Stress incontinence in the home
You have all heard of stress incontinence, light stress incontinence, those embarrassing leaks when you cough, sneeze, laugh and exercise. Most women on the first experience brush it off as a one-off, others tend to run for the incontinence pads to soak up the urine and hope that nobody will notice, others do seek medical advice for the incontinence and are offered (if lucky) physiotherapy, but many doctors (depending which country you live in) will offer the TVT or TOT operation.
If you are a woman who has experienced stress incontinence how many have been lucky enough to have a doctor who has taken the time to explain why you are incontinent and what products and help there is available to you before considering surgery?
Those who have been offered surgery, how many of you ladies were told exactly what the procedure involved and the risks you could face with surgery.
There are always risks with ANY type of surgery and lately there has been a lot of negative press surrounding the TVT mesh tape. The TVT operation has been performed for many years and with about 85% of it being successful allowing women a complete new lease of life. I wouldn’t dismiss this surgery if it was offered, but make sure you ask ALL the right questions which will satisfy you. Never be afraid to ask ANYTHING to you doctor. Its your body and your doctor is there to help YOU!
CASE STUDYName: Laura Age: 18 Sexually active: Yes since the age of 17 one partner. Menstruation: Regular – every 28 days Work: Part time in a bar School: Studying in University Hobbies: skiing,netball (not so much now) computer Weight: 10 stone Height: 5’5″ Smoker: No Drinker: tends to binge drink on the weekends Making an assessment of Lauras lifestyle was key understanding how her life has been affected by stress incontinence. As a healthy 18 year old it is hard to believe that she is already being affected by stress incontinence. Lets look at her diet: A typical day would include, cereal for breakfast, varied lunch ranging from pizza to salads, she eats a lot of pasta. Evening meals vary from a sandwich to a cooked meal consisting of meat and vegetables. Laura drinks around 4 diet cokes/sprite a day and around 4 cups of coffee on the odd occasion she will have hot chocolate if the weather is cold. I asked her about how much water she drinks, she said it varies from zero a day to 3 500ml bottles depending where she is. Over a month she probably averages to 250ml water a day. When asked about her alcohol drinking: She doesn’t drink anything in the week but on a Friday she will drink around 6 large glasses of white wine with soda (spritzer) on a saturday about the same, but will also have the odd cocktail with lots of higher alcohol level content. She was asked if she had ever been so drunk that she has actually wet herself either in her sleep or whilst laughing. She admitted to wetting herself laughing but never in her sleep. She also noted that on the odd occasion without alcohol if she is laughing she will slightly wet herself. Activities: She was asked if she did any sport. Once a year she goes skiing with her friends and has done since the age of 14 with the school. I asked her if she ever experienced urine loss during skiing. She admitted that on the odd occasion if her bladder was full, especially in subzero temperatures. She used to play netball for the school team, and gave up this year due to her being incontinent during the sport. A typical day would involve lots of sitting, she is studying to be a graphic designer, and has to spend many hours ‘slouched in front of a computer. When asked how often does she take a break and walk around, she said only to go from class to class but at home she has indicated that she has sat in front of the computer around 12 hrs sometimes. If she isn’t in front of the computer her and her boyfriend tend to just watch TV or cook at home together. She was asked if she experience urine loss during sex, she didn’t know. She was asked what she did about the incontinence problem, she answered, nothing, I don’t see myself as incontinent, that’s for old women! So when I asked her what she did to protect herself ‘should the odd leak happen during her weekend with her friends, she told me she took sanitary pads out with her ‘just in case’! I asked her would she consider buying incontinence pads- the answer was NO WAY! I asked her if she had heard of kegel exercises. She hadn’t but had read somewhere about doing your pelvic floor exercises after you had a baby and were they the same thing.
It is evident that a typical young women who exeriences bladder loss will not recognise the fact she has suffered a type of incontinence and that the general concensus is they do not need to address the problem, until they have either had a baby or are ‘older’.
Lifestyle has a major part to play in incontinence issues and the only way to control the incontinence is to change the lifestyle. Nobody said it would be easy, but recognising the signs early on may help avoid surgery or prolapse issues later on.
As evolution takes its course we are exercising less and slouching more. It is a known fact that not only teenagers spend more time in front of a computer screen than doing physical exercise using the pelvic floor muscles.
Take a break from the computer and walk around for 5 minutes every hour she spent on the computer.
Use Incostress to help with pelvic floor exercises or seek physiotherapy assistance to help you start.
Laura was given Incostress to try. We will follow-up in 4 weeks to see how she got on.
Those who are reading this blog right now are positioned in front of a computer screen. Just for a moment I would like you ALL to look down at the position of your body. (men and women)
Are your shoulders rounded and slouched?
Is your abdomen relaxed and tilting forward, even resting on the upper thigh part?
If the answer to either or both of the above is yes, the chances of your pelvic floor being in the wrong position is very high. Wrong position for prolonged periods of time can lead to all sorts of pelvic floor issues including weakening and incontinence.
Because of the culture we are living in more and more people are facing incontinence which include teenagers.
The human body was not designed to have a sagging pelvic floor. It should be firm with the ‘trampoline effect’ if it lowers, it should retract back into a nice taut position.
The best people to help you with kegel or pelvic floor identification and exercises are physiotherapists and gynaecologists.
A good program we have used time and time again with results is Pfilates by Dr Bruce Crawford. It is the only program of its kind which has clinical data to support its claims.
Incostress was clinically trialled in the UK and at present there is another trial using Incostress at Cardiff University Hospital.
How do you know if you have pelvic floor control?
When you pass urine, sit on the toilet, back straight, knees bent and if you can put a small foot stool at the base of the toilet please do so, now mid flow stop the urine. If you can do this, you are controlling the pelvic floor. This should not be practised too often.
Pelvic floor exercises should be carried out daily, regardless of your age.
There are many products on the market to help if you do experience bladder weakness. Using pads will only hide the problem and not solve it.
For more product information go to http://www.incostress.com
C&G Medicare Ltd UK will be bringing out a new product in 2012 designed to help women like Laura, using this product Laura should be able to return back to playing netball and be completely dry. They estimate mid March will be the launch of this revolutionary product.
In the meantime here is one of their other products. Take a look at the explanation. They are offering a special price £10.00 off Incostress when you buy 2. www.incostress.com If you and your friend discuss this, why not share the experience and both of you try to overcome this embarrassing problem together. Start speaking to each other about how to deal with pelvic floor weakness rather than hiding away behind embarrassment.
In the UK the normal TVT operation without follow up consultation costs the NHS around £3000 why go through all this expense when it can be solved without surgery.
Incostress not only controls the loss of urine keeping you constantly dry, it also gives you a chance to identify the pelvic floor muscles and exercise them, without the need to find a private place, without even need to take out precious hours from your day to exercise. With incostress you can exercise even whilst shopping ! Nobody needs to know.
Those with no pelvic floor control who need that extra help, C&G Medicare Ltd recommend the use of the Kegel8.