USE IT OR LOSE IT- Kegel Exercises

 

The Kegel  (named after Dr. Arnold Kegel) is the name for the exercise used to strengthen the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles that make up the pelvic floor.   These muscles act like a hammock that supports pelvic organs: the bladder, urethra, uterus, and bowel.

Why should women do Kegel exercises?

Factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, pelvic surgery (such as a cesarean section), being overweight, and the normal effects of aging can result in weakening of the PC muscles.  When these pelvic floor muscles weaken, the pelvic organs can descend and bulge into the vagina, a condition referred to as pelvic organ prolapse.  This condition can be associated with significant pelvic pressure and discomfort, and can contribute to leakage of urine or feces.  The PC muscles are like any other muscles in the body—If they do not get a regular “work out” they become weak and eventually atrophy.  Vaginal atrophy is a common problem for menopausal women.  So, this really is a “use it or lose it” phenomenon!  Doing Kegel exercises regularly can help reduce the risk of urinary/bowel leakage and incontinence.  Kegel exercises can also aid in the prevention and treatment of pelvic organ prolapse.   These exercises are commonly recommended for pregnant women to strengthen the pelvic floor in preparation for the later stages of pregnancy and vaginal childbirth.  Additionally, maintaining strong pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises can increase sexual satisfaction and orgasmic capacity. 

How do I do Kegel exercises?

The first step is finding and isolating the PC muscles.  One of the simplest ways to do this is to sit on the toilet and begin to urinate.  Try to stop the flow of urine midstream.  The muscles you contract in order to stop the flow of urine are the pelvic floor muscles.  Repeat this action several times until you become familiar with the sensation of contracting and relaxing these PC muscles.    Another technique is to insert a finger inside your vagina and try to squeeze the surrounding muscles.  If you are doing this correctly, you will be able to feel your vagina tighten when you squeeze and release as you relax.    Once you have identified the PC muscles, you are ready to start your Kegel workout:

·      Empty your bladder and get into a comfortable position (sitting or lying down)

·      Contract your pelvic floor muscles

·      Hold the contraction for four seconds and then relax for four seconds

·      Repeat 10 times, three times per day

·      Work up to contracting and relaxing for 10 seconds at a time, three times per day

No special “attire” required

The beauty of Kegel exercises is that they can be done anywhere at any time.  You don’t need to belong to a gym or own any fancy outfits in order to do them, and you won’t even break a sweat!   Only you and your vagina will know you’re exercising!

 

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When the Well Runs Dry

Last night , during one of my many periods of interrupted sleep, I turned on the television to distract me from the onslaught of “things” that race through my mind in the stillness of night. The first thing I saw was the all too familiar ad for Cialis. Picture this – a middle-aged man and woman in twin bathtubs, staring dreamily at the horizon, as the announcer expounds on the wonder drug for erectile dysfunction. Never once did I hear him say anything about the libido of the woman in the picture, but then again, this WAS an ad for men.

There ISN’T an ad like that for women, because up until recently, we women, in and past menopause had kept our sex drive, or lack of it, under wraps. Now that our partners can get it up and keep it up for hours at a time, we have an issue to discuss!
As many of you may or may not know, depending on your age, hair and skin are not the only things to dry up as we age. Oh yes ladies ( and gentlemen ), THAT too. Since vaginal dryness is not a subject that comes up much at the bridge table, on the golf course, or at cocktail parties, many of us suffer in silence, feeling betrayed by our bodies. This is supposed to be OUR time, with the kids out of the house, financial pressure substantially less than it was when we had young families, and more time to spend enjoying one another. Then along comes Menopause, and accompanying it, vaginal dryness, and the thin dry walls of our urinary tract. Ever wonder why you have recurrent urinary tract infections after Menopause? Wonder no more my friends. Vaginal dryness is one of the culprits. It makes perfect sense that loss of estrogen, coupled with vaginal dryness would take a lot of the credit for our feeling less than sexy, when our partners are “rarin to go”. WONDERFUL!

I’ll bet the researchers who discovered the wonder drugs for our guys were men. Did they forget it takes two to tango? Personally, I am against taking drugs when there is an alternative, or unless they are absolutely necessary to control protracted pain, or sustain life. So I am not advocating a “little blue pill” for us gals. My beef is that women in general, do not get the attention they need. There is very little public awareness about “female” problems, before, during or after Menopause. So lets go back to my first paragraph and the idyllic scene of the happy couple in the matching bathtubs. I would like to know that women my age get equal time and attention; that our needs are recognized, and TALKED ABOUT. What good is an old guy with a THREE HOUR erection, if his better half, sitting in the bathtub beside him is happy just to enjoy the sunset, read a good book, and go to sleep?

Any comments?

Tyrral

The woman is in the picture ... but not really!

The woman is in the picture ... but not really!

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Libido

Hello and welcome to this new and exciting FemMed blog on Libido and Sexual Health.  In the upcoming months we will explore many many topics related to sex and sexuality, including sex drive, sexual arousal, stimulation, orgasm, sexual “hang ups” and concerns, sexual dysfunction, sexual communication….basically, everything you ever wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask!!!  However, it is my hope that you won’t be afraid to ask questions in this blog.  For far too long women’s sexuality has been a “taboo” subject.  Many women have been afraid to speak out to their partners, friends and family, and maybe even their health care professionals about their sexual concerns– They wonder silently to themselves “am I normal…Is it just me…Do other women feel the same way as I do?”  Let’s break this silence.  My experience in working with clients has taught me that no matter what kind of sexual concern or question you have, you are definitely NOT alone.  In this blog, I invite you to ask questions (no matter how wacky or off-the-wall they may seem to you) and share your experiences.  Inquiring female minds want to know!  Now let’s get started: Ladies, start your engines!!!

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Welcome!

Hello and welcome to this new and exciting FemMed blog on Libido and Sexual Health.  In the upcoming months we will explore many many topics related to sex and sexuality, including sex drive, sexual arousal, stimulation, orgasm, sexual “hang ups” and concerns, sexual dysfunction, sexual communication….basically, everything you ever wanted to know about sex but were afraid to ask!!!  However, it is my hope that you won’t be afraid to ask questions in this blog.  For far too long women’s sexuality has been a “taboo” subject.  Many women have been afraid to speak out to their partners, friends and family, and maybe even their health care professionals about their sexual concerns– They wonder silently to themselves “am I normal…Is it just me…Do other women feel the same way as I do?”  Let’s break this silence.  My experience in working with clients has taught me that no matter what kind of sexual concern or question you have, you are definitely NOT alone.  In this blog, I invite you to ask questions (no matter how wacky or off-the-wall they may seem to you) and share your experiences.  Inquiring female minds want to know!  Now let’s get started: Ladies, start your engines!!!

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