunction” is a common condition referring to when the PFM are not functioning properly. PFM dysfunction ranges from “low tone” to “high tone.” Low tone occurs when the PFM 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 pelvic organs fall into the space of the vagina and at times outside the vagina) and altered sexual function (decreased sensation, difficulty accommodating a penis because of looseness, difficulty achieving climax, etc.). High tone occurs when the PFM are too tense and unable to relax, giving rise to a pain syndrome known as pelvic floor tension myalgia (this situation is entirely analogous to the high-strung dog with its tail between its legs).

Trivia: PFM dysfunction often causes symptoms in several domains, e.g., women with urinary control issues often have trouble achieving orgasm, both problems contributed to by weak PFM.

What causes PFM dysfunction?

The PFM can become weakened, flabby and poorly functional with pregnancy, labor, childbirth, menopause, weight gain, a sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, sports injuries, pelvic trauma, chronic straining, pelvic surgery, diabetes, tobacco use, steroid use, and disuse atrophy (not exercising the PFM). Sexual inactivity can lead to their loss of tone, texture and function. With aging there is a decline in the bulk and contractility of the PFM, often resulting in PFM dysfunction.

Why are the PFM so vital to your health?

The PFM are perhaps the most versatile yet under-appreciated muscle group in your body. They provide vaginal tone, support to the pelvic organs, a healthy sexual response–enhancing arousal and orgasm–and urinary and bowel sphincter control. They play a key role in your ability to carry and deliver a baby as well as contributing to the mobility and stability of your torso.

A simplified way of thinking of the female pelvic organs–bladder, uterus and bowel–is as “storage containers” for urine, fetuses, and stool, respectively. Each organ is connected to the outside world by tubular structures, the urethra, vagina and anal canal, respectively, through which flow the contents of the organs. The PFM play a strong role in compressing the tubes for storage and relaxing them for emptying.

What Is the muscle function of the PFM?

Whereas most skeletal muscles function as movers (joint movement and locomotion), the PFM are unique in that they function as stabilizers—helping to keep the pelvic organs in proper position—and compressors—helping to tighten the vagina, urethra and rectum—important to urinary and bowel control as well as to sexual function. During sex the PFM activate, causing a surge of genital blood flow that helps lubrication and clitoral engorgement; at the time of orgasm, the PFM contract rhythmically.

Why bother exercising your PFM?                                                        

The PFM are out of sight and out of mind; however, they have vital functions, so are muscles that you should be exercising. PFM training is based upon solid exercise science and can help maintain PFM integrity and optimal function into old age. The PFM are capable of making adaptive changes when targeted exercise is applied to them. Pelvic training involves gaining facility with both the contracting and the relaxing phases of PFM function. Their structure and function can be enhanced, resulting in broader, thicker and firmer PFM with a stronger resting tone and the ability to generate a powerful contraction at will. PFM training can be effective in stabilizing, relieving, improving and even preventing issues with pelvic support, sexual function, and urinary and bowel control. In addition to the muscle-training benefit of PFM training, it also supports tissue healing by stimulating the flow of oxygenated, nutritionally-rich blood to the vagina and other pelvic organs.

Because of pregnancy, labor and delivery, the PFM get stretched more than any other muscle group in the body. Through pelvic training, the PFM have the capacity of rebounding from this obstetrical “trauma,” recovering tone and function. Prenatal pelvic training can help fortify the PFM in preparation for pregnancy, labor and delivery.

Bottom Line: The PFM may literally be at the bottom of the barrel of our core muscles, but in terms of their important functions, they are figuratively furthermost from the “bottom of the barrel.” Without functioning PFM, your organs would dangle out of your pelvis, you would be wearing adult diapers and your sexual function would be non-existent. It behooves you to keep these vital muscles in tip-top shape. 

Please check out the following 3 minute video entitled “Why Kegel?”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kclY1vY3wG8

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

The Kegel Fix trailer: 

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. 

10 Reasons For Men To Kegel

June 4, 2016

Andrew Siegel, M.D. 6/4/16

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 life. There are numerous advantages to keeping them fit and robust with pelvic floor exercises.  Last week’s entry detailed why this is the case for females and today’s will explain how and why are equally beneficial for males.  As the saying goes: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” and when it comes to the pelvic floor, this is an absolute truth.  Kegel popularized these exercises for females and it is my intent to do the same for men!   If you would like more information on pelvic floor muscle training in men, visit AndrewSiegelMD.com, the opening page of which has the link to a review article I wrote for the Gold Journal of Urology on the topic. 

