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Strengthen your Pelvic Floor!

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Dr. Leslie M. Rickey

Women's Health / / July 20, 2016

  

     If women were asked to list the top 10 things that make them feel middle aged or even old, wetting their pants would be high up there.  Losing bladder control when dancing, exercising, or laughing is very common. In fact, one in three women will leak at some point in their lives.  The good news is that, for most women, urinary incontinence can be reduced or eliminated with exercises that strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

     The pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bladder and bowel. Getting these muscles in shape has many benefits:

  • Reducing or eliminating the urine leakage that can ruin every Zumba class, run, sneeze, cough or laugh
  • Improving sexual function; women with pelvic floor muscle strength report having stronger orgasms and more sexual satisfaction
  • Reducing symptoms from pelvic organ prolapse
  • Improving core strength and stability
  • Improving muscle control and confidence

 

Getting started is easy especially with new devices and apps available that eliminate the guesswork. Choosing the right device is very important, especially considering it is used internally.  I recommend home training apps and devices that have been FDA-reviewed and approved and have clinical support.  PeriCoach is a FDA-cleared device and smartphone app that is very easy to use and has been evaluated by OBGYNs, general practitioners and physical therapists.  The app prompts when to contract and rest the muscles that matter, provides instant feedback, tracks progress and provides reminders.

      As with all exercise, pelvic floor muscle training requires a commitment: just two minutes or three sets of ten reps per day. If you don’t see results after 6-8 weeks, or have any discomfort while doing the exercises, consult with a health care professional.

     If you need another reason to disrupt those regular bladder leaks, keep in mind that mild symptoms that women are often told are “no big deal” can increase with time, so one or two leaks a month can turn into weekly or daily leakage within a few years.

     Go ahead and restore your floor. There’s nothing to lose but the leak!

 

Categories: Health, Women's Health
About The Author
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Leslie M. Rickey, MPH, MD, Associate Professor of Urology and of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences; Fellowship Director, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Yale School of Medicine.

Dr. Leslie M. Rickey received her medical degree from Tulane University and completed her residency and fellowship training at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine.  She specializes in helping women suffering from problems related to the pelvic floor, including weaknesses of the muscles, ligaments and connective tissue that support healthy bladder, vaginal, and bowel function. Dr. Rickey treats patients with urinary incontinence (urine leakage), overactive bladder (urinary urgency and frequency), fecal incontinence (bowel leakage), pelvic organ prolapse (when a pelvic organ like the bladder or uterus drops, or “prolapses,” down and causes vaginal pressure or bulge symptoms), and genital-urinary tract fistulas (a connection between the vagina and the bladder that causes continuous urine leakage).

Dr. Rickey is also a member of the Analytica, LTD Clinical Advisory Board.

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