Headlines and articles encourage and give us plenty of helpful tips to make healthy lifestyle changes in the New Year. So when you are making your 2015 resolutions, whether it is eating healthier, losing weight, exercising more or in general taking better care of yourself, don’t forget about your bladder and pelvic floor. If you have not yet suffered from any urinary issues or your symptoms are so mild they are easy to overlook, this is not likely to be at the top of your list or on it at all.
So, as you promise to get in shape and take better care of yourself, remember to work on the muscles that are less talked about – your pelvic floor muscles. Exercises common in yoga and Pilates that focus on working and strengthening your core are actually benefiting your pelvic floor. This is important because the pelvic floor is responsible for keeping your balance when you sit down or stand up. It also supports and holds certain organs in place, plays a big role in keeping you from leaking urine during exercise, coughing or sneezing, and assists improved sexual response. Another simple exercise that strengthens the pelvic floor and helps with urinary incontinence is Kegels. I advise women of all ages to do their ‘Kegels’ daily – in the car, standing in line or sitting at a desk.
Other urinary symptoms women experience may be urinary frequency and or urgency. If you need to urinate more than eight times during the day or if you get up more than twice during the night you may have an overactive bladder. If you have to rush to the bathroom, this is called urgency; it may or may not be accompanied by urinary leakage. What about that change in your urine stream, not as strong as it used to be?
There are different causes for these symptoms; therefore there are various treatments. Each of these affects your quality of life and general outlook. I hear stories daily of how one’s life is affected because they are consumed with always knowing where the nearest bathroom is or what if there is a line and I may not make it in time.
If you find yourself identifying with any of the above, you should discuss your symptoms with a doctor who can refer you to an incontinence specialist. Some treatments will work after only one or two sessions, and all are usually covered by insurance.
Linda Adams, LVN, has dedicated her career to helping patients take control of their incontinence for the past 20 years. In addition to crafting individualized care for her patients, Linda also works to increase awareness and knowledge of continence through classes held at both Pacific Urology and in the greater community. She can be reached at (925) 937-7740.