Pelvic floor dysfunction affects many women, men, and children and can have a seriously detrimental effect on quality of life. Pelvic pain, prolapse, and urinary & bowel urgency/incontinence can result from too tight or too weak pelvic floor muscles, or some combination of the two.
Most of us have heard of Kegels: a muscle training technique that involves contracting the pelvic floor muscles. Many people will start doing Kegels when they are experiencing bladder or bowel incontinence. However, Kegels are only appropriate if the incontinence is caused by weak pelvic floor muscles.
But, what if your incontinence is the result of an overactive pelvic floor? Kegels would be exactly the opposite exercise you’d need. Imagine that you have a very tight biceps muscle and this tightness is causing some pain or discomfort. Doing repeated sets of biceps curls would only add to your discomfort. What you’d need is a stretching and lengthening of that muscle. Just like that biceps muscle, there are pelvic floor muscles that need lengthening if your incontinence is caused by an overly tight pelvic floor.
How can you tell if your symptoms are caused by weak or tight pelvic floor muscles? A proper assessment with someone trained in pelvic floor therapy is vital. Then an appropriate, comprehensive treatment plan can be put together to help improve your symptoms of incontinence.
Pelvic floor rehabilitation can help to decrease pain, relieve symptoms, and improve function and quality of life. Don’t delay. Reach out for help today. Better health may be just around the corner.
Dr Nicki Marksteiner is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, ON who focuses on all things pelvic in her practice, from pelvic floor rehabilitation to digestive health to women’s & men’s wellness. She currently works at Northstar Naturopathic Clinic at 804 Bloor St W. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Besides being the month in which Valentine's Day occurs, February is officially Heart Health month. Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of deaths in adults in Canada despite all the knowledge we have about its prevention. Indeed, there is good evidence that eating a Mediterranean diet helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. So eating mostly plant-based foods, healthy fats (think olives, seeds, nuts, avocado), along with lean protein and small amounts of whole grains is a wise choice for your heart. Being physically active every day, sitting less and quitting smoking are all powerful changes to improve heart health too. Working with your naturopath, along with getting acupuncture and massage treatments, all provide effective support for making these changes in your lifestyle.
In recent years, research has confirmed that people with strong social connections are physically healthier, live longer and less likely to develop complications from heart disease. So keeping your emotional heart open and actively involved with others helps to ensure that your physical heart remains healthy. In traditional Chinese medicine, too, the Heart is associated with the emotions of joy as well as anxiety. Regularly engaging in activities that bring you joy can actually improve your heart, in addition to reducing anxiety. As well, even though Winter can be a time to nest indoors, consider reaching out to friends and family as a proven way to keep your heart healthy.
The Northstar team is always eager to help you achieve your health goals. Feel free to book an appointment with any one (or all) of our practitioners (Naturopaths, Massage therapist, Shiatsu therapist, and Acupuncturist) to explore your treatment options. As well, we always appreciate your referrals of friends and family!
Be Well & Happy February!