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.

9 Reasons You’re Having Issues With Natural Female Lubrication

There are a lot of common reasons for vaginal dryness. Here’s why you might be having issues producing natural female lubrication.

It is not often discussed but many women experience vaginal dryness. The first course of action should be to discuss the situation with your physician. Many of the causes can be addressed to clear up the problem.

There are also effective treatments to treat the discomfort. Read on to learn the life, hormonal, and disease that causes changes in natural female lubrication.

9 Causes of Problems with Natural Female Lubrication

If you are experiencing some of the following conditions, you may also experience vaginal dryness. Many of the causes of vaginal dryness are due to hormonal changes.

1. Breastfeeding

If you are breastfeeding you may also experience vaginal dryness. Breastfeeding is associated with lower estrogen levels and estrogen is necessary to produce natural vaginal lubrication.

2. Pregnancy & Childbirth

It is not only breastfeeding that affects vaginal lubrication. As your pregnancy progresses and after childbirth, your hormones go through significant fluctuations. Because natural lubrication is dependant on optimal levels of those hormones many women experience vaginal dryness during and after their pregnancy.

2. Cigarette Smoking

Smoking is not good for your health, so it is best to stop. Smoking damages your arteries making it hard for them to expand and contract. This affects your blood flow.

One of the causes of vaginal dryness is the lack of blood flow to the uterus.

3. Excess or Chronic Stress

When you experience stress, especially stress for a long period of time your body changes. Stress causes an increase in cortisol which combines with changes in blood flow contributes to vaginal dryness.

Exercise in moderation will help to manage stress and improve issues with vaginal dryness but also improve your overall health.

4. Depression

Depression is a common disorder that unfortunately comes with vaginal dryness.

5. Immune System Disorders

Women who have Sjögren syndrome commonly experience vaginal dryness. Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that affects the body’s ability to create moisture.

6. Rigorous Exercise

Exercise is good for you, but if you exercise vigorously you may experience vaginal dryness. Not only can vigorous exercise cause vaginal dryness it can also cause yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.

7. Some Cancer Treatments

Treatments such as radiation, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy come with unwanted side effects, vaginal dryness is a common one. Be sure to discuss any vaginal discomfort you have with your physician to ensure that you receive proper treatment.

8. Surgical Removal of the Ovaries

If you need to have your ovaries removed for health reasons, this can lead to vaginal dryness. Our team can help you through the process and find hormonal or over the counter treatments to treat vaginal dryness.

9. Aging

As we age our hormones change. The hormone changes associated with aging contribute to vaginal dryness in our later years.

There are many causes of vaginal dryness and changes in our natural vaginal lubrication. The good news is that you don’t have to experience vaginal discomfort, treatment of the underlying conditions and over the counter treatments are available.

Is Your Vaginal Dryness Causing You Pain?

We are one of the first urogynecological teams in the Houston area. We are focused on the needs of our female patients. We understand the changes that affect natural female lubrication.

Your comfort is our first priority, you will be immediately greeted by one of our team upon your arrival. After you enter one of our state of the art exam room our medical assistant will take your vitals before Dr. Lotze performed a comprehensive medical exam.

Contact us to set up your first visit.

Your Pelvic Organ Prolapse Treatment Options

Do you have trouble with pelvic discomfort and embarrassing loss of urine or bowel control? You are not alone. According to the Women’s Health Initiative Study, 41.1% of postmenopausal women over 60 years of age have these problems. They are often caused by pelvic organ prolapse.

The good news is that pelvic organ prolapse treatment is available to relieve these symptoms. You don’t need to suffer in silence. Talk to your doctor about the problems you’re experiencing.

This article will help you understand more about what is happening in your body. You will also learn about the causes, risk factors, and treatment options.

What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when female organs slip out of place and press into the vagina. This often occurs in older-aged women.

The muscles and tissues of the “pelvic floor” act like a hammock to hold the organs in place. The pelvic organs include the bladder, uterus and cervix, vagina, and rectum. When these pelvic floor muscles become weak or damaged, they can’t support the other organs as before.

Risk Factors for POP

Some women are at increased risk of developing POP. Hispanic adult women demonstrate more frequent POP. Other established risk factors include advanced age and increased body mass index.

