Posts Tagged ‘preventive pelvic floor muscle training’

“Preventive” Kegels: A Cutting-Edged Concept

August 25, 2018

Andrew Siegel MD  8/25/18

prevention                        Attribution: Alpha Stock Images – http://alphastockimages.com/

“People whose diseases are prevented as opposed to cured may never really appreciate what has been done for them. Zimmerman’s law: Nobody notices when things go right.” …Walter M. Bortz II, M.D.

“To guard is better than to heal, the shield is nobler than the spear!”                                  …Oliver Wendell Holmes

Achieving a fit pelvic floor by strengthening and toning the pelvic muscles is a first line approach that can improve a variety of pelvic maladies in a way that is natural, easily accessible and free from harmful side effects. Although it is always desirable to treat the symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, it is another dimension entirely to take a proactive approach by strengthening the pelvic muscles to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction.

Pregnancy, labor, childbirth, aging, menopause, weight gain, gravity, straining and chronic increases in abdominal pressure take a toll on pelvic anatomy and function and can adversely affect vaginal tone, pelvic organ support, urinary and bowel control and sexual function.  Humans have a remarkable capacity for self-repair and pelvic issues can be dealt with after the fact, but why be reactive instead of being proactive?  Why not attend to future problems before they actually become problems? Isn’t a better approach “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Why not pursue a strategy to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction instead of fixing it, not allowing function to become dysfunction in the first place?

To be the “devil’s advocate,” the answers to the aforementioned questions posed may be:

  1. Why bother at all, since pelvic issues may never surface.
  2. Being proactive takes work and effort and many humans do not have the motivation and determination required to pursue and stick with any exercise program.
  3. If I put in the effort and pelvic issues never surface, how do I even know that it was my efforts that prevented the problem.

In the USA, over 350,000 surgical procedures are performed annually to treat two of the most common pelvic floor dysfunctions—stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.  Estimates are that by the year 2050, this number will rise to more than 600,000.  These sobering statistics provide the incentive for changing the current treatment paradigm to a preventive pelvic health paradigm with the goal of avoiding, delaying or diminishing deterioration in pelvic floor function.

If birth trauma to the pelvic floor often brings on pelvic floor dysfunction as well as urinary, bowel, gynecological and sexual consequences, why not start pelvic training well before pregnancy? This runs counter to both our repair-based medical culture that is not preventive-oriented and our patient population that often opts for fixing things as opposed to preventing them from occurring.

Realistically, pelvic training prior to pregnancy will not prevent pelvic floor dysfunction in everyone.  Unquestionably, obstetrical trauma (9 months of pregnancy, labor and vaginal delivery of a baby that is about half the size of a Butterball turkey, repeated several times) can and will often cause pelvic floor dysfunction, whether the pelvic muscles are fit or not!  However, even if pelvic training does not prevent all forms of pelvic floor dysfunction, it will certainly impact it in a very positive way, lessening the degree of the dysfunction and accelerating the healing process. Furthermore, mastering pelvic exercises before pregnancy will make carrying the pregnancy easier and will facilitate labor and delivery and the effortless resumption of the exercises in the post-partum period, as the exercises were learned under ideal circumstances, prior to pelvic injury. Since there are other risk factors for pelvic muscle dysfunction aside from obstetric considerations, this preventive model is equally applicable to women who are not pregnant or never wish to become pregnant.

Preventive health is commonly practiced with respect to general physical fitness. We work out not only to achieve better fitness, but also to maintain fitness and prevent losses in strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, etc.  In this spirit, I encourage those of you who are enjoying excellent pelvic health to maintain this health with a preventive pelvic training program.  For those working to improve your pelvic health, continue forward on the journey.  Regardless of whether your goal is treatment or prevention, a pelvic training program will allow you to honor your pelvic floor and become empowered from within.