 

pixabay image

  10 REASONS FOR MEN TO DO KEGEL EXERCISES 

  1. To improve/prevent erectile dysfunction.
  1. To improve/prevent premature ejaculation.
  1. To improve/prevent ejaculatory dysfunction (skimpy ejaculation volumes, weak ejaculation force and arc, diminished ejaculatory sensation).
  1. To improve/prevent post-void dribbling (that annoying after-dribble of urine that occurs after finishing urinating).
  1. To improve/prevent stress urinary incontinence (leakage with coughing, sneezing, exercise, etc.) that may occur following prostate surgery.
  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. 

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.

 

Cover

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. 

The Pelvic (Kegel) Revolution

April 23, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD  4/23/16

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(photo above: Dr. Arnold Kegel, Gladser Studio, 1953)

A Brief Recap from Last Week

In the 1940s, the seminal work of Los Angeles gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel resulted in pelvic floor exercises achieving the stature and acclaim that they deserved. His legacy is the name that many use to refer to pelvic exercises—“Kegels” or “Kegel exercises.” Despite Kegel’s pelvic regimen proving effective for many female pelvic issues (pelvic relaxation, vaginal laxity and sexual issues, urinary leakage, etc.) what came to be referred to as Kegel exercises in the post-Kegel era had little resemblance to what he so brilliantly described in his classic series of medical articles sixty-five years ago. His regimen incorporated a critical focus and intensity that were unfortunately not upheld in most of the pelvic floor muscle training programs that followed his reign.

The Pelvic (Kegel) Revolution

After years of “stagnancy” following the transformative work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, there is a resurgence of interest in the pelvic floor and in the benefits of pelvic floor training. In 2016, we are in the midst of a pelvic floor “sea change” that is gaining momentum and traction. There is increasing recognition of pelvic floor dysfunction (when pelvic floor function goes awry) as the root cause for a variety of pelvic issues including pelvic organ prolapse, stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, sexual dysfunction and pelvic pain syndromes. There is an evolution in progress with respect to management of pelvic floor dysfunction, including “smart” pelvic floor muscle programs that are tailored to the specific pelvic floor dysfunction, the advent of a host of novel, high-technology pelvic floor training resistance devices and the expanding use of a specialty niche of physical therapy—pelvic floor physical therapy.  Of note, pelvic floor physical therapy has been popular in Europe for many years and it is only recently that its utility has been recognized in the USA. (I am grateful for the wonderful services provided by my pelvic physiotherapy colleagues who have been so helpful and beneficial for many of my patients with pelvic floor dysfunctions.)

It is my belief that the next few years will bear witness to continued advances in pelvic floor muscle training and focus that will restore pelvic training to the classic sense established by Arnold Kegel—a “renaissance” to a new era of “pelvic enlightenment.” Books such as The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health (www.TheKegelFix.com) introduce new-age, next-generation pelvic programs—progressive, home-based, tailored exercise programs consisting of strength, power and endurance training regimens—designed and customized for each specific pelvic floor dysfunction. 2016 will usher in the availability of high quality follow-along pelvic training programs, e.g., the PelvicRx (www.PelvicRx.com)—a comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered training regimen accessible via DVD or streaming. Furthermore, based upon Dr. Kegel’s perineometer resistance device, technological advances have resulted in the emergence of numerous pelvic floor muscle training devices, many of which are sophisticated means of providing resistance, biofeedback and tracking, often via Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone. Although most provide the same basic functionality—insertion into the vagina, connection to a smartphone app, biofeedback and tracking—each has its own unique features. This market for resistance devices is evolving at a remarkably rapid pace.

Another major refinement is the concept of functional pelvic fitness—teaching patients how to put their pelvic knowledge and skills to real life use with practical and actionable means of applying pelvic muscle proficiency to daily tasks and common everyday activities, an area that has been sorely neglected in the past, with prior emphasis solely on achieving a conditioned pelvic floor.