Conditions that cause elevated intra-abdominal pressure increase your risk of POP. Smoking can result in chronic coughing and lung disease which raises abdominal pressure. Also, straining to have a bowel movement or heavy lifting can weaken pelvic floor muscles.

Your obstetric history may also present risk factors:

  • Vaginal delivery
  • Use of forceps during delivery
  • Pregnancy with twins, triplets, or more
  • Delivery at a young age
  • Delivery of baby over 9.9 pounds
  • Prolonged pushing before delivery

If you’ve had a hysterectomy or POP repair, you are at increased risk as well.

Signs and Symptoms of POP

Common signs of POP include leaking of urine or stool. You may also feel or see a bulge inside or coming out of the vagina. This is often associated with feelings of pelvic pressure, discomfort, aching, or fullness.

If you wear tampons, you may have difficulty inserting it. Some women describe their symptoms as being worse during physical activity and long periods of standing. Women often experience discomfort during sexual intercourse.

Non-Surgical Pelvic Organ Prolapse Treatment Options

Today, there are several options for treating POP. Nonsurgical options are often tried before considering surgery. Nonsurgical treatments range from diet and exercise to medical devices.

Pessary

A pessary is a soft, flexible device placed in the vagina to increase pelvic organ support. This can be inserted and removed by the patient.

Diet and Lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms. To decrease problems with urine leakage, drink small amounts of fluid at a time. Limits fluids before exercising or other strenuous activities.

Increasing dietary fiber may help with bowel leakage. Sometimes a stool softener can help with constipation which increases POP problems.

Overweight or obese women often have more problems with POP. Losing weight will increase your general health as well as decrease POP symptoms.

Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises may help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. First, begin by finding the right muscles to focus on tightening. Do not repeat the following maneuver on a regular basis as it can cause pelvic floor weakness and bladder problems.

To find these muscles, stop the flow of urine when urinating. Feel the muscles in the vagina, bladder, or anus that tighten and move up.

These are the muscles you want to tighten to strengthen the pelvic floor. You must learn to isolate these muscles while keeping your thighs, buttocks, and abdomen relaxed.

To perform the Kegal exercise, follow these steps:

  • Empty your bladder and then sit or lie down
  • Tighten the muscles of the pelvic floor and hold for 3 to 5 seconds
  • Then relax these muscles for 3 to 5 seconds
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times

This exercise provides the best results if done 3 times a day. For example, do this in the mornings, at noon, and at bedtime. Remember to breathe deeply and relax your body between muscle tightening phases.

Results are often seen after 4 to 6 weeks. Do not do more than the described number of exercise sessions as this may cause problems with urination and bowel movements.

Surgical POP Treatment

There are two surgical procedures used to treat POP. These include obliterative surgery and reconstructive surgery.

Obliterative surgery either narrows or closes off the opening of the vagina. This provides support for organs that are slipping down. Following this procedure, you will not be able to have sexual intercourse.

Reconstructive surgery works to return organs that are falling to their proper place. Some surgeries are done through an incision in the vagina. Others use an incision through the abdominal wall.

Types of reconstructive surgery include:

Fixation or suspension treats uterine or vaginal prolapse. An incision through the vagina is made and then the organs are sutures to a ligament or muscle in the pelvis. This serves to hold the organs in place.

Colporrrhaphy treats prolapse of the front and/or back wall of the vagina. These parts of the vagina are sutured to keep them from falling and help support other organs.

Sacrocolpopexy also treats vaginal prolapse as well as an enterocele. An enterocele describes a hole in the sac that surrounds the abdominal organs. The small bowel or sigmoid colon protrudes through this hole.

An incision is made in the abdomen or the surgeon may use a laparoscope. The laparoscopy often uses 3 small incisions. A surgical mesh is put in place to repair the hole and lift the vagina into place.

Sacrohysteropexy treats prolapse of the bladder in women who don’t want a hysterectomy. A surgical mesh is connected to the vagina and then to the sacrum (the triangular bone at the back of the pelvis). This lifts the uterus into the proper position.

Do You Struggle with POP?

If you are experiencing pelvic fullness, aching, and sexual problems, it’s time to talk with your practitioner. You may have POP. This article described the various pelvic organ prolapse treatments available to relieve your symptoms.

