7 Yoga Postures for Strengthening a Weak Pelvic Floor

Pregnancy is a common cause of a weak pelvic floor in women.  The weight of a growing baby combined with the stress of labor on the body can make it a challenge for the pelvic floor to fully recover. But there are ways to slowly strengthen your pelvic floor using gentle exercises like yoga. Check out these 7 yoga postures for a weak pelvic floor.

1. Savasana with Bent Legs

Savasana is corpse pose in yoga. It’s a state of constructive relaxation where you lie flat on your back with your ankles relaxed and open on your yoga mat.

But in this revised version, you’ll bend your legs placing both feet flat on the floor. Avoid forcing your feet to be flat and just relax into the pose.

Closing your eyes, focus on your breathing. Your hands are on your belly to feel the rise and fall with each breath.

Feeling your breathing takes your attention away from the distractions around you and into belly breathing. Belly breathing allows your diaphragm to create and release pressure from your midsection.

Each time this happens it engages your pelvic floor. Keep up this exercise for 5-10 minutes each day to help strengthen a weak pelvic floor.

2. Apasana

The next yoga pose for a weak pelvic floor is called Apasana. It helps to both strengthen your pelvic floor and core muscles at the same time using your breath.

To do Apasana, lie flat on your back with your arms stretched above your head and legs relaxed. Take a deep breath, and bring your knees into your chest and wrap your arms around your shins.

On the exhale, stretch your arms above your head and legs out straight on the floor. Move slowly on each inhalation and exhalation.

This yoga stretch takes the pressure off your lower back which has been associated with a weak pelvic floor.

3. Reclined Bound Angle

To do the reclined bound angle pose, lie down with your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees relaxed.

Allow your knees to fall flat to each side, or as far as each knee will go. Let your arms relax by your sides with palms facing upward.

Hold this pose for one-minute breathing deeply. This pose uses your inner thighs to stabilize your pelvic floor.

4. Legs Up Wall

Lie in front of a wall until your heels resting on the wall. Make sure you leave only a little space between your tailbone and the wall keeping your legs straight.

Relax your arms at your sides with palms facing up. Breathe deeply for one minute taking the pressure off your diaphragm.

In this pose, you also take the pressure off your weak pelvic floor.

5. Cat-Cow

Position yourself on your hands and knees. Gently arch your and inhale into cat pose. Your pelvis should be tilted forward with your hands directly underneath your shoulder.

On the exhale, drop your tailbone and belly into a downward arch for cow pose. Look toward the ceiling to deepen the stretch in your spine.

Start each movement on the inhale and exhale from the pelvis.

6. Child’s Pose

Kneel at one end of your yoga mat with knees shoulder-width apart. Both your big toes should touch creating a v-shape with your legs.

Slowly walk your hands forward until your forward touches the mat. Extend your arms over your head pressing each palm into the mat.

Draw your hips toward your heels. Breathe deeply for one minute with your eyes closed. Your lower back will open up with this pose stretching out your pelvic floor along the way.

7. Wide-Legged Forward Fold

Stand horizontal on your yoga mat. Straddle your legs wide then slowly bend at the waist keeping your back long to avoid injury.

Keep bending until you the top of your head is pointed towards the mat opening up your groin area. This stretch is a great option for weak pelvic floors because it takes away built-up tension.

The fold may be too intense for some when starting out. Feel free to use a block or stack of blankets to make the stretch easier for you. Another option is to bend at the knees to take some of the pressure off your hamstrings.

Weak Pelvic Floor Symptoms

Your pelvic floor muscles surround your bladder and rectum. When these muscles get too weak, it can make it difficult to avoid a sneeze or cough without a ‘leak.’ You might also find it harder to control bowel movements.

One of the most common signs of a weak pelvic floor is urinary incontinence. Men often experience symptoms of a weak pelvic floor following prostate surgery.

Fecal or urinary incontinence is possible to treat with pelvic muscle training exercises. You won’t see results overnight but if you can learn to identify which muscles need training you’ll experience better results.

Is Yoga the Best Option for a Weak Pelvic Floor?

A weak pelvic floor may be treated in a variety of ways. Don’t expect only one method to be the perfect solution to strengthen your pelvic floor.

While on vacation, yoga might be the ideal solution while Kegels can serve you best during hectic work weeks. Give yourself time each day to practice poses or muscle training exercises.

Just a few minutes each day is enough to help transform your pelvic floor so you can eliminate or reduce the symptoms associated with having a weak pelvic floor. For more information or to schedule a visit, contact us today.

5 Most Common Causes and Treatments of Bladder Pain in Women

Many people suffer from bladder pain without knowing the direct cause.

Bladder pain might be embarrassing, and some women choose not to seek treatment. Unfortunately, bladder pain can be a symptom of some harmful conditions. If treatment isn’t sought and administered, the situation could become serious.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an irritated bladder with no obvious cause, you’re taking a good first step by researching.

Keep reading to learn about several common causes of bladder pain and how they can be treated.

Cystitis

Cystitis is simply an irritation caused by inflammation in the bladder. Cystitis has several different causes, but it is often caused by an untreated urinary tract infection (or UTI).

It can also be caused by certain medications, poor hygiene, radiation, and even irritating products (like soaps).

It occurs primarily in women, though there are men who get it as well.

When someone has cystitis, they’ll likely feel an increased urge to urinate, pain in the bladder, increased bladder fullness without relief, and they may find blood in their urine.

Cystitis can be acute (or arriving suddenly) or interstitial (or long-term).

There are several ways that a doctor may diagnose cystitis.

They may use imaging, or they may use a cystoscopy. During the cystoscopy, they will take a small camera into your bladder and potentially collect material to biopsy.

How is it Treated?

If your cystitis requires medical attention, you may be taken in for surgery. Most of the time, though, this isn’t the case.

Antibiotics are the standard treatment for bacterial cystitis.

You can also manage mild cystitis at home through over-the-counter painkillers, clean and breathable clothing, increased water intake, and rest.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTIs are the most common cause of bladder pain, and they’re incredibly common for women.

These are always caused by bacteria, and anyone who is sexually active should take care to avoid them.