An additional element of the pelvic revolution is the increasing awareness and acceptance by the urological-gynecological-gastrointestinal community of the concept that stress and other psychosocial factors can give rise to physical complaints such as pelvic floor tension myalgia, a condition in which the pelvic floor muscles exist in an over-contracted, painful state. At one time, this diagnostic entity was not even a consideration; however, an understanding of this condition is slowly gaining recognition and traction and there is a burgeoning understanding that many pelvic pain issues (interstitial cystitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, prostatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, etc.) can, in actuality, be manifestations of pelvic floor hyper-contractility and over-tensioning.

Pelvic floor physical therapy has become and will continue to be increasingly in vogue. This specialized branch of physical therapy that deals with pelvic floor issues treats a wide range of pelvic floor dysfunctions ranging the gamut from pelvic muscle weakness to pelvic muscle over-tensioning. Pelvic floor physical therapy sessions can be of great help for those with pelvic floor dysfunctions and it is clear that patients do better with supervised regimens than they do without. Pelvic physical therapy is particularly useful for pelvic pain syndromes. In France, the government subsidizes the cost of post-partum pelvic training (“La rééducation périnéale après accouchement”), including up to 20 sessions of pelvic PT intended to tone and “re-educate” the postnatal pelvic muscles.

The final piece of the pelvic revolution is the broadening appreciation that pelvic floor muscle training in males is no less important than in females, potentially beneficial in the management of stress urinary incontinence that follows prostatectomy, overactive bladder, post-void dribbling, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and pelvic pain due to pelvic muscle spasm.

Future Considerations

Demand for the management of pelvic floor disorders will increase over the next decade. There is major growth opportunity for services that utilize non-physician providers (nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physical therapists) to teach patients pelvic muscle training and other behavioral treatments.

If Arnold Kegel were alive today, in all likelihood he would take great pleasure and pride in the breath of life being infused into his seminal work following decades of dormancy. His legacy and the fertile ground and transformative changes nurtured by his pioneering efforts will result in the continued empowerment of patients, with improvement in their pelvic health and quality of life.

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 May 2016).

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

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 code “UROLOGY10” at checkout for 10% discount. 

 

Sleep Apnea: Bad For Your Health (General, Sexual & Urinary)

February 6, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD   2/6/16

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(Thank you Pixabay for image)

This is an important topic, an issue that the medical community is just getting wind of (pardon the pun) with respect to how common a problem it is and how significant its consequences are. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) negatively affects all aspects of health, including sexual and urinary function. Many patients with OSA present with urological symptoms that are not genital/urinary in origin, their root cause being the OSA.  When the OSA is treated, the urological symptoms improve dramatically. 

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic medical disorder that adversely affects one’s sleep, health and quality of life. It is characterized by repeated complete or partial interruptions of breathing during sleep due to mechanical obstruction of the upper airway passage. Muscle relaxation during sleeping—including those muscles that support the tongue and throat—results in the soft tissues in the throat sagging and collapsing under the force of gravity, pulling the airway closed and causing intermittent suffocation. This reduces or halts breathing and causes below-normal levels of oxygen in the blood, giving rise to insomnia and restless sleep with frequent awakenings. OSA sufferers wake up fatigued and have excessive daytime sleepiness, which correlates with an increased chance of motor vehicle accidents, “fatigue” eating and sleep deprivation-related cognitive impairment and mood disturbances.

OSA is present in about 25% of men and 10% of women in the USA. It is more prevalent with aging and with obesity.  Snoring in a loud and exaggerated fashion is typical, and snorting and gasping for air is characteristic. Other manifestations of OSA are a dry mouth and throat and abnormal daytime breathing patterns–particularly loud, shallow mouth breathing. It is not uncommon for those with OSA to have anatomical irregularities, including a thick neck, enlarged tonsils and palate and jaw abnormalities.

Obesity and OSA share much in common, both chronic diseases that give rise to serious medical issues affecting quantity and quality of life. OSA results in hypoxia (lack of oxygen supply), an unhealthy state since every cell, tissue and organ in our body depends upon oxygen to fuel proper function. A spectrum of serious medical issues can result, including headache, impaired glucose metabolism/type 2 diabetes, depression, chronic kidney disease, peripheral neuropathy, glaucoma and cardiovascular disease. OSA is detrimental to endothelial cell function, the specialized cells that line arteries, and OSA-related cardiovascular disease includes high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation. OSA increases the risk of premature mortality.

OSA is associated with urological issues including decreased sex drive, low testosterone levels, sexual dysfunction in both men and women, overactive bladder and frequent nighttime urinating (a.k.a. nocturia).

