Essential Reading for the Whole Woman
Incontinence impacts the lives of millions of women. If you suffer with stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or over-active bladder (OAB), or just want to prevent developing these embarrassing and difficult conditions in the future, you're in the right place.
Back in the early 1990s, I underwent bladder suspension surgery, which resulted in profound uterine prolapse. I was fortunate. I refused further surgery and was blessed to have ultimately solved the prolapse problem, which has benefitted thousands of women all over the world.
However, it is important for you to understand that there is no safe surgery for urinary incontinence, and the same dynamics that cause urinary incontinence often lead to pelvic organ prolapse as well.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, about 25% to 45% of women suffer from urinary incontinence, defined as leakage at least once in the past year.
The rates of urinary incontinence seem to increase with age: 20%-30% of young women, 30%-40% of middle-aged women, and up to 50% of older women suffer from urinary incontinence. That’s 50 million women in the US alone. Bear in mind these statistics do not reflect the millions of women whose urinary continence systems have been compromised by hysterectomy and other pelvic surgeries.
In its original health, the lower urinary tract is astonishingly complex and effective, working tirelessly day and night to store and void urine. But for many modern women, it becomes less effective over time.
As is usually the case for chronic conditions, the medical system treats incontinence as a disease to be dealt with using their normal array of weapons: drugs and surgery.
The drugs are notorious for their awful side effects, and the surgeries are highly dangerous, often leaving women much worse off than they were before the operation.
It turns out that proper pelvic alignment not only is the path to resolution of prolapse and chronic hip pain, it also plays the essential role in regaining control of your continence system so your urine stays where it belongs until the proper time and place to release it. Additionally, there is a highly specific form of strengthening that restores function of the muscles and ligaments responsible for continence. This has nothing to do with kegels.
As I have proven with thousands of women who are successfully managing their prolapse, you can regain control of your bladder and avoid dangerous drugs and surgeries. Like so many chronic conditions, incontinence can be stabilized and reversed over time.
And it doesn’t take much time with these completely new and revolutionary techniques. Urinary incontinence is related to prolapse, and a condition that plagues millions of women around the world.
If you have bouts of incontinence, such as leakage when you cough, sneeze, laugh or run, you have stress urinary incontinence, or SUI. If you find yourself racing for the bathroom unexpectedly, losing urinary control in your sleep, or prone to frequent urge to urinate, you have over-active bladder, or OAB symptoms. While not life threatening, incontinence is definitely quality of life threatening.
Regaining control of this function is increasingly important as we get older. If incontinence is restricting our activities, we run the risk of physical, emotional and mental decline.
You can regain control of your body and your life, but you will have to do three things to accomplish this.
First, you need education to understand what is really going on with your anatomy. Sure, you can put yourself in the hands of a doctor and hope that he/she will use their expertise to do the right thing.
However, you and your doctor have a conflict of interest. He or she wants to do surgery, because that’s where the money is. Sad but true.
Secondly, you will need support. You will have questions, concerns, uncertainties. At Whole Woman we understand this and provide our online Community, have our network of Whole Woman Practitioners, and of course I continue to work with women over the phone, video, and in-person. So the support infrastructure is there in place for you. You are not alone.
Finally, you have to be prepared to experiment and change your behavior. If you think about incontinence as your body’s cry for help, you will realize that it is time to start listening and adapting your behavior and learning how your body responds.
Human beings are like trains. We get set on a track, doing what we have always done in the past, and then wonder why conditions in our lives don’t improve.
Creating health requires reassessment of your diet, exercise, and postural habits. You need to be willing to change tracks. Sometimes that means letting go of cherished foods or traditions. But your body will tell you if you are on the right track.
If you are a married or partnered woman, it's even more challenging to make these kinds of changes because they impact the life of your significant other. For the married or partnered woman, changing your diet and lifestyle is a team effort.
You need to work on this together. Even if that means confronting the awkwardness of revealing the existence of your incontinence for the first time to your spouse or partner.
In my experience, when you face these kinds of challenges together, you divide and share the load. Not only does this make the work easier for you, it creates a powerful bond in the relationship.
But once you have learned the root causes of your incontinence, mastered Whole Woman posture, and my specialized exercise program for incontinence, you will be well on your way to regaining and maintaining control.
No more worrying about leakage when you cough, sneeze, or run.
No more making sure you know where the restrooms are when you go to a store in case the sudden and overwhelming urge to urinate strikes.
No more worrying about the risk of humiliation if your leak becomes visible through your clothes.
No more bulky and uncomfortable pads and diapers.
Just freedom to laugh, cry, sneeze, run, jump, and fully enjoy this blessed (if sometimes challenging) life!
Women often ask "How long will it take to restore continence?" The answer is simple and driven by how committed you are to restoring your natural posture and doing your exercises.
Neither are difficult, but both take time and attention.
Central to all Whole Woman work is the concept of self-care. That means, often for the first time in your life, taking full responsibility for your health.
In practice, self-care means learning to listen to your body and running experiments to see what helps and what doesn't. When you break with the tradition in which we've all been raised, "Don't listen to your body, listen to the man/woman in the white coat who has all the answers" you will begin to realize that your body will teach you what you need to know if you just listen.