Unhygienic clothing, sexual intercourse, poor hygiene, and anything else that can push bacteria into the urethra are all causes of urinary tract infections. They are not contagious and you can not spread them to sexual partners (though they are incredibly uncomfortable).

Up to 50% of women will get at least one UTI in their lifetime, and the risk of future infection increases with each one.

How is it Treated?

UTIs, when they need a doctor’s intervention, are treated with antibiotics.

Drinking a lot of water to help flush bacteria out is also important.

Some people suggest the use of cranberry juice as a UTI treatment, but most information on that is anecdotal. If you’d like to try treating your UTI at home, drinking plenty of no-sugar-added cranberry juice is an option.

Left untreated, though, a UTI can lead to a more serious infection. It’s best to see a doctor.

Pudendal Neuropathy

This is an uncommon condition, but also really not well known.

It happens when the pudendal nerve (in the pelvis) is compressed. This can happen when there’s direct injury to the pelvic area, when one partakes in extreme sports, and it can happen after giving birth.

It’s incredibly uncommon in comparison to the other conditions listed, with chances of getting it being around 1/100,000.

It’s difficult to diagnose, though one sign of pudendal neuropathy is a lack of pain when trying to sleep and increased pain while sitting.

How is it Treated?

As it’s incredibly uncommon, the best treatment isn’t yet found.

That said, it can be treated surgically. It can also be handled with nerve blockers or neuromodulation (or sending electricity right to the nerves in question).

This requires medical intervention to ease the discomfort.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are an unfortunate cause of bladder pain. They are incredibly common but also very painful.

They have several potential causes, including diet, obesity, and certain medications and dietary supplements. Essentially, the more substances in your body that can solidify into crystals (such as calcium), the more likely you will get kidney stones. Some kidney stones are also genetic.

Drinking plenty of water is one way to help avoid kidney stones forming, but there are still plenty of risk factors that make them possible.

Aside from bladder pain, other symptoms of kidney stones are sharp pains in the back and sides, nausea, and blood in the urine.

Kidney stones can be diagnosed through an ultrasound or blood and urine tests.

How Are They Treated?

Sometimes kidney stones can pass on their own. Drinking plenty of water and taking over-the-counter painkillers can help the process along.

Unfortunately, many do require medical care.

There are various surgical options for kidney stones that are too big to pass. Your doctor may also choose to use sound waves to break up the stones, or a scope to remove them. You will be sedated for all of these, as they can be uncomfortable.

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is another cause of bladder pain.

Bladder cancer is usually caught early, making it an incredibly treatable form of cancer. Pain while urinating and blood in the urine are symptoms of cancer and several other conditions, so if you experience these long-term, it’s crucial that you see a doctor.

Smoking, radiation, and certain parasitic infections can call cause bladder cancer, but it can also occur without any obvious trigger.

For diagnosis, a doctor may take a biopsy or a urine sample depending on their suspicions. There may also be some ultrasound imaging.

How is it Treated?

As in all other cancers, chemotherapy is an option. Surgery can also be performed to remove the offending tissue.

There are other medical therapies available, like radiation therapy and immunotherapy.

This will all depend on how far the cancer has progressed.

Bladder Pain Shouldn’t Be Ignored

If you’re suffering from bladder pain, it’s possible that you have a serious condition that requires medical intervention. Bladder pain is uncomfortable, but seeing a doctor if it persists might save you more pain down the line.

If you’re suffering from bladder irritation and you’d like to seek medical help, visit our site to contact us and make an appointment.

What Is Stress Urinary Incontinence and How Can You Treat It?

Are you afraid of experiencing an embarrassing leak each time you sneeze, cough, or even laugh? This condition, known as stress bladder incontinence, is very common, but there are plenty of treatment options that can allow those who suffer from it to live a normal life.

What is stress urinary incontinence, and how is it treated? Read on to learn more!

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI): The Basics

Let’s start with the basics—what is stress incontinence? This condition occurs in both men and women but is more common in females. It causes an involuntary loss of urine when the bladder is stressed due to physical activity. It affects close to 8 million women in the United States alone.

This condition is typically related to physical changes including:

  • Childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Estrogen deficiency
  • Pelvic or gynecological surgery
  • Obesity
  • Chronic constipation

Each of these issues can lead to SSI due to the way they damage or weaken the pelvic muscles that support the urethra and bladder. Luckily, up to 80% of female pressure incontinence is treatable.

Treatment Options

There are several different options when it comes to treatment for incontinence in women. They range from simple exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to minimally invasive treatments and even surgery. Here’s a look at the most common options.

Pelvic Exercises

Many women hesitate to seek treatment until they experience an embarrassing situation in public. One of the reasons is that they fear undergoing intense treatment.

The good news is, you can start your own treatment plan at home to strengthen your pelvic muscles. Kegel exercises are easy to perform and are very effective.

Other exercises, like squats and bridges, can also engage your pelvic muscles and may help improve incontinence.

Behavioral Techniques

Bladder training is one successful behavioral technique that’s easy to practice at home. You can do this by trying to wait at least 10 minutes after you feel the urge to urinate. Keep practicing this until you’re able to wait at least 2.5 to 3.5 hours between trips to the bathroom.

You can also try double-voiding, which involves urinating, waiting a few minutes, and then attempting to urinate again. Another method is going to the bathroom every two to four hours regardless of whether you have the urge or not.  

Hormone Treatment

As estrogen levels decline, the urethra and vaginal tissue gets thinner. Hormone creams can help regulate hormone levels and thicken these tissues back to a healthy state. This reduces the chances that you’ll experience leakage.

Botox Injections

When incontinence is associated with an overactive bladder, botulinum toxin type A (Botox) injected into the bladder muscle may help. This is usually only prescribed if other medications have not been successful.

Bulking Material Injections

This treatment involves injecting a synthetic material into the tissue around the urethra. This helps to keep the urethra closed so that urine can’t easily leak out. Although it’s less invasive than many of the other options, it also tends to be less effective.

Patients who elect to try this instead of surgery should prepare themselves to undergo this treatment multiple times.

Electrical Stimulation

Electrical stimulation is another effective and minimally invasive treatment option. It involves sending a mild electric current through the body and into the nerves in the pelvic muscles and lower back.