Dr. Peter Lotze, MD and his staff provide compassionate, experienced treatment for POP. They believe that you deserve freedom from pelvic health issues. Don’t wait any longer to get help.

Contact us today to ask questions and schedule a consultation.

Common Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance and Treatment Solutions

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are over 50 hormones found in the human body.

The endocrine system controls the hormones in our body. It consists of glands, the hormones the glands make and the receptors who receive the hormones in the different areas of our body. 

There are many reasons why our hormones can get thrown out of whack and the symptoms of hormone imbalance are numerous.

Let’s discuss what a hormone imbalance is and some of the more common symptoms people can experience.

What is a Hormone Imbalance?

Hormones are produced by your endocrine system. They are chemical substances that act as messengers that tell the parts of your body what to do. 

Hormones travel through the body to their target site or sites then attaches to it and relays its message. 

A hormone imbalance occurs when your endocrine system sends too many or not enough messages to a particular part or parts of the body. 

While we receive a lot more news and health notices about hormone imbalance in women (menses, perimenopause, menopause, etc.), it is important to note that hormone imbalance in men also occurs. 

What are the Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance?

Symptoms of hormone imbalance can vary depending on which particular hormones are involved.

Since individual hormones interact with only certain parts of the body, your symptoms will depend on which hormone isn’t being produced in the correct amount.

Thus by knowing which symptoms you are having, it will help narrow down which hormones your doctor needs to check for. 

Review the list below and be sure to tell your doctor about any of the ones you may be experiencing.

Poor Quality Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation indicates a normal person should fall asleep within 30 minutes of getting into bed, not wake up more than once per night, get back to sleep within 20 minutes, and spend less than 85% of your time in bed sleeping.

A change in your hormones can cause you to have trouble sleeping. 

Your adrenal glands may be producing too much adrenaline, cortisol or cortisone. Your pituitary gland also produces cortisone and cortisol. These hormones are released when you are under too much stress.

Extreme Fatigue

Extreme fatigue can occur in normal people when they have been busier than normal over a long period of time. If that’s not the case for you but you regularly feel drained of energy or feel like you are coming down with the flu (that never develops), it may be due to your hormone levels.

Your thyroid may be making too few thyroid hormones or too many. Hypothyroidism refers to when your thyroid is making too few hormones. When your thyroid is making too many, it is called hyperthyroidism. 

Thyroid hormones regulate important things like your heart rate and body temperature. They also control the energy use for every tissue in your body. 

Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain

If you are losing or gaining weight for no apparent reason, it is imperative you get your doctor to check you out. There are many reasons why your weight change may be occurring, but don’t assume a loss in weight is a good thing. 

Your unexplained weight gain may be due to too much cortisol. An unexpected weight loss may mean your adrenal glands aren’t producing enough cortisol or aldosterone.  

Hair Loss

People lose hair every day, so some loss is normal. 

Excessive hair loss can occur when your hormones are out of balance. Hormones produced by your thyroid and adrenal glands may be to blame. 

So if you notice your hair coming out in larger quantities than normal, it’s time to get checked out by a doctor. 

A Decrease in Sex Drive

Sometimes a woman’s adrenal glands and ovaries stop producing enough of the necessary hormones which can cause a decrease in her interest in engaging in sexual intercourse. 

Your hormone levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone all play a part in your sexual desire. There are many treatments options available, so talk to your doctor to find a solution you are comfortable with.

Brain Fog and Memory Loss

If you have had moments where you feel either disoriented or confused, you may be suffering from brain fog. Brain fog can make you believe your thinking and memory processes are not responding the way they should.

Brain fog can be caused by declining estrogen levels or a thyroid condition, among other things.

Vaginal Dryness

A common reason for vaginal dryness is that a woman’s estrogen levels have dropped. The hormone estrogen helps keep the vaginal lining in a healthy state.

20% of all females going through perimenopause and menopause experience vaginal dryness.

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse, it may be due to vaginal dryness.

Other Symptoms Involving Estrogen Levels

Urinary incontinence, mood swings, hot flashes, and night sweats can all be traced back to a woman’s estrogen levels.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence or vaginal dryness, your doctor may refer you to a urogynecologist.

