Purpose Statement

This blog is intended to educate women on issues that affect women. Although we are all healthcare professionals, we are not here to give medical advice. Rather we hope this will encourage women knowing that help is available and give them the courage to seek help.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"SQUEEZE BEFORE YOU SNEEZE"


As we mentioned in a previous blog, leaking urine is a very common problem for women. It can be very embarrassing and affect your quality of life. Remember there are different types of incontinence but if you are one of the many women who suffer from urine leakage due to weak pelvic floor muscles then this blog may help you learn what you can do as a first line of defense against leakage. Have you ever laughed so hard that you peed all over yourself? Do you dread allergy season because you know you are going to be keeping the pantiliner companies in business? Do you wet your pants every time you cough? If so, then this may be helpful.


If you haven't had the opportunity to read the previous blog on strengthening pelvic muscles then now would be a good time to do that. Every woman needs to know where her pelvic muscles are and how to squeeze them. The urethra from the bladder goes through the pelvic muscles and in order to prevent urine leakage those muscles must squeeze tight around the urethra. If you want to stop the flow of water in a garden hose, you kink off the hose. Your pelvic muscles should be able to put enough pressure on the urethra to stop the flow. When you sneeze, cough, lift or laugh there is alot of pressure from your abdomen that is put on your pelvic area. If your muscles are weak they can't handle the pressure and they don't do their job very well. Squeezing those muscles before that pressure is exerted on them can help them to function better and have a better chance to prevent leakage.


Many women report a decrease in the amount of leakage when "squeezing before sneezing" or coughing or laughing or lifting. So, the next time you feel a cough or sneeze coming on try to squeeze your pelvic muscles first. Remember these are the muscles you use to shut off the flow of urine. You can also try this before you lift something heavy or as you are laughing. In the beginning this will feel hard for you and you will have to think about it every time you do it but eventually you will start squeezing without ever realizing it. If squeezing is not enough you can also try crossing your legs or putting pressure on the vaginal area. As always, if you have problems with urine leakage we recommend you talk to your healthcare provider and get the help you deserve. In the meantime, don't forget to "squeeze before you sneeze"!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A pain in the vagina. . . .

Do you have problems inserting a tampon? Is intercourse painful or even impossible? Do you have pain with internal exams? There are a variety of things that can contribute to this problem. No matter what, it is not normal to have pain and you can get help for this.


Remember your vagina is muscles. Just like you can get tight muscles in your neck or back, you can have tight muscles in your vagina. Vaginismus is when you have involuntary muscle spasms in your vagina making insertion of anything painful or even impossible. There are various reasons that pain or tightness in the vagina may develop. It could be from a traumatic past experience that makes it difficult for your body to relax in that area. This traumatic experience may be from sexual abuse, a painful pelvic exam, or pain trying to insert a tampon. One single negative experience can make it difficult in the future for the muscles to relax and this contributes to them spasming. Pain in the vulva/vagina might be from an infection that has irritated the area. Generalized anxiety or stress may also contribute to the problem. Also, hip and back problems may contribute to vaginal pain. Or it could be as simple as it's just the way you were made. Some of us are naturally tighter in our hamstrings or neck; you may be prone to tightness in your vagina.


So what can you do about it? First of all, tell you doctor and have it evaluated. Then find a pelvic floor physical therapist. Most women with this problem have no idea how to relax or tighten their vaginal muscles. You should have voluntary control of these muscles but when you have pain, these muscles tend to have a mind of their own. In physical therapy, you will learn how to coordinate these muscles. The physical therapist will teach you how to relax your vaginal muscles and stretch them so that tampons are possible and intercourse isn't painful. No matter what, please seek help. A pain in the vagina is not something you should have to live with.