Generally, women have found that a 15-minute session twice a day for 12 weeks can help relieve their stress incontinence symptoms. This treatment can be done at home using a vaginal or anal electrode.

For severe incontinence or an overactive bladder that hasn’t responded to other treatment methods, doctors may recommend doing this treatment by placing electrodes under the skin in the low back or leg.

Medical Devices

Some women respond well to medical devices. A urethral insert is a small device that resembles a tampon. It’s inserted in the urethra to prevent leakage during specific activities (like playing tennis) and removed before you urinate.

Another option is a pessary, which is a stiff ring that’s inserted in the vagina and worn all day. This is most effective when incontinence is caused by a prolapse. It helps to prevent urinary leakage by holding up the bladder.

Surgical Options

There was a time when surgery as a treatment for incontinence was very invasive, painful, and required a long recovery time. However, new surgical treatments have developed in recent years that make surgery much less of a big deal.

Sling procedures use a mesh or other synthetic material to create a “sling” around your bladder neck and urethra. This helps relieve stress incontinence by keeping the urethra closed, particularly when you sneeze or cough.

One of the newest sling procedures uses a device called Gynecare TVT. It creates a “tension-free” solution that’s less likely to result in over-correcting. It’s inserted through an outpatient procedure that only takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Bladder neck suspension also supports the bladder neck and urethra. It’s done under general or spinal anesthesia suing an incision in your abdomen.

What Is Stress Urinary Incontinence? Now You Know!  

Now that you know the answer to the question “What is stress urinary incontinence?” you understand that it’s a treatable condition and nothing to be embarrassed about.

Learn more about what to expect during your first medical visit, then contact us to schedule an appointment. Don’t live with this condition any longer, we’re here to help!

What Is Urogynecology? 7 Fast Facts

Have you experienced that terrible feeling when you break or laughing or move suddenly? The feeling of a little bit of pee coming out or the feeling like you might wet yourself?

This urinary incontinence is uncomfortable and embarrassing and probably not something you want to openly discuss. You might even feel embarrassed to bring it up with your doctor. 

You should know that this problem and many similar conditions happen for many women and there is a branch of medicine dedicated to helping it.

Read on to learn all about urogynecology and how this specialized doctor could help you.

1. What Is Urogynecology?

Urogynecology is a specialized field of medicine for females. It focuses on the unique combination of urology and gynecology. Urogynecology addresses female pelvic medicine. 

This specialized medicine also addresses reconstructive surgery of the pelvic region.

2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?

A urogynecologist is a doctor who specializes in the care of women who suffer from pelvic floor disorders. Typically, a urogynecologist has gone to medical school and done a residency in the study of gynecology or urology

For most urogynecologist, they then go on for additional training in pelvic floor disorders. The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

The urogynecologist will work with women to address their pelvic floor issues through evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and management.

3. What Symptoms Might a Woman Experience Who Needs to See a Urogynecologist?

Often the symptoms a woman experiences with pelvic floor disorders make them uncomfortable, even more so to bring up with their doctor. In this case, it makes sense to see someone who specializes in these female issues and is specially trained to help with them. 

Symptoms may start subtly and then get worse over time. Symptoms women might experience include:

  • Difficulty urinating or emptying the bladder completely
  • Urine leaking whenever you exercise, laugh, or cough
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Bulge in the vaginal wall
  • Pulling or aching in the vagina

Often these symptoms will feel worse at the end of the day or after having a bowel movement too. 

Women who are experiencing vaginal dryness, hormonal imbalance, or a decreased sensation with intercourse might also benefit from seeing a urogynecologist. 

4. What Is a Pelvic Floor Disorder?

The pelvic floor in women is the area of the body that supports the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. It is supported by the muscles., connective tissues, ligaments, and nerves in the area. These muscles and tissues help these body parts function and do their respective jobs in the body.

These supports are often referred to as the sling or hammock holding these body parts in place. When these supports become damaged or weakened, it impacts the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum from properly functioning. This is the essence of pelvic floor disorder. 

The most common of pelvic floor disorders are fecal incontinence, urinary incontinence, or pelvic organ prolapse.

5. What Is a Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

Pelvic organ prolapse is one of the three common pelvic floor disorders treated by a urogynecologist.

When there is a pelvic organ prolapse, those same muscles and ligaments that make up the hammock or sling, weaken and the organs (bladder, uterus, and bowel) drop down into the vagina. This often causes what appears to be a bulge in the vaginal wall or vaginal canal.

There are several different types of pelvic organ prolapse. The types include:

  • Uterine prolapse where the uterus drops down to the vaginal canal
  • Cystocele where the front of the vaginal canal starts to sag and the bladder drops down
  • Rectocele or enterocele happens when the back of the vaginal canal pushes forward allowing the rectum or intestines to bulge into the vagina

Another common prolapse can happen after a woman has a hysterectomy. The hysterectomy causes those vaginal walls to start to sag.

6. What Causes a Prolapse to Happen?

There are a variety of reasons that can cause one of the forms of pelvic prolapse to happen. 

If a person delivers a baby vaginally, they can experience prolapse problems. C-section births can also cause a prolapse. A woman who has multiple births is also at higher risk for this condition.

Genetics and smoking can all contribute to the issue too. If a woman has chronic issues with constipation or a chronic cough, these are also potentially problematic.

One of the biggest contributing factors is age. It is not uncommon for women past childbearing years to be at higher risk for tears or weakening of the pelvic floor. 

7. What Treatment Options Are Available for Problems With the Pelvic Floor?

There are a variety of treatment options available from your urogynecologist. These include both surgical and non-surgical options.

One popular treatment that you can do at home is Kegel exercises that will work to strengthen the pelvic walls. If those are not enough then the urogynecologist might opt to refer you to a physical therapist who also specializes in helping build strength and muscle in the pelvic floor. 

Medication is another option. One popular choice is Botox injections which do more than just help with wrinkles. 

Another non-surgical option your doctor might try is to be fitted with a vaginal pessary. This is a plastic device you wear to help treat prolapse and address and improve bladder control.

