Beyond Kegels: Keeping Your Pelvic Floor in ShapeJul 01, 2022 06:49PM ● By Deborah De Marta
Leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, or even laugh at the latest meme can happen when your pelvic floor muscles receive more pressure than they can handle. Millions of people suffer from personal issues such as urinary incontinence, constipation and impaired sexual health which can be uncomfortable for people to talk about. However, these are very common medical problems that when treated can improve quality of life.
The pelvic floor muscles are located between the tailbone and the pubic bone within the pelvis. They act like a hammock supporting your bladder, colon, rectum, vagina, cervix and uterus. A strong pelvic floor can prevent bladder and bowel incontinence, prolapse and is also important in supporting sexual function.
The pelvic floor can be weakened by pregnancy, childbirth, prostate cancer treatment, obesity and the straining of chronic constipation. Symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include pelvic pressure or fullness, the frequent urge to urinate or painful urination, urinary leakage, urinary incontinence, lower back pain, constipation, difficulties with bowel movements, or bowel leakage, difficulty emptying the bladder and pain with sexual intercourse.
Treatment options can include Kegel exercises and pelvic floor physical therapy which can help strengthen the muscles that support the pelvic organs. There is also a non-invasive, non-surgical therapy appropriate for weak pelvic floor muscles delivered by the Emsella Chair. This FDA-cleared device uses HIFEM (High Intensity Focused Electromagnetic) energy to stimulate and contract the pelvic floor muscles to strengthen the pelvic floor. But unlike performing regular Kegel exercises, the stimulation occurs at a pace higher than the time it takes for your muscles to relax, thereby intensifying the efficacy in strengthening the pelvic floor. The Emsella Chair engages the voluntary and involuntary muscles at 11,200 supramaximal contractions over 28 minutes, many more than can be done naturally with exercises.
During the 28-minute treatment, patients remain fully clothed while they sit and relax. Most patients undergo a series of six treatments, two per week for three weeks as the pelvic floor gradually becomes stronger with each treatment.
It is important to consult a medical professional to determine the source of pelvic floor dysfunction and the best treatment option. Lifestyle factors including diet and exercise may also be incorporated to reduce pressure on the pelvic floor and to help maintain the results of a strengthening treatment.
Deborah DeMarta, MD, FACS, FAARFM is a board-certified General, Aesthetic and Colorectal Surgeon who specializes in Integrative, Functional, Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medicine. The Institute of Health & Wellness, 218 Atlanta Avenue, Stuart. 772-539-9556. InstituteHealthWellness.com.