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If you are a woman experiencing frequent urges to urinate, a “bulging” feeling in the pelvis or difficulty holding your urine, you are not alone. As many as one-third* of all U.S. women have similar symptoms at some point in their lifetime, from frequent “bathroom emergencies,” to urine or stool leakage with coughing and laughing. Understandably, many women are reluctant to exercise or take part in social functions for fear of embarrassment. Other women have symptoms of being uncomfortable while sitting or feel a low heaviness in their pelvis, and yet, despite these discomforts and fears, many are embarrassed and suffer in secret.
If this sounds familiar, here is some good news: these conditions are medically treatable. And now, you can get the care and proper treatment you need at PacMed.
Using the most current and minimally invasive techniques, Dr. Wasserman offers his patients both surgical and non-surgical treatments for these and other pelvic floor disorders. Non-surgical treatment options may include medication or physical therapy. Says Dr. Wasserman, “My goal is to individualize care for my patients and address their specific expectations in regards to management of pelvic and bladder conditions.”
In particular, Dr. Wasserman aims to restore comfort, function and quality of life to women who are dealing with:
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- Protruding tissue
- Urinary incontinence (leakage)
- Frequent or urgent urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
- Inability to empty bowels
- Vaginal or uterine prolapse
- Cystocele (“bladder drop”)
- Enterocele (a sagging uterus in women who have had a hysterectomy)
- Rectocele (a sagging or bulging of the rectum)
- Urinary incontinence due to stress, an overactive bladder or both
“Some people think these symptoms are normal signs of aging, but they’re not,” says Dr. Wasserman. “Because these symptoms may be caused by infection, inflammation, injury or other such factors, it’s important to determine the cause and promptly treat the problem.”
If you are one of the millions of women affected by a pelvic floor disorder, you’ll find excellent, sensitive care at PacMed. Dr. Wasserman and his urogynecology team look forward to helping you return to the activities you love so you can live your best life.
For both men and women, the "pelvic floor” is a sling-like system of muscles, “pelvic floor” is a sling-like system of muscles, ligaments and connective tissue. In women, it supports the bladder, uterus, vagina, intestines and rectum. Proper support of these organs is necessary for them to function properly.
The pelvic floor can be weakened or damaged by stress, such as childbirth or heavy lifting, as well as through complications of diseases and trauma, including diabetes, obesity, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and back injury.
The three most common pelvic floor disorders are pelvic organ prolapse (dropping) and trouble with bladder or bowel control. These are not inevitable results of aging, nor are these changes “normal.” If you are experiencing these symptoms, tell your primary care physician or call Dr. Wasserman's office at 206-323-4876.
Pelvic floor muscles, like other muscles, can be made stronger through resistance exercise. These Kegel exercises, when done throughout the day, can help you to regain or improve bladder control and reduce the chances of incontinence.
If you are unsure whether you are doing the exercises correctly, our physical therapists can provide feedback. They also can help you set up a bladder retraining program to lessen urinary urges. However, if you are having any of the symptoms described on this page, please tell your doctor and get a proper diagnosis.
With an empty bladder, contract your pelvic floor muscles (as if you were stopping the flow of urine) for 5 seconds. Now relax 5 seconds. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions. Do this 10 to 20 times in a row or more, at least three times a day. Again, you might need to start slower and work your way up.
The more you can do, the better the results.
Note: Do not regularly practice Kegel exercises by starting and stopping your urine stream, as this can actually weaken the pelvic floor muscles.