Urogynecologists also will perform surgery if the less invasive options are not working. Through surgery, they can rebuild the supports on the pelvic floor. They can also go in and do repairs on tears in the pelvic wall. They can also repair damages sphincter or anal muscles to help put less pressure on the pelvic floor. 

Understanding Urogynecology

 If you are a woman struggling with any of these issues, consider seeing a doctor who specializes in urogynecology. Because this is the area of specialty they are well-equipped with both surgical and non-surgical treatments to help you with the problems you are facing. 

Dr. Lotze and his staff are trained to evaluate your condition and help to create the best possible treatment plan available. Contact us today to set up an appointment. You don’t need to worry about these problems alone.

What You Can Do If Your Vagina Feels Numb During Sex (Plus, Why That Might Be Happening)

Up to 90% of women orgasm from one form of sexual stimulation or another.

For women with vulvar numbness, though, the very notion of orgasming can seem like a pipe dream.

Instead of the typical sense of arousal and stimulation, their vagina feels numb during sex. It’s as if they’ve been administered a local anesthetic, and it’s surprisingly common.

Needless to say, a numb vagina can be a cause of deep concern, anxiety, and frustration. After all, everybody wants to experience the joy of sexual pleasure. To feel zero sensation in your vagina can be deeply unsettling.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be permanent.

With the right insight and approach, you can regain sensation and start enjoying sexual intercourse once again. Are you looking for explanations and solutions to the numbness in your vagina?

Let us help.

Read on to learn the causes and possible treatments for a numb vagina during intercourse.

Possible Causes of Vaginal Numbness

Understanding the issue is an important first step to overcoming it.

Let’s start by going through three potential causes of vulvar numbness. From there, we’ll move onto a selection of ideas to help restore sensation in your vagina.

1. Physical Health Issues

The cause of your numbness might be physiological in nature.

Everything from a hormonal imbalance and the menopause to stress and obesity can play a part. Likewise, the abuse of drugs and alcohol can also be a factor.

You might find this strangely reassuring. After all, it means you can resolve the numbness by treating the underlying physical issues. In effect, you kill two birds with one stone.

2. Trauma

Vaginal numbness may also be the result of historic sexual trauma.

Some women might have engaged in sexual intercourse before they felt ready. Others might have suffered a sexual assault. Regardless of the specific trauma involved, the outcomes can be similar:

Something akin to post-traumatic stress manifests itself in feelings of physical numbness. Perhaps you associated the act of penetration with fear, stress, and discomfort. Sexual intercourse, and the pleasure it promises, becomes linked with pain instead.

Traumatic sexual encounters understandably cause the vagina to tense-up during penetration. If the same tension builds in future sexual encounters, then that can eventually lead to the total loss of sensation.

3. Over-stimulation

In some cases, vaginal numbness is simply to do with overuse.

Indeed, it isn’t uncommon to experience a loss of feeling if you’ve engaged in excessive masturbation- especially when a vibrator is the go-to source of clitoral stimulation.

In these cases, taking a break for a few days should resolve the issue.

Potential Steps to Overcome a Numb Vagina

Let’s turn to 5 steps you could take to regain sensation in your vagina.

1. Go to the Doctor

One of the first steps you should consider is visiting your ob-gyn.

Remember, there might be underlying physical health issues causing the problem. A visit to the doctor can help you discover (or, indeed, rule out) any physiological factors in play and work out solutions to them.

They might prescribe medication that facilitates sexual pleasure or recommend dietary and lifestyle changes that could make a difference. The might also be able to signpost you to alternative options for support.

2. Consider Therapy

Could the numbness in your vagina be the result of trauma?

If so, then accessing counseling or therapy services might hold the solution.

A mental health professional will work with you to identify and understand the trauma you experienced. In a safe and confidential space, you’ll be able to explore the events and your reaction to them. From there, the therapist may offer specific tools and techniques to help you overcome the issue.

3. Map Your Vagina

The numbness in your vagina may not be absolute.

In other words, you might still have feeling in certain places. By ‘mapping’ your vagina, you’re trying to find out which areas have sensation and which don’t.

Of course, there’s a chance that you’ll have no feeling whatsoever. But you don’t know until you try!  Alone, or with your partner for help, use your fingers (or a sex toy) to explore each point of your vagina.

This helps in two ways. Firstly, you’ll build up a more realistic understanding of your sexual experience. In the mapping process, though, you’ll also stimulate the nerves in your vagina. That in itself may facilitate a reduction in numbness.

4. Patience and Practice

Exercising patience and self-compassion is vital as well.

After all, having no feeling during sex can be deeply distressing. It’s challenging, unfair, and exasperating. Yet trying to force the issue won’t help. You’re more likely to lose hope, feel even tenser during sex, and give up.

Having patience with yourself and the healing process will allow you to relax.

You’ll feel less pressure to perform, which is inevitably more enjoyable. As you rediscover the enjoyment of being intimate with someone, you might even find that whatever barriers to sensation were in place begin to lift.

5. Find a Caring Partner

Your partner has a role to play here as well.

The last thing you need is to be with someone who’s selfish, impatient, and uncaring. That’ll only exacerbate any feelings you have of shame and negativity.

Try to find a partner who’s caring, considerate, and understanding instead.

It becomes a team effort whenever the person you’re intimate with is compassionate and willing to explore the issue. There’s less pressure on your shoulders. You feel validated, supported, and empowered to find a solution.

What to Do When Your Vagina Feels Numb

Countless women struggle with vagina numbness during sexual intercourse.

It’s disconcerting, frustrating, and, frankly, unfair. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to overcome the issue and restore sensation during sex.

Hopefully, this post has provided useful insight into why your vagina feels numb and what you can do about it.

Are you interested in seeing a medical professional for help restoring sensation? Contact us today to see how we can help.

What Is “Frequent” Urination?: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re wondering about your urine health, you’re not alone. Your urine says a lot about your health; the color it is, the way it smells, and even the way you feel while urinating.

Did you know that 1 out of 2 women suffers from urinary incontinence? Even though urination problems are common, they can be difficult to identify.

For example, you could be peeing too much and not even realize it. While the constant sensation to pee is annoying, it can signal a potential problem.

Do you suspect you have frequent urination? Should you call your doctor? Continue reading and know everything about urinary urgency.

