Women's Health

Struggling with Incontinence? Here Are 3 Mistakes We See Women Make

Struggling with incontinence can often feel like an isolating and lonely problem. Women don’t talk about it or admit to it, rather it is swept under the rug or joked about in passing. 43% of women ages 50-64 struggle with leaking and 51% of women ages 65-80. Two-thirds of those women have not asked for advice from a healthcare provider for what to do about it. Here are the three most common mistakes our specialist see women in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s make who are struggling to manage incontinence on their own.

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#1 Going “Just in Case”

Do you go to the bathroom every time you pick up your keys to leave the house? If this sounds like you, stop going the bathroom “just in case.” Going to the bathroom too often and before your bladder is full can trigger your brain to start signalling you that it is time to pee well before you actually need to. The signal is sent that your bladder is full when it really isn’t. This can create a pattern urgency and urge incontinence. Also, break the habit of having your kids or grandkids do this as well. Their little bladders are susceptible to the same conditioning and problems as adult bladders.


#2 Not Drinking Enough Fluids

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You stop drinking or drink too little to avoid filling up your bladder to avoid leaks. Drinking too little causes the urine in your bladder to be extremely concentrated. Concentrated urine leads to bladder irritation, urge to go, and pain. Your urine will look dark yellow in color if it is concentrated and closer to light yellow or clear when it is diluted. If your pee look more like orange juice than lemonade your next stop is the kitchen to get a glass of water.


#3 Straining on the Toilet

Your pelvic floor muscles need to be completely relaxed when you urinate to completely empty your bladder. Leaving urine in your bladder can lead to irritation, infection, and a whole other host of problems. Straining when you are pooping is equally as bad and can contribute to incontinence. We recommend if you are someone who strains on the toilet to support your feet with a stool and our favorite the Squatty Potty. This squat like position “unkinks” your hose and makes it easier to completely empty. Peeing should look like a garden hose watering flowers (steady and constant) and not like a fireman putting out a wildfire (pushing hard for speed or distance).


What can I START doing?

Grab our Freebie: “5 Tips to Eliminate Incontinence Safely and Naturally”

You will learn 5 simple steps, from Dr. Anne Madden, a women’s health physical therapist, that you can START doing today to become leak free naturally and safely.


Is my Diastasis Recti treatable?

Hi Ladies! Are you a busy mom who is struggling with a condition like diastasis recti (abdominal separation)? Any mother who has been asked, “When is your baby due?” AFTER she has already had her baby completely understands this and how frustrating it can be.

IS MY DIASTASIS RECTI TREATABLE?

The answer is yes, if you focus on identifying the factors contributing to your diastasis recti symptoms and perform the RIGHT exercises and strategies for YOU. This is why a generic fitness program of exercises will not work for many women. Our specialists see many contributing factors like scar tissue, intra-abdominal pressure problems and rib flare to name a few. Many women have more than one factor making recovery not so straight forward.

Individual treatment sessions are the gold standard for diastasis healing and strength and will speed your recovery compared to generic exercises. Our goal is to reduce your symptoms by making you stronger doing the activities you need or want to do not eliminating those activities from your life.

Each woman is as unique as the baby she has welcomed into the world and our treatment of mothers needs to reflect this
— Anne Madden, Founder of Proximity Telehealth

WHERE DO I START?

Breathing! We always start with breathing. I know what you are thinking. That isn’t an exercise…is it? Yes it actually is. Your diaphragm, the muscle that controls breathing, is active 24/7. Breathing significantly affects how you use the rest of your core system. Click on the video below to learn from Dr. Anne Madden, a women’s health physical therapist, what a “360 breath” looks like and how to do it.


What’s next? Join our “Diastasis Recti Challenge”

Don't Ignore Your Pelvic Floor

What difference does a good foundation make?

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About a year our house was completed, we noticed large diagonal cracks were forming above the doors. We patched the cracks and then three months later noticed they reappeared and were slowly getting bigger and bigger. Nail pops in the ceiling came next, followed by doors that would no longer open or close correctly.

Time to call in the experts

What is going on here? Why do these issues keep reappearing and getting worse? We quickly realized that we needed help. We needed experts to assess what was really going on. We called in foundation experts who performed all kinds of tests and determined the symptoms we were seeing, the cracks and misaligned doors, were caused by a faulty foundation.

What does this have to do with my pelvic floor?

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We see the same type of pattern in our bodies. The foundation of your body (your pelvis and pelvic floor) need to be functioning well to support the rest of your house (shoulders, knees, neck, etc). When your foundation is faulty, the pain and symptoms can be felt in body parts that are far from the problem site. These symptoms are like the nail pops and cracks in my house and cannot be resolved without correcting and maintaining your alignment. We know that your body is not in a static position all day long (or shouldn't be) so we need a healthy pelvis and pelvic floor to function during our movement/work/daily activities. Once you have a healthy foundation in place, you have a solid base from which your arms and legs can work.

Time to get to work

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Good news for you! Physical therapists are the foundation experts for the body. We assess your normal standing and sitting alignment and pelvic floor function. We teach you how to find your ideal alignment to get your pelvic floor activated and stabilizing your pelvis. I refer to this as your "home base." In the beginning, we teach you to start from home base before you move and over time your body will naturally return to this new home base without consciously thinking about it. Like with our house, you may need professional guidance or expertise to figure out how to adjust your foundation or change your habits to maximize the ability to use your body in pain free ways. Have you tried to spot fix your body only to have the pain return or new pains begin?

If this sounds like you...It might be time to call in an expert.

Get started right now

Kegels Not Working For You? 3 Reasons Why

If you are a woman, chances are you and kegels have crossed paths before. Kegels have traditionally been the ONLY exercise prescribed to women trying to recover after giving birth. Unfortunately, studies have shown that pelvic floor muscle training programs (kegels) are successful for only about 55% of women. So what about the other 45%?

I have been a physical therapist for over thirteen years and own a practice focused on women returning to activities they love with a healthy pelvic floor. Our specialists know that there is so much more to offer women than just one exercise. Here are the top 3 reasons we see kegels fail for women and what else women can do to recover!

1. PELVIC FLOOR WEAKNESS IS NOT ACTUALLY YOUR PROBLEM

Traditional pelvic floor exercises, such as kegels, treat the symptom of the pelvic floor weakness. But is your pelvic floor actually weak? Or is your problem that the communication between your brain and the pelvic floor has been disrupted due to having a baby, having surgery, changing medication, trauma, or having been on bed rest?  With the women I work with, I want to discover why the pelvic floor is not functioning correctly before prescribing exercises.

2. YOUR PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES MAY BE TOO TIGHT

Many women have pelvic floor muscles that are too tight. Performing a kegel exercise on top of an already too tight muscle will only make it tighter. A tight, short pelvic floor that cannot relax then becomes weak and can cause symptoms of incontinence and pelvic pain.

3. THE TIMING AND STRENGTH OF YOUR KEGEL

A healthy pelvic floor responds automatically to stress from gravity, movement activities, and increased pressure in your abdomen. Your pelvic floor should react differently depending on the type of challenge. For example, your pelvic floor will need a stronger contraction when you are lifting your toddler vs. lifting a pencil. Training the pelvic floor with proper timing and with proper force is essential for healthy function. A traditional kegel trains your pelvic floor to react one way and when you are laying or sitting. Most women have symptoms of pelvic floor problems when they are up and moving. We need to train the muscles to react correctly in the movements where the symptoms happen.

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