Bottom Line: You can positively affect your own pelvic health destiny.  It is better not to be reactive and wait for your pelvic health to go south, but to be proactive to ensure your continuing sexual, urinary and bowel health. If you wait for the onset of a dysfunction to motivate you to action, it may possibly be too late. Think about integrating a preventive pelvic floor training program into your exercise regimen—it’s like a vaccine to prevent a disease that hopefully you will never get.

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

A new blog is posted weekly. To receive a free subscription with delivery to your email inbox visit the following link and click on “email subscription”:  www.HealthDoc13.WordPress.com

Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro Area, 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.

Dr. Siegel has authored the following books that are available on Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo:

MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual & Urinary Health

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

PROMISCUOUS EATING: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

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These books are written for educated and discerning men and women who care about health, well-being, fitness and nutrition and enjoy feeling confident and strong.

Dr. Siegel is co-creator of the male pelvic floor exercise instructional DVD (female version is in the works): PelvicRx

New video on female pelvic floor exercises:  Learn about your pelvic floor

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Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises: A Vital Part Of Any Balanced Exercise Program

August 15, 2015

Andrew Siegel MD  8/15/15

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Image above: Credit to Eli Christman (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gammaman/7170043719/ CC BY 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

We hear much about the importance of strengthening our “core” muscles. Most core exercise programs focus on the abdominal, hip, and back muscles. However, there are deeper core muscles that form the floor of the core muscles–-the pelvic floor muscles—that are often neglected, particularly by men. These muscles play a vital role in sexual, urinary, and bowel health and in maintaining proper form, balance and posture during virtually any and every form of exercise. Incorporating a pelvic floor muscle program into your workout routine will be to your benefit. 

The Pelvic Floor Muscles

The pelvic floor muscles are not the well-respected, glitzy, for show, mirror-appealing, external glamour muscles. However, these hidden and often-ignored pelvic muscles are hidden gems that work diligently behind the scenes—muscles of major function and not so much form—that have a role that goes way beyond the joint movement and locomotion function of the external muscles. Although concealed, the pelvic muscles have powerful and beneficial functions, particularly so when intensified by training.

Although not our muscles of glamour, they are our muscles of “amour,” and have a profoundly important role in sexual, urinary, and bowel function as well as in supporting our pelvic organs.

Use Them Or Lose Them

The pelvic floor muscles, as with other muscles in the body, are subject to adaptation. Unused as intended, they can suffer from “disuse atrophy,” becoming thin, flabby and poorly functional as happens with aging, weight gain, a sedentary lifestyle, poor posture and other forms of injury and trauma, chronic straining, and surgery. Used appropriately as designed by nature, they can remain healthy in structure and function. When targeted exercise is applied to them, particularly against the forces of resistance, they can be enhanced. Diligently practiced pelvic exercises will allow one to reap tangible rewards, as having fit pelvic muscles is the essence of functional fitness.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Training: In Isolation and Integrated With Other Workouts

There are two means of working out the pelvic floor muscles: in isolation and integrated. In order to become the master of your pelvic domain, it is initially important to isolate the pelvic floor muscles. Once pelvic floor muscle competence is established, pelvic exercises can then be integrated into other exercise routines and workouts. In real life, muscles do not work in isolation but rather as part of a team, the pelvic muscles being no exception. The pelvic floor muscles often contract in conjunction with the other core muscles—particularly the transversus abdominis—in a mutually supportive and synergistic fashion. In fact, many Pilates and yoga exercises emphasize consciously contracting the pelvic muscles simultaneously with the other core muscles during exercise routines.

Engaging the pelvic floor muscles while doing squats, lunges, etc., serves not only to integrate the lower regions of the core and provide optimal support and “lift” of the floor of the core, but also as a means of exercising the mind-body connection.  It is important to avoid over-exertion of the pelvic floor muscles and awareness directed towards this region is sufficient without the necessity for a forceful contraction.