How Often Should You Pee?

The average person urinates between four and 10 times a day. But it’s also normal to pee less than this and even more. Different factors affect your urination frequency. What causes urinary frequency? A few examples include:

  • How often you drink water
  • Your age
  • What you drink
  • Bladder size
  • Any medications

Some conditions may also cause you to urinate more than average. We will details these conditions below.

Tips to Keep a Healthy Urinary Tract

There are simple things you can do daily to keep a healthy urinary tract. If you experience frequent urination, try taking these measures to see if your symptoms subside.

Clean the glands around the urethra daily. Use a gentle and unscented soap.

  • Eat foods rich in probiotics
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Drink about 10 cups of water a day
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners, which can irritate the bladder
  • Avoid soda, alcohol, and caffeine

There are many myths surrounding urinary problems. For example, women are taught to wipe a certain direction after urinating and avoid hot tubs to prevent urinary infections and other problems. These aren’t proven to cause or prevent urinary infections.

When Frequent Urination Is Normal

We urinate to expel excess liquids. If you occasionally urinate more than normal, it’s likely nothing to worry about. Here are times when you may pee more than often.

Pregnancy and Birth

In women, the bodily changes you experience when pregnant also impact your ability to urinate. The fetus puts more pressure on the bladder, causing frequent urination.

Many women also report urinary frequency and urgency changes in the weeks after giving birth. This could be for many reasons, but likely due to your body expelling extra fluids from your body.

Urinary Tract Infection

A UTI is an infection in the lower part of your urinary system, usually in the bladder and the urethra. If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), you may feel the sensation to urinate. You may even have difficulty urinating, even though you feel the urge.

Some other common side effects include pain while urinating, pelvic pain, and even blood in the urine.

UTIs are common but affect more women than men. Most UTIs are harmless and usually go away with simple antibiotics. In serious cases, the infection will travel to the kidneys.

Drinking Lots of Liquids

If you drink water throughout the day, you probably noticed you pee frequently. Don’t worry — that’s completely normal and even healthy.

When your frequent urinating is due to water consumption, your pee will be clear and odorless. This means you’re hydrated.

Other liquids have diuretic effects, meaning they cause you to urinate often. Common liquids in this category include alcohol and caffeine. Frequent urination when consuming these liquids isn’t a cause for concern, but you should still be careful when consuming diuretics.

If you recently received a CT scan or another scan where ink is injected into the body, you may urinate frequently to expel the dye from out of your body.

Diuretic Medication

Diuretics are also a type of medication that people take for various conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and poor kidney function.

These medications pull fluid out of the bloodstream and move it into the kidneys. This is why frequent urination is a common side effect of these medications.

When Frequent Urination Becomes a Problem

Peeing more often isn’t always a cause for alarm. But frequent urination may be a symptom of a serious ailment. Here are a few examples.

Hypocalcemia

Hypocalcemia is often referred to as Hypo. This occurs when calcium levels in the body are unbalanced. Urination changes are a common side effect of this condition, whether calcium levels are too high or too low.

Diabetes

Extra sugar in your bloodstream causes frequent urination. This is why unexplained frequent urination is a common way to gauge if you have diabetes.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Frequent urination is a common side effect of sickle cell anemia. This condition affects kidney function as well as the concentration of urine.

Common Treatments for Frequent Urination

Depending on the cause of your frequent urination, your UroGYN may recommend different treatment methods. If your overactive bladder has no underlying or serious causes, your doctor may recommend different medications, pelvic floor exercises, and even nerve stimulation to decrease the urgency.

If your frequent urination is caused by a UTI, you’ll be prescribed medication to treat the infection. When the infection goes away, you’ll urinate normally.

Some conditions don’t require any treatment. For example, if you’re pregnant, your doctor may just advise that you monitor your urine for any further changes.

If your frequent urination is caused by an underlying condition, your doctor may focus on the condition more. Let’s take diabetes as an example. Oftentimes, when your blood sugar is properly managed, it may decrease your need to urinate.

What if you’re on diuretics and you’re experiencing frequent urination? Inform your doctor. They may change your dose to regulate your urination frequency.

When to See a Doctor

As stated previously, most causes of frequent urination aren’t serious. But there are times when you should see your doctor. More serious side effects to look for include:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Fever and back pain
  • Discolored urine
  • White and cloudy urine
  • Strong and abnormal smell

You should also see your doctor if your frequent urination is interfering with your daily life or if you urinate but aren’t emptying out your bladder.

Do You Need to Treat Your Frequent Urination?

Are you suffering from frequent urination and need Urogynecology services? We’re based in Houston, Texas. Contact us to make an appointment.

Pelvic Floor Disorder: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

You’ll go through many different health situations in your life that aren’t taught in your everyday health class.

Many people suffer from dysfunctions and disorders without ever knowing it. They go through their daily lives with complications that they don’t realize is an actual health issue.

Such is the way with people that suffer from pelvic floor disorder. They struggle to have bowel movements or are constantly needing to urinate but don’t realize that it isn’t normal.

If you’ve seen the signs of having weak pelvic floor muscles, it’s time to find different ways to strengthen them. See below for different things you can consider.

1. Kegels Exercise

Kegels is the term for when you’re purposely training your pelvic muscles to improve their strength and function.

There are several signs that you can benefit from Kegels, such as leaking a bit of urine after you cough or sneeze. If so, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t have to go through life dealing with it after improving your pelvic floor muscles.

Before you perform Kegels, you’ll need a bit of homework. The next time you’re urinating, stop in the middle of urination so that you can see which muscles you’re using.

After knowing that, Kegels is as easy as contracting the pelvic floor muscles for 4 seconds, then releasing them for 4 seconds before going again.

You will want to do these exercises in the form of 10 repetitions, and perform them 3 times a day (spread out).

To get a better idea of your pelvic floor and how to improve it, reach out to a trusted urogynecologist for advice.

2. Drink More Water

It’s highly unlikely that you’re drinking enough water to keep yourself hydrated. That’s more of a task than most people are led to believe.

Modern science shows that you should be drinking a half a gallon of water each day in order to stay hydrated. However, if you’re working out or have a strenuous job, you need to be taking much more of that. 