OSA and Urination

Many with OSA have urinary symptoms because of the OSA and not because of problems with their bladder, prostate, kidneys, etc. They often end up in a urologist’s office because their primary symptoms are urinary. The two most prevalent urinary issues associated with OSA are nighttime urination and overactive bladder.

Nocturnal urine production by the kidneys is based upon many factors including fluid intake as well as the production of certain hormones. The two key hormones involved are anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP). ADH is a pituitary hormone that regulates water excretion by the kidney, restricting urine production so that humans maintain their blood volume. ANP is the opposite—a diuretic that increases water excretion by the kidney, causing abundant urine production, as well as inhibiting ADH.

Here is what happens with OSA: Vigorous efforts to breathe against an obstructed airway result in negative pressures in the chest. This increases the volume of venous blood that returns to the heart, causing distension of the right heart chambers (atrium and ventricle). The heart responds to this distension as a false sign of fluid volume overload, with a hormonal response of secreting ANP. As a result of the ANP secretion, high volumes of urine are produced during sleep, resulting in sleep-disruptive nocturia. There may be as many as 6 or more nighttime awakenings to urinate. When OSA is treated it results in a significant improvement, if not complete resolution, of the sleep disruptive nocturia.

In contrast to nocturia, overactive bladder is more of a daytime issue. Its symptoms include the sudden and urgent desire to urinate (a.k.a. “gotta go”), urinating frequently, and possibly urinary leakage (urgency urinary incontinence). The cardinal symptom of OAB is urgency, the sudden and compelling desire to urinate that is difficult to postpone. Studies have shown a direct relationship between the severity of OSA and the severity of OAB symptoms.

 OSA and Sex

Sexual issues are common among men and women with OSA. Men typically experience a loss of interest in sex, low testosterone and difficulties obtaining and maintaining erections.  Women can experience a loss in sex drive and other symptoms of female sexual dysfunction.  Neurological testing of patients with OSA-related erectile dysfunction has shown an absent or impaired bulbo-cavernosus reflex, which is a measure of pelvic floor muscle response to sexual stimulation. The extent of impairment is directly proportional to the severity of the OSA. Essentially, this is peripheral neuropathy—nerve damage that negatively affects sexual function.

 Diagnosing OSA

Despite growing awareness of OSA, 90% of those with the disorder are undiagnosed and untreated. The diagnosis is made with overnight sleep studies, performed under the care of a pulmonologist, an internist who specializes in lung problems. This study records sleep stages, heart rhythm, leg movements, breathing patterns and oxygen saturations. OSA is defined as a complete cessation of airflow lasting more than 10 seconds (apneic episodes). The degree of OSA is based upon the number of episodes per hour of breathing cessation:

  • Mild OSA: 5-15 apneic episodes per hour
  • Moderate OSA: 15-30 apneic episodes per hour
  • Severe OSA: more than 30 apneic episodes per hour

As an alternative to overnight sleep studies that require an overnight stay in a sleep lab, home sleep testing machines are now available.

Treating OSA

Since many with OSA carry the burden of extra pounds–which contributes in a major way to the problem–the first-line treatment is lifestyle improvement. This includes healthy eating, weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, etc. Additionally, alcohol and other sedative medications (that can further interfere with breathing) should be avoided. Positional therapy–avoiding the supine position and instead sleeping upright–can be helpful as well.

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common and effective treatment for OSA and is considered the gold standard. This is an apparatus that maintains the airway and airflow, preventing apnea and the negative consequences of lack of oxygen. The problem with CPAP is that it is a somewhat cumbersome device that some people tolerate poorly. Alternatively, oral appliances that are fitted by a dentist can be effective, are less cumbersome than CPAP and do not require an electrical source. A procedure under investigation is the implantation of a hypoglossus nerve stimulators, which can help prevent some of the involved muscles from sagging and causing obstruction. On occasion, surgery such as uvulo-palato-pharyngoplasty performed by an ear/nose/throat surgeon is needed to help alleviate the obstructed breathing passage.