A Urogynecologist is a doctor who specializes in treating women with pelvic floor disorders. The pelvic floor helps to support a woman’s internal organs including her uterus, vagina, bladder, bowels, and rectum. 

If you are asking yourself how you find a “urogynecologist near me”, you can start by asking your general practitioner for a referral. If not, place a call to your medical insurance helpline to get their help in locating a qualified urogynecologist near you.

Treatments for Hormone Imbalance

Depending on your specific personal health history, there can be many options for your doctor to subscribe for treatment if you have a hormone imbalance. Your doctor can help you choose the right one for you.

Hormone replacement therapy such as BioTE may be prescribed. BioTE is a natural hormone replacement option that is available. Many patients like this option because it only takes seconds to insert the pellets, the insertion is relatively painless, and patients see improvement within 7-10 days.

Other options your doctor may prescribe is birth control, anti-androgen medications, estrogen therapy, estrogen creams, and thyroid hormone therapy. 

Make an Appointment Today to Get Your Hormone Levels Checked

Your doctor understands that symptoms of hormone imbalance may be uncomfortable to discuss. Don’t let that difficulty or discomfort keep you from getting the care you need and deserve. 

Remember, your doctor has been trained to help people with these types of personal medical issues. And they want to help you. 

If you have more questions about healthy hormone levels, contact us today to make an appointment. We can help you determine if you have a hormone imbalance and find the best treatment available for you.

When to See a Gynecologist: 9 Signs You Should See Your OB/GYN ASAP

Notice any changes to your vaginal health? Has your sex life taken a turn for the worst? 

Knowing when to see a gynecologist can help to prevent, manage, and treat problems with your genitals. 

Every woman needs to see a gynecologist at least once a year. At this annual visit, your doctor will perform a breast exam, pap smear, and an examination of your genital area. Sticking to this yearly visit can help to nip problems in the bud before they become worse. 

They can also protect you and your sexual partners. 

But, many people fear the gynecologist. They may fear being judged or feel embarrassed to discuss intimate parts of their bodies. They may also fear a bad result or diagnosis.

These concerns are all normal and understandable. Gynecologists have heard it all and they are reliable sources of information. Certainly, more reliable than Googling your symptoms and increasing your anxiety further. 

The best way to know if there is a problem is to tackle it head-on. But, knowing when to see a gynecologist can also prevent you from panicking. Read on to find out the signs it’s time to see your gynecologist. 

When to See a Gynecologist: 9 Signs It’s Time for a Doctor’s Visit

An annual gynecologist visit is typically covered by your insurance provider. Talk with your gynecologist about a payment plan if needed. 

Knowing when to see your gynecologist can also help to reduce unnecessary costs. Read on to learn when to see a gynecologist using 9 signs and symptoms. 

1. Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness can be a symptom of a larger problem. However, you’ll need to see a gynecologist to find the root cause. 

There are many conditions that cause vaginal dryness. If you experience vaginal dryness during sex, the issue could be not enough foreplay, trouble getting aroused, or an emotional problem. This type of vaginal dryness could also be caused by hormonal imbalances

Daily vaginal dryness can also be caused by hormonal imbalances specifically related to menopause. Other causes of vaginal dry include use of birth control, tampons, and medications used to treat overactive bladder. If vaginal dryness occurred shortly after taking a new medication, then talk with your gynecologist. 

2. Problems After Sex

Pain after sex could be caused by an allergy to latex. If the pain only lasts for 36 hours or less, then a latex allergy may be to blame. In this case, you can switch to polyurethane condoms. 

It’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to rule out any other causes. It’s also helpful to know if you actually do have a latex allergy so you can avoid unpleasant reactions in the future.

If the pain lasts longer than 36 hours, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist. The problem could be because of an infection, endometriosis, or fibroids. Many other causes could be to blame, however, so a gynecologist will need to diagnose it to then treat it properly.

3. Pain During Sex

Unusual and intense pain during sex is also a sign you need to see a gynecologist. This type of pain during sex can be located inside your vagina, near the opening, or in your abdomen. 

Deep, sharp internal pain could be a sign of ruptured cysts or cervix inflammation. STIs, a yeast infection, or endometriosis can also cause pain during sex.

4. Irregular Bleeding

Irregular spotting in between periods is common for women taking birth control. But, if the bleeding lasts for days and/or is a heavy flow, contact your gynecologist. This could be a sign of a pelvic infection, polyps, or a host of other conditions. 