Dynamic exercises in which complex body movements are coupled with core and pelvic stabilization—such as squats and deadlifts—enhance non-core as well as core strength and function to the maximum. The core muscles, including the pelvic floor, stabilize the trunk when our limbs are active, enabling us to put great effort into limb movements. It is impossible to use the arm and leg muscles effectively in any athletic endeavor without engaging a solid core as a platform from which to push off (think martial arts). Normally this happens without conscious effort, but with some focus and engagement, the core and pelvic floor contraction can be optimized. The stronger the platform, the more powerful the potential push off that platform can be.

Pelvic Contractions To Counteract Intense Training Regimens

Weight training and other forms of intensive exercise result in tremendous increases in abdominal pressure. This force is largely exerted downwards towards the pelvic floor, particularly when exercising in the standing position, when gravity also comes into play. Engaging the pelvic floor during such efforts will help counteract the vector of downwards forces exerted on the pelvic floor.

Knack Maneuver

Many females and certain males (particularly after radical prostatectomy) suffer with stress urinary incontinence, a spurt-like urinary leakage that occurs at times of increased abdominal pressure such as with sports and other high impact activities including jumping and kickboxing. For years, urologists and gynecologists have advocated the “knack” maneuver to counteract this, a technique in which the pelvic muscles are braced and briskly engaged at the time or just before any activity that triggers the stress incontinence. When practiced diligently, this can ultimately become an automatic behavior.

Bottom Line: The pelvic floor muscles are out of sight and therefore out of mind. However, these muscles that form the floor of the core are fundamental to many important body functions (sex, urinary and bowel). Pelvic floor muscle conditioning will not only help keep these functions in working order, but also is a vital component to the performance of complex movements that require engagement and stabilization of the core muscles.

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 (Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo) and paperback: http://www.MalePelvicFitness.com.  In the works is The Kegel Fix: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual and Urinary Health.

Co-founder 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: http://www.PrivateGym.com or available on Amazon.

Erectile Rigidity: “A Perfect Storm”

December 13, 2014

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Andrew Siegel MD   12/13/14

**Note: Although the following blog is written primarily for men, it is equally relevant to females. Since the penis and clitoris are homologous organs, whenever you see “penis” you can substitute “clitoris.”

Last week’s blog reviewed how the penis is one of the most “magical” of organs—how it is uniquely capable of transforming its shape, size and constitution in a matter of nanoseconds. The take home message was that the remarkable upsurge is possible because inflow of blood to the penis is maximized while outflow is minimized, resulting in penile blood pressures that far exceed arterial blood pressure.

Rigid erections can only occur when there is a “perfect storm” of events. First, the arterial blood flow to the penis needs to increase substantially (pre-penile event). Second, smooth muscle within the arteries and the spongy sinuses of the erectile chambers of the penis must relax to allow engorgement with blood (penile event). Third, the pelvic floor muscles must engage to turn the swollen penis into a rigid penis (post-penile event). The blood pressure in the penis resulting from the inflow of blood alone–in the absence of the contribution from the pelvic floor muscles–cannot exceed systolic blood pressure, so the pelvic floor muscles play a vital role with respect to penile rigidity and durability of erections.

So, when erections go south, it comes down to failure in one or more of the three events,  pre-penile, penile, or post-penile.

 

Pre-penile ED

The problem lies within the arterial blood supply to the pelvis, which is not capable of delivering enough blood flow to fill the penis. Typically, the pelvic arteries are clogged with fatty plaque (atherosclerosis), which is often due to an unhealthy lifestyle: poor diet, physical inactivity, being overweight and use of tobacco. Diabetes is a very common cause of impaired blood flow (although it also affects the nerve supply in an adverse way). Insufficient blood flow may also occur because of the blood pressure lowering effect of blood pressure medications.

Solution to Pre-penile ED: Lifestyle “angioplasty”— getting down to “fighting” weight, adopting a heart-healthy (and penis-healthy diet), exercising regularly, drinking alcohol moderately, avoiding tobacco, minimizing stress, getting enough sleep, etc.—all common sense measures to improve all aspects of health in general and blood vessel health in particular.