Bottom Line: OSA causes reduced levels of oxygen in the blood and therefore diminished oxygen supply to all cells in the body. Oxygen is vital for cellular function, and similar to the mechanical choking of one’s neck from OSA, so the cells, tissues and organs of the body “choke” in response to insufficient oxygen. The symptoms of OSA are due to the collateral damage from this lack of oxygen with impaired nerve and blood vessel function being particularly detrimental. Many urological issues can develop as a result of OSA, including sleep-disruptive nighttime urination, overactive bladder and altered sexual function. Fortunately, OSA is a treatable condition.

A shout-out to my friend and dentist extraordinaire who has expertise on OSA and the use of oral appliances:  Warren Boardman, DDS, Bergen County Center for Snoring, Sleep Apnea & CPAP Intolerance, 75 Chestnut Street, Ridgewood, NJ, 07450, 201-445-4808

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 and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: www.MalePelvicFitness.com. In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym, a comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training program. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, Private Gym empowers men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.

Uterine Fibroids And The Bladder

January 9, 2016

Andrew Siegel MD   1/9/16

shutterstock_femalebluepelvic

 

Fibroids are muscular growths that develop within the womb that can put direct pressure on the next door neighbor of the uterus–the urinary bladder.  This compression can give rise to a host of annoying urinary symptoms including urinary urgency, frequency, urinary leakage and difficulty urinating.  

Although fibroids usually grow within the uterine wall, at times they do so internally into the uterine cavity or, alternatively, externally on the outside of the uterus. They are virtually always benign and much of the time they do not cause symptoms. When symptomatic they may cause the following: heavy uterine bleeding; pelvic pressure; a swollen and distended lower abdomen; urinary and bowel issues; pelvic and lower back pain; pain with sexual intercourse; as well as fertility problems, reproductive issues and complications of pregnancy (breech births, failure of labor to progress, the need for C-section, preterm delivery, and bleeding following delivery).

The most common presenting symptom of uterine fibroids is uterine bleeding, which often begins as prolonged menstruation and can be severe enough to cause a low blood count.  Fibroids are problems of the reproductive years, prevalent in women in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They can be solitary or multiple, range in size from tiny to huge and vary in location within the uterus. The largest fibroids can outgrow their blood supply and undergo degenerative changes. When extremely large, they can distort the lower abdomen, simulating pregnancy. Fibroids are “tumors”–-although benign–- that microscopically consist of interlacing bundles of smooth muscle surrounded by condensed uterine tissue. There is a genetic basis for fibroids with an increased prevalence in women with a family history. Obesity increases one’s risk for fibroids.

The growth of uterine fibroids is largely controlled by estrogen, the key female sex hormone. Fibroids tend to grow rapidly during pregnancy and regress after menopause when estrogen production ceases.

The presence of fibroids may significantly impair one’s quality of life. Because of the pressure they apply against the typically balloon-thin female urinary bladder, they often cause urinary symptoms, much as in pregnancy when an enlarged uterus compresses the bladder. Urinary symptoms most often occur when the fibroids are located closest to the bladder and/or urethra. Typical symptoms include urinary urgency, frequency and stress urinary incontinence (leakage of urine with sneezing, coughing, and exertion). Symptoms are proportionate to the size of the fibroid, with larger fibroids causing more significant symptoms. On occasion, a fibroid can cause an obstruction of the urinary tract, impairing one’s ability to empty their bladder, sometimes requiring the placement of a urinary catheter to alleviate the obstruction.

On pelvic examination, fibroids can often be recognized as pelvic masses. Thye can be further evaluated with imaging studies, including ultrasound, computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. They characteristically cause a “popcorn” appearing calcification on abdominal radiographs.

Those fibroids that do not cause symptoms or bleeding do not require treatment. There are numerous pharmacological options for symptomatic fibroids including medications that lower estrogen levels that cause suppression and shrinkage of the fibroids. Surgery may be required when there is an inadequate response to conservative measures. Surgical options include removing or destroying the uterine lining to control heavy bleeding, deliberately blocking the blood supply to the fibroid, surgical removal of one or more of the fibroids and, at times, removing the entire uterus (hysterectomy).

Bottom Line: As a urologist, I not uncommonly see women with urinary urgency, frequency, incontinence or urinary obstruction caused by one or more uterine fibroids pushing and compressing the bladder or urethra. It is usually very obvious on pelvic ultrasound or cystoscopy (visual inspection of the bladder), where the fibroid can be seen to cause extrinsic compression. The good news is that such fibroids are eminently manageable, which most often resolves the urinary issues.    