Some experts advise that you drink a gallon of water a day in order to prioritize drinking even when you’re not thirsty. That is a challenge for most people.

There are people reading this that are probably thinking “won’t drinking more water complicate my symptoms?”. No, just the opposite.

If you aren’t drinking enough water then you have a high amount of concentrated urine sitting in your bladder. That means solutions such as sodium, chloride, and potassium will be in high amounts and will irritate your bladder.

3. Squats

Squats are an instrumental piece to your exercise routine. The term “don’t skip leg day” exists for a reason. To not perform them is cutting your body of an all-encompassing exercise.

More importantly, it’s one of the “big three lifts” because it’s that important to building muscle strength.

Not only will squats improve the strength and function of your pelvic floor, but it will also do the same for the surrounding muscles, giving it more support.

Try to perform body squats with a barbell and add weight as necessary. Even if you can’t lift more weight than the bar itself, you’ll still get a good amount of resistance.

Perform 3 sets of these with 15 repetitions each time. Make sure that you keep your back straight and your chin tucked.

4. Alter Your Diet

While the pelvic floor disorder is an occurrence that your body is undergoing, there are items in your daily diet that are probably worsening your condition.

Things such as alcohol, caffeine, and sodas are known to provide a heavy spike in the amount of acidity in your urine. You might also have chocolate or hot (spicy) food that is the main antagonizer of your condition.

Try to incorporate more greens into your diet each day. Things such as beans, spinach, cabbage, romaine lettuce, kale, and collard greens should do the trick.

Of course, because you’re not a rabbit, you might want to make your diet additions a bit more exciting and tasty than leafy greens. If so, try adding more fruits and mixing in more rice to your diet.

The main goal is to intake more fiber than you were previously. Fiber helps with digestion and will provide a healthier solution of urine that’s waiting to be relieved of in your bladder.

5. Bridges

Last on this list is an exercise that is often overlooked in modern workout plans. Glute bridges are exceptional for strengthening your hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and (you guessed it!), your pelvic floor.

You can perform these without any weight and still get the benefit of a strenuous workout that will strengthen your muscles.

The main key here is to focus on lowering your hips slowly on the way down for more resistance. Concentrate on your breathing and squeeze your glutes at the top of the exercise motion. That will help every muscle to engage.

Perform 3 sets of this during your workout routine and knock out 15 repetitions for each set. 

Solve Your Pelvic Floor Disorder With the Help of an Expert!

Now that you’ve seen all the different ways you can start to strengthen and improve your pelvic floor disorder, it’s time to integrate those into your routine.

More importantly, seek out the help you need from a professional urogynecologist who can improve and solve your pelvic health issues.

Be sure to visit this page of frequently asked questions for more information on the process and what to expect.

For more information, please reach out via our contact us page and we’ll be happy to assist you further.

 

Sudden Onset Urinary Incontinence: Causes and Treatment

Let’s face it, urinary incontinence is embarrassing to talk about. Knowing that every time you laugh, cough, sneeze, or exercise could cause you to start leaking urine before you reach the bathroom is something no one wants to face.

First off, know that you are not alone. Sudden onset urinary incontinence affects nearly one-third of the entire US population.

This common condition can be treated, but you need to take those first, hard steps and speak to your doctor. The sooner you do, the better chance you have in a successful treatment.

The problem is, how do you know what caused this sudden incontinence? Knowing what caused it will help both you and your doctor find the appropriate treatment for it.

Thankfully, we have detailed information on how you can discover what caused your sudden onset urinary incontinence, and information on what types of treatment are available.

Keep on reading to learn more.

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is when your bladder contracts when it shouldn’t. This results in a sudden urge to urinate, and unfortunately, urine begins to leak out of the urethral sphincter, which are the muscles responsible for keeping your bladder shut.

In worst cases, you can have complete loss over the control of your bladder, causing you to need to wear disposable incontinence briefs.

It is important to recognize that sudden onset urinary incontinence is not a disease, it is a condition that is caused by underlying medical issues, lifestyle, or other physical problems.

The Different Types of Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is an umbrella term for numerous different symptoms of leaking urine. The main types are:

  • Urge incontinence
  • Overactive bladder
  • Irritable bladder
  • Detrusor instability
  • Spasmodic bladder
  • Bladder spasms

These symptoms can range from a small dribble whenever you sneeze, to full emptying of the bladder without control.

Unfortunately, women are at a higher risk of developing urinary incontinence due to pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

There are many different causes of urinary incontinence. It is important to check within yourself to see what could be the cause because this will help the doctor assess which form of treatment is best.

There are both medical reasons and lifestyle reasons that can lead to sudden onset urinary incontinence.

Medical Reasons

Potential medical causes of urinary incontinence include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder infection
  • Bladder stones
  • Obstruction in the opening of the bladder/sphincter
  • Bladder inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Constipation
  • Nervous system diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease
  • Trauma to the spinal cord, leading to paralysis of the bladder
  • Stroke

It is important to consult with a doctor immediately if your incontinence is in combination with pain or a burning sensation while you urinate, pain in the pelvic region, or interference with your daily activities.

Lifestyle Reasons

There are many lifestyle reasons that could cause a bladder to become weak, knowing what is causing it will help you to either stop it or prevent it from getting worse.

Heavy Lifting/HIIT exercise

Exercises like Crossfit, intense heavy lifting, or jumping up and down can cause a lot of pressure on the urethra.

Age

As we age, our muscles become weaker, including the sphincter muscles that control the urge to urinate.

Smoking

Smoking causes a consistent cough in most people, which can lead to a weakening of the bladder muscles. This includes any other cause of chronic coughing or sneezing.

Obesity

Being overweight pushes a lot of pressure on the urethral sphincter, which leads to an inability to control the weakened muscles.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

During pregnancy, the child and hormones can place tremendous pressure on the uterus and bladder. Pushing a baby during vaginal delivery can tear the surrounding tissues, causing incontinence.

Hormonal Deficiency

A lack of estrogen can cause the muscles around the bladder to become weakened. This is why menopause causes incontinence, due to the lower amounts of estrogen in the body.