 

Penile ED

The problem lies within the penis itself. Because of poorly functioning smooth muscle within the arteries and spongy sinuses of the erectile chambers, the penis cannot properly swell up with blood. This smooth muscle cannot relax enough to allow blood flow to inflate the penis and pinch off the venous drainage. This failure of relaxation of the smooth muscle in the penile arteries and spongy sinuses parallels the failure of relaxation of smooth muscle in our arteries that causes high blood pressure (“essential” hypertension). Loss of this smooth muscle and scarring can also happen with aging, following prostate cancer surgery, from Peyronie’s disease or because of disuse atrophy.

Solution to Penile ED: Age-related malfunctioning smooth muscle and scarring is a difficult issue to manage. However, lifestyle measures can be helpful as well as adopting a “use it or lose it” attitude towards erectile function—exercising the penis via regular sexual activity will actually help its continued functioning and health of the smooth muscle of the penile arteries and spongy sinuses.

 

Post-Penile ED

 The problem is weakened pelvic floor muscles. These feeble muscles are incapable of compressing the roots of the penis sufficiently to increase the blood pressure in the penis to the levels needed for full erectile rigidity.

Solution to Post-Penile ED: Pelvic floor muscle training to improve the strength, tone and endurance of the pelvic floor muscles will optimize erectile rigidity and durability.

 

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

Co-creator of Private Gym pelvic floor muscle training program for menhttp://www.PrivateGym.com  

Nature’s Brilliant Design: Erection Hydraulics

December 6, 2014

Andrew Siegel, MD  12/6/14

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shutterstock_femalebluepelvic

Humans are hardwired for two basic functions: survival and reproduction. Nature’s forces have made the reproductive process a pleasurable one, and by so doing have ensured the greatest likelihood of reproduction being successful. What a clever bait and switch scheme in which in the seeming pursuit of a feel-good activity—determined by this evolutionary sleight of hand—we have been hoodwinked into reproducing!

The goal of reproduction is the fusion of DNA from two individuals to perpetuate the species. The penis functions as a “pistol” to inject the DNA into the female’s reproductive tract. A flaccid penis is unable to complete this task, as the process demands penetration.

Many mammals—including the gorilla and chimpanzee—have a bone in the penis (the baculum), which functions to keep the penis hard enough for vaginal penetration and injection of the DNA. (There is also a bone in the clitoris called the os clitoridis.) However, the human penis is boneless (as is the human clitoris). While we can debate whether or not this is a good thing, it certainly helps to keep the penis hidden during the workday!

Creating a “Bone” Where One Doesn’t Exist

So what did nature do to overcome this challenging design problem: how do you create bone-like rigidity in a boneless organ?

The answer lies in hydraulics—using blood as a hydraulic mechanism—not the typical use of blood, which is for the transportation of oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones, nutrients, and wastes to and from our organs. This use of blood as a hydraulic mechanism for erections—both penile erections in men and clitoral erections in women—is nothing short of brilliant…our bodies having evolved to use blood the way a tire uses air, to inflate deflated organs to allow them to function!

Another example of an animal that uses hydraulic action is the jumping spider, which uses blood forced into the legs to straighten them out to facilitate powerful jumps, avoiding the need for muscular legs that are bulky and clearly not spider-like.

Erection hydraulics requires a special means of regulating flow. To do so, the inflow needs to turn on like a gushing faucet and the outflow needs to shut off like a plugged drain in a sink. This is not the usual state of affairs for blood flow to an organ, which typically requires a relatively small amount of inflow to meet basic metabolic needs and an equal amount of outflow, creating a dynamic state of equilibrium. An erection demands that the arteries of the penis function as high-pressure faucets (inflow increasing many times over baseline) and the penile veins to close off completely.

So how has our body evolved this capacity?

