Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Have A Secret

By Shawn Vuong

There are times when practitioners and patients get caught up in the world of pharmaceuticals.  It's human nature to want the 'pill' that solves it all.  Truth is that sometimes pills aren't always the right answer.

A good primary care doctor knows this.  The good family practice doctor knows when to just suggest that chicken noodle soup for the flu, the relaxation methods for insomnia, or the many many others.  In this post Dr. Holm talks about such a technique.  


By Richard P. Holm MD

I have a secret way to prevent loss of control of bowel and bladder, which costs nothing, is under-used, and works.  Let me explain.

The muscles between the pubic bone, in the front of the pelvis, and the tailbone, in the back, are called the pelvic floor muscles.
  They act like a hammock to keep all the organs of the abdomen from falling out.  These muscles also control the release of urine and feces, which most people prefer to do in a private place and in a sanitary way.  To accomplish such control, however requires the pelvic floor muscles to work well. 

Although this topic is almost verboten in proper public forums, if you think about it, anyone who eats and drinks also has to discharge waste products.  There is nothing secret about that.

In 1948 an OB-GYN doctor Arnold Kegel developed exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles in order to help fix urinary incontinence in women after childbirth.  Since then his ideas have spread.
  The exercises have also been recommended for helping with bowel and bladder control for men as well as women; for conditioning muscles to make birthing easier; for rehab following prostate surgery; even for improving sexual enjoyment in women and men.

All that considered, what has been repeatedly proven by scientific study is that men or women with urinary incontinence who actually do the exercises over more than a month experience significant improvement in their symptoms.  It works.
  I believe Kegel exercises must be considered as a solution for incontinence before contemplating drug or surgical solutions.

Kegel exercises are simple to do.  Find these pelvic muscles by starting and stopping the flow of urine without using your stomach, leg, or buttock muscles.   Simply tighten and relax the pelvic muscles about 200 times a day.  There are many variations and even devices to encourage the strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles, but the key to success is to simply do it.  To say it again, the benefits come with tightening the muscles 200 times a day, and making that a habit.

Kegels are something you can do quietly, while just sitting there, without anyone else knowing.  It’s a secret habit worth having.

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