Bleeding during pregnancy is also normal, but you should always speak with your OB/GYN to rule out more serious problems.

5. Changes in Odor and Discharge

Every woman has a different vaginal odor unique to her. Vaginal odors can also be affected by the foods we eat. But, if you notice a sudden fishy odor along with abnormal discharge, then it’s time to see your doctor.

Pain and itching associated with these changes can indicate an infection. For example, an STI, yeast infection, or bacterial vaginosis.

6. Itching, Swelling, and Pain

Itching in your intimate areas is extremely uncomfortable. Swelling and pain can also accompany itching or occur on their own. 

These symptoms could be the result of contact dermatitis, a yeast infection, or other health conditions. See your doctor to learn more about the cause of these symptoms.

7. Bumps, Lumps, and Sores

Many bumps in your genital region are normal. The key is knowing what is normal and abnormal for you. To determine what’s normal or not, you should inspect your vulva every two to three months. 

If you notice any changes, then make an appointment with your gynecologist. Bumps, lumps, and sores could be a symptom of an STI or, in rare cases, cancer.

8. Burning Sensation During Urination

Going to the bathroom and experiencing a burning sensation is never a welcomed event. If you do experience a burning sensation or have trouble urinating, then it may be a sign of a health condition. For example, a yeast infection, an STI, or a UTI.

9. Abnormal Periods

Missing your period or having multiple periods are signs it’s time for a doctor’s visit. 

Cramping during your period is normal. But, if your period is extremely painful then that’s a different matter. If your behavior dramatically changes before or during your period, then this is also a cause for concern. To treat these conditions, your doctor will make a diagnosis, prescribe medications, and/or suggest other treatment options such as light therapy.

When to See a Gynecologist and How to Find the Right One

Knowing when to see a gynecologist is a great way to become more aware of your intimate health. But, knowing how to find the right gynecologist is an entirely different matter. 

Depending on your symptoms, you may want to consider a specialized gynecologist. For example, if your symptoms are specifically related to your bladder and incontinence, then a urogynecologist is a better fit. These gynecologists can also rule out and treat other conditions related to your pelvic health. 

Live in Houston, Texas? Have any of these symptoms or other symptoms related to your bladder? Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

7 Tips for Optimizing Your Kegel Exercises

It’s the most intimate part of you. The part that made you a mother. The part that makes you a woman.

It’s your vagina, and it’s not functioning like it used to.

You find yourself wearing sanitary napkins every day. You’re choosing loose pants and skirts over your favorite form-fitting jeans. You avoid activities that might put stress on your lower abdomen. 

Anything to prevent embarrassing bladder leakage that seems to be a daily occurrence.

Now it’s impacting your relationship. You’re experiencing vaginal dryness and sex often hurts.

You don’t have to live with this. Kegel exercises may well be the answer for you, but only if you do them correctly.

Read on to learn the seven top tips for optimizing your Kegels!

What’s Causing Your Symptoms?

If you’re looking into Kegel’s, then you’re probably experiencing symptoms that you may not feel comfortable discussing, even with your doctor.

You may be losing control of your bladder or even your bowels. You may be passing gas.

You may be experiencing pain, not only during intercourse, but throughout your day.

But take heart! You are not alone and you have nothing to be ashamed of.

The symptoms you are experiencing are likely caused by a very common condition known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

In POP, the muscles of the pelvic floor weaken, causing the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and bowel, to drop.

This can result not only in pain or the loss of bladder or bowel control, but also in feelings of heaviness, fullness, or pressure in the abdomen.

You may experience increased urgency and frequency in voiding your bladder or bowels, and you may feel unable to empty completely. 

The fact is that POP is not just uncomfortable. It can severely diminish your quality of life. 

How Did I Get POP?

POP is an extremely common condition.

Current estimates indicate that up to 50% of women may experience some degree of pelvic organ prolapse, resulting in more than 300,000 surgeries per year in the United States alone.

POP can result from any number of causes, from genetics to aging.

The most common causes, however, are vaginal childbirth, chronic constipation, or a history of strain on the pelvic muscles. Activities that require frequent heavy lifting, for example, can stretch and severely weaken the muscles of the pelvic floor.