Hysterectomy

Any operation around the vaginal or abdominal area could lead to urinary incontinence.

Diet

A poor diet could lead to constipation, which is another cause of incontinence.

Treatments For Urinary Incontinence

Treatments for urinary incontinence are most effective when the cause is determined.

Lifestyle Modification

If the incontinence is due to poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor diet, or obesity, then the cause of action would be to eliminate those causes.

Cutting or slowing down on fluid intake could also help to reduce incontinence.

Kegels

If the cause is due to a weakened bladder, certain exercises such as Kegels can help you to strengthen the muscles surrounding the bladder. This involves contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles.

Urethral Inserts Or a Pessary

A pessary is a device that rests underneath the urethra in the vagina and helps to support the bladder. This is most effective when worn during activities.

Botox

Injecting Botox into an overactive or incontinent bladder will help to relax enough to get back to regular urinating.

Urethral Inserts

Urethral inserts are small, tampon-like devices to insert into the urethra before triggering activity.

Nerve Stimulators

Nerve stimulators are little tiny devices similar to a pacemaker. These permanent devices are inserted in your abdomen, under the skin with a wire attached to the sacral nerve.

This sends light impulses into the nerve and helps to control the function of your bladder.

Surgery

At the last resort, there is the consideration of surgery. This surgical procedure includes inserting a sling that is made out of mesh or human tissue, supporting the urethra and the bladder.

The recovery from this surgery is between two to four weeks and has a very high success rate.

Learn More About Sudden Onset Urinary Incontinence

Dealing with sudden onset urinary incontinence is difficult, but it does not have to be forever.

The sooner you make an appointment to discuss this with your doctor, the sooner you can go back to living your life without worry.

To learn more about what treatments are best for you, contact us and schedule a consultation.

Is Vaginal Discharge After a Hysterectomy a Sign of Vaginal Prolapse?

 

 

 

A hysterectomy is a procedure wherein a woman’s uterus is surgically removed from her body. In some cases, it may also require the removal of the cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes. And, regardless of your procedure, vaginal discharge after hysterectomy is common.

But is that something to worry about? Does discharge after hysterectomy procedures mean something more serious is happening, physiologically? And, what are the odds of it resulting in a vaginal prolapse?

This is a necessary, often life-saving procedure, and it’s important to know your risks. Join us today as we break down this issue, so you can make better choices when it comes to your own overall pelvic health.

Vaginal Discharge After a Hysterectomy

Before we start, we should clear up one important fact. It is completely normal to experience vaginal discharge after most surgeries on and around your vagina. It’s a delicate ecosystem, and discharge is your body’s way of discharging impurities which could cause an infection. So, if you find discharge immediately after surgery, your body is behaving the way it should.

Vaginal discharge and bleeding similar to a period are normal for between three and four weeks following your surgery. While healing, make sure to keep the area clean and use sanitary towels instead of tampons.

Now, with all that said, discharge can be a sign of an impending prolapse if you experience a lot of it, and it appears different or unhealthy.

When Discharge Is A Sign Of Something Serious

When the bacteria in your vagina react to an infection, the first thing to change in your otherwise-standard discharge will be its smell. And it will not be subtle. Patients trick themselves into thinking their discharge has become worse. But an infection smells noticeably bad.

The discharge may begin looking different from what you’ve grown used to. If your discharge changes, suddenly, from white or clear to a more sickly green or brown, it’s a possible sign of an infection. And infections can lead to prolapses.

Finally, consider the way your discharge feels, both on your vagina and to the touch. Changing from sticky to oily or slick discharge can be an indication of a problem. Also, as we’ve mentioned, if you find significantly more discharge or blood over time, this is a warning sign.

It’s important to keep one thing in mind: when you think something’s wrong, consult with your doctor immediately. What might seem like a small issue could be an early warning that could save you time, money, and your health, down the line. And what seems different and concerning could honestly turn out to be nothing.

Other Warning Signs

As we’ve mentioned, vaginal discharge is a normal part of a hysterectomy but can be serious if experienced in increasing amounts. If you do experience this, however, it is important to note that there are other symptoms to look out for. Look for the following symptoms as a further indication of a prolapse:

  • Sensations of pelvic “heaviness”
  • Difficulties and pain associated with sexual intercourse
  • Incontinence, urinary leakage, constipation, and bladder infections
  • Significant lower back pain after hysterectomy
  • Protrusions from the vagina itself
  • Weakened or inflamed vaginal tissue
  • Throbbing vagina
  • Sensations of something falling out of the vagina

On the other hand, there are many cases where prolapse occurs without any symptoms at all. This is why it’s important to visit your doctor when you think something is wrong because, without too much scaremongering, it very well could be.

The Different Types Of Prolapsed Vagina

Otherwise known as pelvic organ prolapses, vaginal prolapse can actually take on a few different shapes. These are mostly delineated based on where they occur and what surrounding organs they affect.

Occurring in the front of front, or “anterior” wall of the vagina, this can result from having the uterus removed. An anterior prolapse can manifest in one of two ways:

  • Bladder or “cystocele”, a mild or moderate prolapse where the bladder falls into the vagina
  • Urethra, where the urethral tube prolapses

In cases where the prolapse is particularly severe, you may also see it bulging out of your vagina. It is imperative to get in touch with your primary care physician to find out more about treatment options.

Posterior wall prolapses occur when the tissue between the vagina and rectum stretches or separates. It can result in:

  • Rectocele prolapses, wherein the rectum drops down and presses against the rear wall of the vagina
  • Rectal prolapses, wherein the rectum turns partially inside out and slips out of the anus

Apical prolapses occur near the top of the vagina. One form of this kind of prolapse is what’s known as a vaginal vault.

When the uterus is removed, it has a direct impact on the support structures for the vagina itself. The uterus actually supports the vagina and holds it up. Once the uterus is gone, the vagina has nothing to hold onto, internally.

In severe cases, this can even lead to the vagina inverting completely. When this happens, the vagina turns inside out and hangs out through the vagina opening. This is where a professional cuff check after hysterectomy is typically recommended. Without it, there’s very little way to gauge your odds of a potential prolapse.