Wishing you the best of health and a very happy New Year,

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 and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: www.MalePelvicFitness.com. In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym, a comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training program. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, Private Gym empowers men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.

Botox: For A “Gladder” Bladder

December 19, 2015

Andrew Siegel MD   12/19/15

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You are probably aware of Botox used for improving the cosmetic appearance of facial wrinkles. When injected into frown lines Botox paralyzes facial muscles resulting in creases, furrows and grooves disappearing and presto, you look a decade younger! Botox has numerous medical uses that go beyond improving one’s appearance. It is commonly used to improve internal body functions, e.g., injecting it into the bladder muscle to improve symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB).

Making Lemonade From Lemons

Botox is derived from the most poisonous substance known to man—botulinum toxin. This neurotoxin is produced by the Clostridium bacterium, responsible for botulism. Botulism is a rare but serious illness that can result in paralysis. Botulinum toxin, when used in minute quantities in a derivative known as Botox, is a magically effective and powerful potion.

How It Works

Botox is a neuromuscular blocking agent that weakens or paralyzes muscles. Beyond cosmetics, it can be beneficial for a variety of medical conditions that have in common some form of localized muscle over-activity. Its uses generally involve conditions with muscle spasticity, involuntary muscle contractions, excessive sweating and eyelid or eye muscle spasm.

Botox For The Bladder

Overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome consists of the symptoms of urinary urgency (the sudden desire to urinate), with or without urgency incontinence (urinary leakage associated with urgency), usually accompanied by frequent urination during both awake and sleep hours. OAB has been described as the “bladder squeezing without your permission to do so.”

When injected into the muscle of the bladder,  Botox treats the “wrinkles,” the thick muscle bands known in medical jargon as trabeculation, which are typically present in conditions that cause obstruction to the outflow of urine or bladder overactivity.  By temporarily paralyzing a portion of the bladder muscle, OAB symptoms can improve dramatically. 

Botox can be used in both genders.  It is usually a second line treatment for those who have not responded well or have been intolerant to oral bladder relaxant medications.  The goal of Botox is to  effectively treat persistent and disabling urinary urgency, frequency and urgency incontinence.  Botox is FDA approved in the USA in a 100 unit dose for overactive bladder and  200 unit dose for overactive bladder associated with neurological conditions.

Bladder Botox injection is a brief office procedure usually done under light sedation. It involves placing a cystoscope into the bladder and injecting  Botox into numerous sites in the bladder via a needle that fits through the cystoscope. The entire procedure takes 10 minutes or so.

Preparing for Bladder Botox/ Expectations 

  1. Stop blood thinner medications one week before Botox.
  2. Antibiotics are started 2 days before and continued for 2 days after.
  3. You may experience blood-tinged urine, burning with urination and pelvic pain for a day or so after the procedure.
  4. You may experience difficulty urinating and feel that you are not emptying completely; if so, this may require a catheter or temporarily learning how to do self-catheterization.
  5. It may take a week or two to notice improvement. Although Botox is highly effective, it is not so in everyone.
  6. Follow up urinalysis and check of the post-void residual volume (how much urine is left in the bladder after voiding) in two weeks.
  7. Botox should last 6-9 months or so. After the improvement wears off, the injection can be repeated. If ineffective or only partially effective, the Botox dosage can be increased.

Bottom line: Botox, a  neurotoxin produced by Clostridium that causes paralysis, can be beneficial when injected into virtually any muscle in the body that is in a state of hyper-contraction and spasticity.  It has found utility for a variety of medical conditions, particularly for the treatment of overactive bladder symptoms.

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 and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback: www.MalePelvicFitness.com. In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-creator of Private Gym, a comprehensive, interactive, FDA-registered follow-along male pelvic floor muscle training program. Built upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, Private Gym empowers men to increase pelvic floor muscle strength, tone, power, and endurance: www.PrivateGym.com or Amazon.

Use Your Pelvic Floor To Overcome Over-Active Bladder

May 16, 2015

Andrew Siegel MD  5/16/15

shutterstock_orange gu tract closeupshutterstock_femalebluepelvic

Over-Active Bladder (OAB) is urinary urgency (the sudden and urgent desire to urinate) and frequency (urinating too often, which can be during both awake and sleep hours), with or without urgency incontinence (urinary leakage associated with the urgent desire to urinate). It is often due to involuntary contractions of the bladder in which the bladder squeezes—inappropriately so—without its “owner’s” permission. Although it can occur without provocation, it is commonly triggered by positional changes such as going from sitting to standing, exposure to running water, approaching a bathroom, and when placing the key in the door to one’s home.