What Are Kegel Exercises and How Can They Help?

Kegel exercises work by getting to the root of the problem. Literally.

Their function is to strengthen the pelvic floor so that the pelvic organs will be better supported, reducing or eliminating POP symptoms.

Kegel exercises take many forms, but they all consist of the same basic action: squeezing and tightening the pelvic muscles to build their strength.

Whether you have experience with Kegels or this will be your first time trying them, these seven tips are sure to help you get the most benefit from your Kegels.

1. Start with the Pee Exercise

The next time you go to the bathroom, try stopping your urine flow midstream.

Not only is this a Kegel exercise itself, but it will also help you gauge the strength or weakness of your pelvic muscles by how much difficulty you have with this.

You can repeat this several times to get a few quick Kegels in. Don’t make it a daily habit, however, because this can lead to urinary tract infections.

Also, if you have any underlying disorders that make it difficult to void your bladder, such as interstitial cystitis or chronic UTIs, you may want avoid this exercise.

2. Do Them Often

The great thing about Kegel exercises is that you can do them anytime, anywhere, and no one will be any the wiser!

So practice tightening and squeezing your pelvic muscles anytime the thought occurs to you, whether you’re at home watching a movie, sitting in a boring business meeting, or driving the kids to school. 

You’ll not only begin to experience a reduction in your POP symptoms, but you’ll also have a funny little secret all to yourself!

3. Build Up Slowly

If you’re new to Kegels or if the prolapse is severe, these exercises may be challenging at first, but don’t give up.

Instead, work on slowly increasing your strength. Ten repetitions equal one set of exercises, so try to complete at least one full set each time you do your exercises.

If you can’t complete a full set at first, don’t worry. Just keep building up until you can.

And when that gets easy for you, ramp up the difficulty level a bit more: add at least another half set. 

4. Mix It Up 

Kegel exercises are most often done by tightening the pelvic muscles and holding the contraction for a specified amount of time, often for a count of 10.

This is ideal, but if you want to add another level of difficulty and really optimize your Kegels, add in a few short, quick bursts of contraction. 

Squeeze and release as hard and as fast as you can. Then return to your standard hold-and-release approach. 

Alternating between slow sets and rapid bursts can stimulate the muscles and may promote the formation of new muscle fibers or the strengthening of existing ones.

5. Get the Right Equipment

If you’re all-in with the Kegels, then you should consider adding Kegel or Ben Wa balls to your routine.

Kegel balls come in a variety of weights and sizes. They help to isolate and strengthen the pelvic muscles by requiring the muscles to strongly contract to hold the balls inside.

6. Get Moving

Adding a regular exercise routine can help you maximize the effectiveness of your Kegels.

Pilates and yoga are especially beneficial for strengthening the abdominal and pelvic muscles, which will only enhance the benefits you get from your daily Kegels.

7. Enlist the Experts

Sometimes it can be difficult to work the appropriate muscles effectively. This is where consulting the experts can be particularly helpful. 

Physical therapists, physiologists, or your gynecologist can help you learn to do your Kegels the right way. 

There are even biofeedback machines to help you identify the correct muscles and confirm when you are successfully contracting them. 

This can help you to learn not only how to do your Kegels but also what your Kegels should feel like when they are done correctly.

The Takeaway

Pelvic organ prolapse is a common disorder that can severely diminish your quality of life.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Kegel exercises can be enormously effective in decreasing the symptoms of POP, restoring both your confidence and your intimate life.

Please visit our website to learn more about POP, vaginal health, and how we can help!

 

 

7 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Her OB/GYN

You have an appointment with your gynecologist and have loads of questions on your mind. As you sit in the waiting room, you realize you didn’t write them down.

You have a variety of things on your mind, including the kids, errands you need to do and your husband as you read a magazine waiting for your appointment.

When you see your gynecologist, you get caught up in their questions and forget to ask half of your own. It happens all the time. So what do you do?

A good idea to prepare for your appointment is to have a set of gynecology questions written down before you arrive.

Taking time to compose and print out your questions or copy them down by hand will help keep you on track.

Here are important gynecology questions you need to ask your OB/GYN at your next appointment to maintain your gynecology health.