The penis is a marvel of design and engineering, capable of increasing its blood flow by a factor of 40-50 times over baseline! This surge happens within seconds and is accomplished by relaxation of the smooth muscle within the arteries supplying the erection chambers and within the erectile sinuses of the erectile chambers. This is not the case of non-genital organs, in which blood flow can be increased upon demand (for example, to our muscles when exercising), but not anywhere to this extent.

Now for a little deviation off course for some interesting trivia:

  1. The spongy tissue in the erectile chambers is virtually identical to the spongy tissue in our facial sinuses. (My pathologist buddy claims that he can’t tell the difference under a microscope.)
  2. When this spongy tissue in the penis or clitoris becomes congested with blood, an erection occurs; when it happens in ours facial sinuses it is known as sinus congestion or a stuffed nose.
  3. The spongy tissue in the erectile chambers is surrounded by connective tissue known as the tunica albuginea, the second toughest connective tissue in our bodies, the toughest being the dura mater that surrounds our brains and spinal cords.
  4. A side effect of the ED meds like Viagra is nasal congestion…now you understand why.
  5. Prolonged erections (priapism) are often treated with the same medications used to treat a stuffed nose, e.g., phenylephrine.

The Important Role of the Pelvic Muscles

So, under the right circumstances the penis becomes swollen (tumescent) with blood. How has our body evolved the capacity to trap the blood so it does not return to the circulation? How does the penis go from swollen to rock-hard rigid?

First, as the sinuses within the erectile chambers fill with blood, they pinch off the veins, which traps blood in the penis. Second, nature—in its typical brilliant way—has designed a means of increasing the blood pressure in the erectile chambers to sky-high levels by means of a “muscular tourniquet” that not only chokes off the exit of blood, but with each squeeze of this specialized muscle, causes a surge of blood with increased filling of the erectile chambers, the end result being bone-like rigidity.

What are the names of these specialized muscles and what muscle group are they part of?

These are the ischiocavernosus and bulbocavernosus muscles (man’s best friends, but equally helpful to the ladies out there) that are part of the group of muscles known as the pelvic floor muscles, which form the floor of the important group of muscles known as the “core” muscles.

When a man has a rigid erection, contracting these muscles will lift up the erection and point it majestically towards the heavens, thank you pelvic floor muscles. You knew that your core muscles were important, but did you realize that the “boner” that you take for granted is based upon well-functioning core muscles?  Ditto for the firm clitoris in the female.

Maintaining & Strengthening Your Pelvic Muscles

So, take good care of your pelvic floor muscles and they will take care of you! Keep them fit, just as you do your other muscles. With aging and lack of physical activity the pelvic muscles become lax, so by increasing the strength, tone, power, and endurance of the pelvic muscles through exercise, you will optimize your erectile rigidity. Moreover, the pelvic muscles assist in delaying ejaculation. Weak pelvic floor muscles can impair the ability to delay ejaculation and voluntary contraction of the pelvic floor muscles can help control ejaculation. When flexed, the pelvic muscles assist in short-circuiting premature ejaculation. Learn more about how you can strengthen and maintain these critical muscles at www.privategym.com

Enough of my prose…time to finish with a poem I have written for the occasion:

The Muscles Of Love

Limber hip rotators,

A powerful cardio-core,

But forget not

The oft-neglected pelvic floor

 

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 as well as Private Gym website

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

6922

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

New Paradigm: Preventive Kegel Exercises (Pelvic Floor Muscle Training)

October 4, 2014

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

“To guard is better than to heal, the shield is nobler than the spear!”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Honor your pelvic floor–it has done a whole lot for you over the years.”

Restoration of the function of injured muscles is well established in the fields of sports medicine, orthopedics, plastic surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation. A traumatized or injured muscle is treated with early active rehabilitation and muscle training to accelerate tissue healing and restore it back to working order.

