Kegel Exercises

Posted by Alina on Friday Mar 27, 2009 Under health, useful tips

Kegels are named for Doctor Arnold Kegel, who first described these pelvic floor exercises. Pelvic muscles create a hammock inside your pelvis for the organs that lie above. The aim of Kegel exercises is to improve tone in the pubococcygeal and other muscles that encircle the urethra (bladder tube), vagina, and rectum.

To practice isolating these muscles, try stopping and starting the flow of urine. When performed correctly, no outward sign of effort should be visible. You can do these any where any time, and most women would benefit from performing a set of 10 repetitions multiple times per day. The exercises can be performed in a variety of ways, for example; a) contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles, b) contracting, holding for 5-10 seconds, then relaxing, c) elevators: contracting the muscles incrementally (like an elevator going to 1st, 2nd, 3rd floor) and releasing gradually, more advanced ways include barbells, springs, and rubber bulbs made especially for this purpose. You can perform these exercise in various positions, such as lying, sitting and standing.

Benefits of Kegels include easier birthing with fewer tears, enhanced sexual enjoyment for both partners, prevention of prolapsing of pelvic organs, and prevention/treatment of urinary incontinence (such as with sneezing or coughing). It is an important exercise and something that can easily be worked into most people’s routine.

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Women’s Health

Posted by Alina on Saturday Mar 14, 2009 Under health, useful tips

There are various musculoskeletal issues that may manifest in the prenatal and postpartum periods for a woman. During this time, many women suffer from pain in their back, pelvis, hips and possibly other joints. Many of these pains can be attributed to hormonal changes, muscular imbalances, and altered joint mobility.

Here is what happens. Ligaments are soft tissue structures that connect bones to other bones and provide joint stability in our bodies. During pregnancy and the postpartum period (especially when nursing), the hormonal changes cause these ligaments to become more loose, allowing increased joint motion (loss of stability) and possibly resulting in pain. As a woman gains weight in pregnancy, postural changes take place as well, causing some muscles to stretch out and others to shorten. This may result in weakening of various muscles, especially core and pelvic floor.

The good news is that many of these pains are transient and eventually resolve. However, at times it would be beneficial to seek the help of a trained physical therapist who specializes in women’s health. If your symptoms are affecting your daily function, you may benefit from such a consult. A physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation and design an individualized program for each patient. He/she may also recommend various adaptive equipment to help you function independently through the tough time. For example, I had a period in the middle of my pregnancy where my pelvic pain rendered me unable to put on my socks. Luckily there is a special adaptive device which allowed me to dress independently once again. This may not sound like a big deal, but at a time when my hormones were affecting my emotions and my body was feeling like it wasn’t mine, suddenly being unable to dress myself in the morning was quite frustrating and depressing.

The American Physical Therapy Association has a special section on Women’s Health, and can help you find a qualified therapist in your area. These therapists go through advanced training which includes continuing education courses and hands on experience. They treat women with a variety of conditions including pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, as well as issues that arise during prenatal and postpartum periods.

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