Friday, August 24, 2012

Urinary Fairy

So has anyone else seen these commercials for the Poise pads featuring Kirstie Alley? She appears in the bathroom at a party after a woman starts laughing and has an "oops!" moment. The Poise fairy talks about how 1 in 3 women have light bladder leakage or "LBL" and with all her fairy wisdom, gives you a solution to your problems....pads.     

Well, the truth is that "LBL" is a term that the marketing industry came up with that sounds better than the medical term for the same condition, which is....urinary incontinence. In this case, stress urinary incontinence. So call it what you will, LBL or SUI, these are the names for the condition where you are losing urine without meaning to during physical activity, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise.

While I agree with the Poise fairy that having the right pad can be important when you have urinary leakage, I want to let you in on a little secret...there is another more important fairy out there who you need to be talking to! The Urinary Fairy! 

Okay, so that may not be the technical term for a pelvic floor physical therapist, but potato, potato. A pelvic floor physical therapist can do the most magical thing of all! They can help you to get rid of the problem!
With SUI, the pelvic floor muscles, which support the bladder and urethra, are weak and not able to prevent urine from flowing when pressure is placed on the abdomen, like when you laugh or take a Zumba class or pick up your child. Risk factors for SUI include:
  • Being female
  • Childbirth
  • Getting older
  • Obesity
So what can a Urinary Fairy do for you? Physical therapy for this particular issue involves strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles by doing pelvic floor exercises. Some people have been told by their doctors that they need to do Kegels, which are pelvic floor exercises named after the doctor who came up with them. Some of my patients come in and say that they tried Kegels and they didn't work, but I compare that to someone telling you that you should go to the gym and exercise versus having a personal trainer. A pelvic floor physical therapist can examine you to determine if you are doing a pelvic floor muscle contraction correctly and if not, instruct you in how to do so. I like to tell my patients that I have Kegels on steroids...a whole arsenal of pelvic floor exercises to get your muscles in tip-top shape, to stop you from having those "oops!" moments. Patients typically see a significant decrease in their urinary leakage in 8 to 12 weeks. So wouldn't you rather talk to a Urinary Fairy and get rid of the pads once and for all?

P.S. Check out this video from my fellow urinary fairy about how to do a pelvic floor contraction properly!

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