Dr. Arnold Kegel popularized the application of this principle to the female pelvic floor muscles to improve muscle integrity and function in women after childbirth. Obstetrical trauma (9 months of pregnancy, labor and delivery of a 9 lb. baby out the vagina) can cause pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause incontinence (urinary and bowel control issues), pelvic relaxation (laxity of the vagina and its support tissues with descent of the pelvic organs including the bladder, uterus and rectum) and altered sexual function.

Likewise, this principle has been effectively applied to men with compromised pelvic floor muscle integrity and function in order to improve urinary, bowel, erectile, and ejaculatory health. Obviously, men do not suffer with the acute pelvic floor muscle trauma of childbirth that women do, but they can develop pelvic floor muscle dysfunction on the basis of aging, weight gain, a sedentary lifestyle, disuse atrophy, etc.

Don’t Allow Function to Become Dysfunction

Why not take a radically different approach and try to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction instead of fixing it? If you pardon the clichés, although “a stitch in time saves nine,” isn’t a better approach “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?”. Obstacles to implementing this paradigm are our very reactive and repair-oriented medical culture that does a poor job of being proactive and promoting prevention and our patient population that often prefers fixing things that go awry as opposed to making the effort to prevent them from occurring in the first place. The concept of promoting wellness as opposed to treating diseases is one that resonates powerfully with me.

So, if obstetrical trauma to the pelvic floor often brings on pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and its urinary, gynecological and sexual consequences, why not start pelvic floor muscle training well before pregnancy? And if aging and other factors contribute to male pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and its urinary, bowel and sexual consequences, why wait for the system to malfunction? Why not bolster and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles when one is young, hale and hearty to prevent the age-related decline that is so often predictable? Many of us do apply preventive and proactive means to our health through regular exercise—aerobic for cardiovascular health and strength training to maintain muscle tone, integrity and function.

Whether male or female, the new paradigm is preventive pelvic health. The goal is to preclude, delay, or mitigate the decline in pelvic function that accompanies aging and that is accelerated by pelvic muscle trauma and injury, obesity and disuse atrophy.

Maintaining healthy sexual functioning is important because it contributes to masculine and feminine identity and behavior and has an impact that extends way beyond the sexual domain, permeating positively into many areas of life. Sexual dysfunction—at least to some extent—will eventually surface in most of us and the prospect of this is unsettling.

So, why passively accept the seemingly inevitable, when one can be proactive instead of reactive and can address the future problem before it becomes a current problem? Why wait until function becomes dysfunction? This is a commonly practiced approach for general physical fitness. We work out in the gym not only to achieve better fitness, but also to maintain fitness and prevent age-related losses in strength, flexibility, endurance, etc.

In this spirit, I encourage men and women who are enjoying excellent sexual and urinary health to maintain their pelvic health via preventive PFMT. This preemptive strategy is an opportunity for those who are healthy-functioning to continue enjoying their healthy functioning and prevent, delay and/or mitigate the age-related changes as best as they can.

Bottom Line: You have the ability to affect your own health destiny. Don’t be reactive and wait for your pelvic health to go south. Be proactive to ensure your continuing sexual, urinary and bowel health. If you wait for the onset of a dysfunction to motivate you to action, it may possibly be too late. Think about integrating a preventive PFMT program into your exercise regimen—it’s like a vaccine to prevent a disease that you hopefully will never get. As the saying goes: “Prepare and prevent, not repair and repent.”

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

Note: As Arnold Kegel popularized pelvic floor muscle exercises in females in the late 1940’s, so I am working towards the goal of popularizing pelvic floor muscle exercises in males. This year I published a review article in the Gold Journal of Urology entitled Pelvic Floor Muscle Training in Men: Practical Applications to disseminate the importance and applications of these exercises to my urology colleagues. I wrote Male Pelvic Fitness: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health, a book intended to educate the non-medical population. I, along with my partner David Mandell and our superb pelvic floor team, co-created the Private Gym male pelvic floor exercise DVD and resistance program.

For more info on the book: www.MalePelvicFitness.com

For more info on the Private Gym: www.PrivateGym.com

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