The American Urological Association guidelines for OAB recommend pelvic floor muscle (PFM) training as first-line therapy for OAB because voluntary PFM contractions can effectively inhibit involuntary bladder contractions and squelch the urgency and urgency incontinence.

Bladder Physiology 101

In order to effectively tap into the powers of the pelvic floor, a basic understanding of bladder function is necessary. During urine storage, the bladder muscle is in a relaxed (non-contracting state) and the urinary sphincters (contributed to by the PFM muscles), responsible for urinary control, are engaged (contracted). During urine emptying, the bladder muscle contracts and the sphincter muscles relax synchronously. This “antagonistic” relationship between the bladder muscle and the PFMs can be used to the advantage of those suffering with OAB. Since people with OAB often have bladders that contract involuntarily causing the symptoms of urgency and frequency, a means of getting the bladder to relax is to intentionally engage the PFMs to benefit from the reflex relaxation of the bladder that occurs with voluntary contraction of the PFMs.

The PFM-Bladder Reflex

This is a very useful and practical reflex that you can easily access. This reflex is unique because it can be engaged voluntarily and because it results in the relaxation of a muscle as opposed to its contraction. Anyone who has ever experienced an urgent desire to urinate or move one’s bowels will find this reflex of great practical use. When the reflex is deployed, it will result in relaxation of both the urinary bladder and rectum and a quieting down of the urgency.

How To Use The Reflex To Your Advantage

When you feel the sudden and urgent desire to urinate, pulse the PFMs five times, briefly but intensely. When the PFM are so deployed, the bladder muscle reflexively relaxes and the feeling of intense urgency should disappear. Likewise, when the PFM are so deployed, the rectum relaxes and the feeling of intense bowel urgency should diminish. This reflex is a keeper when you are stuck in traffic and have no access to a toilet!

PFM training helps stimulate the inhibitory reflex between the PFMs and the bladder muscle. A PFM training program will stimulate your awareness of the PFM and enable you to isolate them and increase their strength, tone, and endurance. The inhibitory reflex will become more robust and you will develop an enhanced ability to counteract urgency, frequency and urgency incontinence. Urgency can often be diminished and the urgency incontinence can often be abolished.

Getting beyond inhibiting urgency after it occurs is preventing it from occurring in the first place. In order to do so, it is important to recognize the specific triggers that induce the urgency, frequency or incontinence: hand washing, key in the door, rising from sitting, running water, entering the shower, cold or rainy weather, etc. Prior to exposure to a trigger, rapid flexes of the PFM can preempt the involuntary bladder contraction before it has a chance to occur.

Bottom Line: There are many treatments available for OAB, including decreasing your fluid and caffeine intake, bladder re-training, oral medications, Botox injections into the bladder and neuro-stimulation. As a first-line approach, tap into the powers of your PFM and harness the natural reflex in which involuntary bladder contractions can be inhibited or prevented by engaging your PFM.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

AndrewSiegelMD.com

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

www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Author of Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health: available in e-book (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo) and paperback:          

http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com

Co-creator of Private Gym pelvic floor muscle training program for men:

http://www.PrivateGym.com 

The Private Gym is a comprehensive, interactive, follow-along exercise program that provides the resources to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that are vital to sexual and urinary health. The program builds upon the foundational work of Dr. Arnold Kegel, who popularized exercises for women to increase pelvic muscle strength and tone. This FDA registered program is effective, safe and easy-to-use. The “Basic Training” program strengthens the pelvic floor muscles with a series of progressive “Kegel” exercises and the “Complete Program” provides maximal opportunity for gains through its patented resistance equipment.

Applied Kegels: Functional Pelvic Fitness

November 19, 2014

Andrew Siegel MD 11/19/14

I’ll be in Miami for a few days at the SMSNA (Sexual Medical Society of North America) meeting, so will upload this blog earlier than usual.

 FUNCTIONAL PELVIC FITNESS

It’s one thing to work out your muscles in order to make them stronger, better toned and more durable, but it’s another dimension when you can put that effort to practical use over the course of your day. Since the pelvic floor muscles are muscles of function rather than form, muscles for “go” rather than “show,” they can be put into service when applied to common real life situations.