Critical Gynecology Questions to Ask Your OB/GYN

Ask these important questions next time you meet with your OB/GYN.

1. How Do I Give Myself a Breast Exam?

It’s surprising how most women don’t examine their breasts at home. They often will wait for their annual mammogram.

Some women delay getting a mammogram when they get a pap smear exam that can be from three to five years.

It’s critical that women take the time to self-examine their breasts for lumps in between gynecology and imaging appointments. It’s too long to wait until your next appointment.

Self-exams can help you detect a problem in its early stages. Your OB/GYN can demonstrate how to administer a self-exam.

Since breast cancer is one of the leading cancers for women, make sure and ask your doctor how to look for lumps.

 2. Why Is Intercourse Painful?

There are a variety of reasons pain and discomfort can occur during sex. And it’s important to find out. Some of the reasons include vaginal infections, improper lubrication, effects of menopause, and endometriosis.

Lubricants can help if vaginal dryness is the issue. But if you have an infection, it’s critical to clear it up with an antibiotic or ointment.

If you’re experiencing irritation or discomfort during sex, make sure and ask your gynecologist about it so you can be treated.

3. Why Do I Leak Urine Sometimes?

A common condition in women is called urinary incontinence (UI). It’s often not reported among women due to them being embarrassed to talk about it.

This condition occurs when a small stream of urine is discharged from the bladder. It can happen during coughing or laughing.

Although the condition is common, it can signal other problems. Ask your doctor to test you for UI. Tests may include bloodwork and ultrasounds.

If you’re experiencing pain when you urinate, you could have Interstitial Cystitis. If you’re leaking urine or experiencing pain, let your gynecologist know.

4. Is it Safe to Douche?

You might think you need to douche to keep your vaginal area clean, especially if you’re sexually active. But what many women don’t know it your vaginal discharge is a natural cleaner.

Some douches you purchase in the drug store can cause vaginal infections. This happens because they kill the good bacteria that protects your body from infection.

Douching can cause a condition of bacterial vaginosis that makes a foul odor that you wanted to avoid to happen from the outset.

Some research studies are finding out that douching can lead to ovarian cancer. If you feel the need to douche, ask your OB/GYN for a safe method of douching since some natural ingredients are less harmful than others.

5. Why Do I Get Heavy Periods?

We all menstruate differently. And many women experience heavy periods during their monthly cycles.

The discomfort from heavy periods can make it challenging to be active or carry out our day. And women with heavy periods need to change tampons or sanitary products more frequently.

If you have to change them every two hours or more often, you might have what is called menorrhagia. 

The amount you bleed can depend on your age — women who are going into menopause experience heavier bleeding than younger women. But you can also have a uterine fibroid or another medical condition. 

That’s why it’s wise to make the topic of heavy bleeding one of your gynecology questions to ask your OB/GYN. She or he may prescribe different methods of treatment or medication to give you relief from heavy menstrual bleeding.

6. I Have a Vaginal Discharge. Is It Normal?

If you’re experiencing a milky or clear discharge from your vagina, that’s probably normal. It’s mother nature’s way of discharging older cells from your body.

But if your vagina gives off an unusual odor or changes in color or thickness, it could mean you contracted an infection.

One of them is bacterial vaginosis. This occurs from douching and other means of depleting the good bacteria in your body, for example, if you take too many antibiotics for another health issue.

Other problems include Trichomoniasis or a yeast infection. So when you see an abnormal looking discharge, make sure to ask your gynecologist about it so they can evaluate it.

7. Is It Safe to Go On Birth Control: What Are My Options?

Pregnancy isn’t right for everyone. And birth control has helped many women avoid getting pregnant. Birth control also regulates heavy periods, so women bleed normally.

The medical industry offers a wide array of birth control options, including pills, vaginal rings, sponges, condoms, implants, and IUD’s. 

Ask your gynecologist about the safety of birth control. Pills aren’t given for women over 35 because of the side effects. They will be able to recommend the best method for your unique situation.

Final Words on Asking the Right Gynecology Questions

In this post, you’ve learned some of the most important gynecology questions to ask. You may have some more of your own.

Write them down, and you’ll be armed for better gynecological health when you meet with your OB/GYN at your next appointment.  

Want to know what foods are good for gynecological health? Or contact us today to schedule an appointment.