This is the second blog on the very important topic of incontinence, or involuntary loss of bladder control (aka: peeing when you laugh or cough, ladies)! I’ve asked Dr Anna Cabeca to guest post today (and this is a follow up from part I last Tuesday!)
Guest post By Dr. Anna Cabeca
Peeing when you laugh or cough? So NOT anything to laugh about!
If you missed my earlier blog, which talks about the causes of urinary leakage as well as several tips to address the problem, please check that out here.
Do you want to buy heavy-duty liners or fix the leak?
There are so many new incontinence products available in the women’s sanitary products aisle these days, and they just keep coming. I’ve read estimates that 70% of women use period-specific products for incontinence purposes!
I know many women who routinely use daily liners for their “little laugh leaks” and have just dismissed the idea that they should be concerned. After all, it is just a little urine…right? And we just need to deal with it, right?
WRONG. Urine leakage is no laughing matter!
As I said earlier, besides being uncomfortable and embarrassing, urinary leakage is telling you that your muscles are weakening. Yes, that is natural as you age. But no, you shouldn’t ignore this and you can very much halt or reverse this weakening with a little focus.
Allowing your pelvic and vaginal musculature to weaken is like choosing to sit for the rest of your life! If you don’t walk you’ll eventually lose the muscles, nerve control and the ability to walk. If you allow your pelvic muscles to weaken, not only will you have bladder control issues, but something called pelvic prolapse can occur. Prolapse is when your bladder, uterus, rectum or urethra protrudes down into your vagina. This can result in a good deal of discomfort and embarrassment in the short-term and you eventually needing surgery in the long-term.
So let’s fix the leak instead!
Kegel exercises are quick and easy (but do them correctly!)
Kegel exercises strengthen the pubococcygeus muscle, increase healthy blood vessels and blood flow “down there” and can improve symptoms of incontinence (as well as improving arousal and orgasm, by the way!). They can also prevent or improve symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse.
Most importantly, fixing the leak will result in increased confidence and self-esteem…and enable you to enjoy the things you want to do without embarrassment or discomfort.
In my experience most women have weakened muscles after age 40. I routinely told my clients from pregnancy onward to regularly exercise their pelvic floor. So many of us exercise but have forgotten about these beautiful and oh so important muscles.
Your pelvic floor and vaginal musculature needs to be strong or you are likely to experience incontinence as well as pelvic prolapse issues (as organs fall downward)
A lot of women don’t do Kegels on a regular basis. And many women do Kegel exercises incorrectly! Do you? (and how do you know?)
To be sure ask your gynecologist during your annual exam! This is the type of discussion you should already be having with your doctor!
A self-test you can do is to try and stop your urine midstream when you are peeing.
If you can’t stop your urine stream, your pelvic floor muscles are likely not as strong as they should be. Note that this isn’t a test you should repeat too often (and definitely don’t do this as an exercise routine!) as it can work against your muscle control. Just do it to initially self-test yourself…and maybe repeat in a month if you implement Kegels. And then infrequently after that.
How to do Kegels correctly
Here’s how to do the perfect Kegel for the greatest benefit. In this short video you will learn:
- How to do pelvic/Kegel exercises correctly!
- How to test if you are doing them properly and…
- How often to do these exercises for the best results.
Remember, Kegels are just part of good vaginal and pelvic floor health
If you didn’t read my additional tips to address incontinence and vaginal health – beyond Kegel exercises – in Part I, please do.
I know many of you out there may have just “given up” on that trickle of pee and just buy panty-liners to deal with it. And I know that many of you also live with vaginal dryness, itching, discharge, lack of libido…and even pain. In fact, my research has found that only about 20% of us actually go to our doctor and proactively address these symptoms! The others? We just have learned to live with them.
So don’t be a part of that 80%!
Address these issues now. And please consider trying my new Julva® restorative cream for the vulva. Julva addresses so many of the issues women face as their hormones naturally decline, including vaginal dryness and discomfort (which can often be a problem for younger women, too). Check out the link for more information and to learn about Julva’s all-natural ingredients, including DHEA.
And after you do that, let’s all do a Kegel!
Dr. Anna Cabeca is an Emory University trained gynecologist and obstetrician, a menopause and sexual health expert and international speaker and educator. She created the top selling products Julva – an anti-aging feminine cream for women, MightyMaca® Plus – a superfood hormone balancing health drink, and online programs Magic Menopause, Women’s Restorative Health and SexualCPR.
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