Urinary and Bowel Urgency (for both sexes)

Chances are that at one time or another you have experienced a sudden and urgent desire to use the bathroom when none was nowhere in sight. This often occurs as a result of an involuntary bladder or bowel contraction, when the bladder or bowel squeezes without your permission, sometimes on the basis of triggers that induce a conditioned response (classic triggers are hand washing, placing a key in the door to your home, rising from sitting, exposure to running water, entering the shower, cold or rainy weather, getting closer and closer to the bathroom, etc.). By recognizing the occurrence of the involuntary contraction and by actively squeezing your pelvic floor muscles using a “rapid flex” technique—rapidly pulsing the pelvic muscles 3-5 times—the urgency can be relieved (and the leakage that can sometimes occur can often be prevented). This works equally as well for bowel urgency as it does for urinary urgency.

Going a step beyond inhibiting urgency after it occurs is preventing it from occurring before it occurs. In order to do so, it is important to recognize any triggers that may induce your urgency. Immediately prior to exposure to a trigger, rapid flexes of the pelvic floor muscles can thwart the involuntary contraction before it even arises.

 

Dribbling After Urinating (for men)

An “after-dribble” of urine is more annoying than serious and is often a sign of weakening pelvic floor muscles, for which strengthening exercises have proven an effective remedy. Squeezing the pelvic floor muscles is the body’s natural way of expelling the contents of the urinary channel. When contracted, the bulbocavernosus muscle—the body’s urethral “stripper”—compresses the deep portion of the urethra, pushing the urine out. The 1909 Gray’s Anatomy aptly labeled this muscle the “ejaculator urine.”

By actively squeezing your pelvic floor muscles immediately after urinating by using a “basic flex” technique—powerfully pulsing the pelvic floor muscles 3-5 times for 1-2 seconds per contraction—the last few drops of urine will be directed into the toilet and not your pants.

 

Stress Urinary Incontinence (for both sexes)

Stress incontinence is urinary leakage provoked by sudden increases in abdominal pressure, triggered by sneezing, coughing, bending, lifting, exercising, positional change, etc. It is a common condition in women, often resulting from the pelvic trauma of childbirth, weakening the pelvic muscles and connective tissues that support the urinary channel. Although less common in men, it can occur following radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer and sometimes after prostate surgery done for benign conditions.

In order to help control stress incontinence, you need to be attentive to the triggers that provoke it. By actively squeezing the pelvic floor muscles immediately prior to the trigger exposure, the incontinence can be improved or eliminated. For example, if standing up provokes the incontinence, do a brisk pelvic floor muscle contraction using a “long, hard flex”—contracting the pelvic floor muscles powerfully for 3-5 seconds when transitioning from sitting to standing. This long, hard flex is a means of bracing the pelvic floor muscles immediately prior to an activity that incites the problem and can be a highly effective means of managing the stress incontinence. When practiced diligently, it becomes an automatic behavior.

 

Premature Ejaculation

Weak pelvic floor muscles seem to play a role in hindering your ability to delay ejaculation. Pelvic floor muscle exercises are a promising treatment option for premature ejaculation, as they will increase the strength, tone, power, and endurance of the pelvic muscles, which can help short-circuit the premature ejaculation. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of pelvic floor muscle training in the management of premature ejaculation.

To apply your pelvic muscle facility to the real life situation you need to recognize the imminent ejaculation, slow the pace of intercourse, pause the pelvic thrusting and perform a “hold”—a pelvic floor muscle contraction lasting about 10 seconds or so, until the point that the ejaculatory urgency disappears. By actively deploying your pelvic floor muscles by using this sustained contraction of the pelvic floor muscles, the ejaculation can often be forestalled and intercourse resumed.

Bottom Line: Pelvic floor muscle training has numerous practical benefits, from the bedroom to the bathroom. Learn more about the specifics of these exercises—rapid flexes, basic flexes, long hard flexes and holds, through the Private Gym pelvic floor muscle training program, a comprehensive, interactive, follow-along exercise program that strengthens the muscles that support sexual and urinary health. (www.PrivateGym.com)

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

http://www.AndrewSiegelMD.com

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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 and Urinary Health: http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com

Private Gym: http://www.PrivateGym.com – now available on Amazon