Monday, March 15, 2010
InCONTINEN(T)ce: Putting the urge to pee back on the map
My colleague, Myra Siminovitch, Physiotherapist, treats conditions such as osteoporosis and incontinence. She tells us that many adult women and men suffer from incontinence. No, this is not some kind of geographical displacement, although it certainly feels like it when you can’t find a bathroom! Rather, it is the involuntary loss of urine (pee). This can happen when we cough, sneeze, laugh, jump, run, laugh (Did I already say laugh?) and it often catches us off guard. We suddenly feel this warm leaky sensation that is not a heated car seat (By the way, have you ever second-guessed yourself when the driver has quietly activated the electric leather seat warmers in her new Volvo?).
It’s just awful really…in our 40’s we are done with diaper changes! So what is this all about, this sneak attack of the bladder, reminding us of its presence in an oh-so-inconvenient way? I mean, what karmic burden is this about? I wonder as I think back to any lag in response times changing my son’s diaper so many years ago. But I digress…Never mind, I might as well just wait for some information leak to find that answer! Oh and it is important to note that men suffer from incontinence too! Prostate surgery can lead to incontinence in men. The whole mess is just that: messy…and distressing, and embarrassing, not to mention putting a damper on your quality of life!
There is good news, a silver lining in that rain cloud if you will. You can do something about incontinence. First of all, Myra says void completely when you pee (Funny thing is I do that when I laugh!). Didn’t we tell our kids that way back? Okay, check! We can wear discrete pads. Myra recommends TENA pads for their specialized absorbency and minimal environmental footprint. Check! Although Myra says that pads should not be our first line of defense. And finally, remember those Kegel exercises your Gyne prescribed after childbirth, the ones we said “Yeah. Yeah.” to as we shyly took the explanatory paper with no intention of ever doing those things (What are they anyway?) and never did them, or felt the need to do them. And anyway, how many men get sent home after childbirth with that directive?
But now we’re in a different territory, on a different continent called Incontinence. So we scrabble around in our boxes of baby memorabilia to find that magic formula…or we just hit Google and type “Kegels.” But wait! This is an exercise that you can do very discretely while waiting in line at the bank, or at the grocery checkout or in your doctor’s office (See my first post called Wait Mode—you get the picture!). Kegel exercises involve the deliberate tightening--now cover your eyes, all you minors!—of the sphincter muscle of the anus while standing. They help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, and lo and beHOLD, stop the involuntary release of pee!