Vaginal Prolapse: Know Your Risks

Vaginal prolapse can be an embarrassing and painful process to go through for women who’ve had a hysterectomy. There are various ways in which something like this can occur and, when it comes to treatment, it’s always best to consult with your physician.

A medical professional may advise against sitting after rectocele surgery. They’ll tell you that some women experience bleeding years after full hysterectomy work. Or they might tell you that discharge is completely normal in certain amounts, as mentioned earlier in this article.

Looking for more insights into prolapse management and prevention? Want more on various other pelvic medicine topics? If you think that you need a medical consultation, get in touch with us today for an appointment.

 

Top 7 Overactive Bladder Treatment Options to Try

It’s important to know all your options before starting treatment for your OAB. Keep reading for top 7 overactive bladder treatment options to try.

Are you bothered by having to urinate often? Does it interfere with your work or participation in activities? You are not alone.

About 40% of American women have problems with an overactive bladder (OAB). Many people feel embarrassed and reluctant to talk to their doctors about it. Your healthcare provider can provide overactive bladder treatment to decrease the problem.

Keep reading to learn about treatment options available to you.

Signs That You May Have an Overactive Bladder

You may hear “overactive bladder” and think it means you have to urinate a lot. In fact, OAD can cause several problems. The following are some common symptoms.

  • Urgency – this describes a sudden feeling that you need to urinate. Individuals often have trouble controlling this urge.
  • Urgency incontinence – this involves the involuntary release of urine right after you feel the need to urinate.
  • Frequency – individuals with OAD may have to urinate eight or more times in a 24 hour period.
  • Nocturia – this means that a person wakes up to or more times during the night because they need to urinate.
  • Abdominal pain – some people feel abdominal pain as the bladder fills and pushes on the abdominal muscles.

If these symptoms only occur occasionally, there’s probably no need for concern. OAD presents with ongoing symptoms that create a disruption in your life activities.

What Causes OAB?

OAB can be caused by several different factors. This includes the following. 

  • Drinking excess fluids – the more fluids you drink, the more your body will need to expel urine.
  • Obesity – increases the weight pushing on the bladder. This can make you feel like your bladder is full more often because it can’t fully expand.
  • Medications – some drugs have side effects that can increase your frequency of urination. Examples include muscle relaxants, narcotics, antihistamines, and diuretics.
  • Caffeine – if you have OAB, caffeine can increase your urgency and frequency. Avoid caffeinated coffee, tea, and soda. 
  • Urinary tract infections – often cause urgency, frequency, and lower abdominal pain. If bacteria gets into the urethra and bladder, an infection can develop, often requiring antibiotics.
  • Abnormalities in the bladder – this is less common, but often more severe. Examples include a small bladder, tumors, or stones in the bladder. Strokes and multiple sclerosis can also impact bladder function.
  • Diabetes – often presents with urinary frequency and nocturia. Blood sugar levels can impact urination frequency.
  • Declining cognitive functions – this may disrupt signals from the brain. This can interfere with recognizing the sensation that it’s time to empty your bladder.

Many of these causes are fairly easy to treat with lifestyle changes and/or proper medical care. 

Approaches to Overactive Bladder Treatment

The American Urological Association recommends the following approaches to treating OAB.

1. Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapies include four basic steps. Bladder training and bladder control strategies may involve urinating on a schedule. The goal is to “train” your bladder to wait and then empty completely.

Pelvic floor muscle training, such as Kegel exercises, help strengthen the muscles and improve control. Regulating your fluid intake can help prevent the overfilling of your bladder. Limiting fluids before bedtime can help decrease nocturia.

2. Medications

Your practitioner may prescribe anti-muscarinic or oral β3-adrenoceptor agonists. These medications can help with urinary incontinence. You may be given an oral medication or a patch or gel.

3. Peripheral Tibial Nerve Stimulation

The peripheral tibial nerve stimulator (PTNS) provides a low-risk and non-surgical treatment option. The PTNS sends electrical impulses to the sacral nerve plexus that stimulate the bladder and pelvic muscles.

During treatment, you sit in a chair with one leg comfortably elevated like in a recliner. A thin needle electrode is placed near your tibial nerve by your ankle. Mild electrical impulses travel through the tibial nerve to the sacral nerve plexus.

Stimulating these nerves and muscles can change bladder activity. This treatment is performed repeatedly over a 12-week period. The patient should have noticeable improvement following treatment.

4. Sacral Neuromodulation

Sacral neuromodulations (SNS) offers a reversible treatment. This is used for individuals with severe OAB that haven’t responded to or can’t have other treatment options. A small device sends electrical impulses to the sacral nerves.

The sacral nerves, located just above the tailbone, control the bladder, sphincter, and pelvic floor muscles. These muscles and organs function to provide bladder control. The electrical stimulation strives to decrease or eliminate bladder-control problems.

5. Intradetrusor OnabotulinumtoxinA

Intradetrusor OnabotulintoxinA involves the injections of botulinum toxin A into the bladder detrusor muscles. The goal is to control OAB. Studies have shown that patients experience symptom relief lasting between 6 and 12 months.

If symptoms return, the procedure can be repeated no sooner than 12 weeks after the prior injection.

6. Surgical Treatment

Some rare cases require surgery to control OAB. Augmentation cystoplasty or bladder augmentation makes the bladder larger. When the bladder has been enlarged, it can hold more urine.

Urinary diversion involves creating a new route for the urine to leave the body. This is helpful if there’s a blockage to the flow of urine.

7. Indwelling Catheter

If no other treatment has proven successful, an indwelling catheter is a last resort. It’s not recommended due to the risks associated with long-term catheterization.

Do You Have Trouble Due to an Overactive Bladder?

Are you having to frequently stop what you are doing to go urinate? Are you having trouble getting a good night’s sleep because you must get up and go to the bathroom? 

If so, talk to your healthcare provider. They can help find the right overactive bladder treatment for you.

Peter M. Lotze MD, FACOG, FPMRS is a urogynecologist specializing in pelvic health. If you are experiencing symptoms of OAB, Dr. Lotze can help diagnose the cause and provide treatment options.

Dr. Lotze provides unique, individualized treatment recommendations to fit your specific needs. Contact our office today to ask questions and make an appointment.