'

GET ACTIVE

Encourage others to start talking and gain control of their bladder health!  We've made it simple for you to share National Bladder Health Week news, resources, tips and tools with your friends, family and healthcare providers.  We have a variety of  simple activities you can choose from to promote awareness of bladder health.  They are cut and paste one of the sample newsletter or emails below.

28 Society Street
Charleston, SC, 29401
United States

800-252-3337

NAFC is a non-profit offering resources for #incontinence, #bladderleakage, bedwetting, OAB, SUI, nocturia, neurogenic bladder, and pelvic floor disorders.

INCONTINENCE STORIES FROM EXPERTS AND REAL PEOPLE | BHEALTH

Log in daily to learn tips about #incontinence, #bladder leakage, overcoming symptoms, and first hand accounts from experts and patients.

 

ASK THE EXPERT: Is It Safe To Have Sex With A Vaginal Prolapse?

Sarah Jenkins

Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question: Is it safe to have sex if you have a vaginal prolapse?

Answer: Yes! A prolapse occurs when a woman’s vaginal wall weakens and collapses, causing the uterus, rectum or bladder to fall into the vagina. However, in most cases, it is completely fine to have sex as long as the woman feels comfortable.  And, having sex when you have a prolapse will not cause any harm to the bladder, rectum or uterus, nor will it make the prolapse worse.

Some women with a prolapsed organ may feel some slight discomfort during sex. Using lubricant can help, as well as ensuring your pelvic floor is completely relaxed before you begin. Trying other positions may also alleviate any pain you are experiencing too. Talk with your partner about what feels best for you.

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Contact us!

Donate to NAFC

Is a Pelvic Floor Exerciser For You? Read Our Thoughts And A Review Of Three Popular Products That Claim To Improve Pelvic Floor Strength

Sarah Jenkins

Pelvic floor toner, pelvic floor exerciser

We’ve all heard the age-old advice that doing kegels are good for us.  And for the majority of people, they are. Kegels, when done along side other workout moves, can help tone and strengthen the pelvic floor, making leaks less likely.  And if that doesn’t mean much to you, consider this: experts say that a stronger pelvic floor can help make orgasms more intense, heightening sexual sensation.

The problem many people face is doing kegels correctly. The nature of kegels makes it hard to know if you’re tightening (and releasing!) the right muscles.  That’s where kegel exercisers come in. This new-ish breed of exercise equipment helps you to know exactly how you are performing in the kegel department.  Here’s a breakdown of three devices that are currently on the market:

Elvie

Elvie is a popular device that allows you to literally do your pelvic floor workout anywhere. It’s the smallest kegel tracker available and uses a combination app to track your progress. Elvie is made up of medical-grade silicone and has multiple sensors that measure force and help you see your efforts on screen, so women can visualize their kegel exercises in real-time. Elvie even corrects your lift technique, as 30% of women push down which can lead to damage. There are three levels – beginner, intermediate, and advanced. When you first set your Elvie up, you’ll run through a series of tests to gauge your strength, and then will begin advancing through the different levels as you progress, making the tool fun and challenging.  Each work out only takes 5 minutes, and as you move up in levels you unlock more games and challenges.  Elvie is priced at $199 and can be ordered online through the product’s website.

 

PeriCoach

PeriCoach is an FDA-cleared device that, similar to Elvie, uses sensors to guide you through a pelvic floor training session. Like the Elvie, PeriCoach syncs up to an app on your smartphone.  The app ques the user to squeeze and relax against the PeriCoach, and the contractions of the muscles are detected displaying activity on the smartphone app, showing your progress overtime. The tool also allows you to document your results, which may be useful if you’d like to share them with a doctor or PT. A recent report from PeriCoach showed that the device improved incontinence symptoms in up to 70% of users. PeriCoach is available for $249 at http://www.pericoach.com.

 

Yarlap

Yarlap is another pelvic floor exerciser, but this one does much of the work for you. It’s an FDA cleared pelvic floor stimulator that instructs your pelvic floor muscles to gently contract and relax in order to show you how a Kegel exercise should actually feel.  The difference between Yarlap vs. Elvie and Pericoach is that the Yarlap does the workout for you. It uses a technology called AutoKegel, which perfomrs the Kegel exercises comfortably, correctly, and easily to help you regain muscle tone.  Yarlap consists of a probe, which is inserted into the vagina, and is attached to a display unit, which you can program based on your needs. Yarlap is priced at $299 and can be purchased at http://www.yarlap.com.

A word of caution when considering an electronic device for kegels:  Kegels aren’t for everyone, and for some women who have pelvic floors that are too tight, they can even be harmful.  It’s just as important for the pelvic floor to be able to relax as it is for it to be able to contract, so use these devices with caution, and, preferably, with the guidance of a physical therapist specialized in the pelvic floor.  And, because the pelvic floor connects to many muscles in the body, they shouldn’t be done in isolation. It’s important to strengthen your entire core to ensure that everything is working together, and one muscle isn’t overly taxed during your day-to-day activities.  This is where a trained physical therapist can really help customize your workout.

Have you ever tried a pelvic floor exerciser? What were your results? 

Talking With Your Loved One About Incontinence

Sarah Jenkins

Talking With Your Loved One About Incontinence

Talking about incontinence is never easy. Whether you are the one experiencing it, or someone close to you has been exhibiting symptoms, it is a conversation that most dread. However, sharing this struggle with a loved one is perhaps one of the best things you can do in your path to recovery. With a little advanced planning, a deep breath, and some honesty you’ll be able to get past this and move on to the next (and more productive) phase of this struggle – treatment.

When you’re the one struggling with incontinence.

Believe it or not, you may actually be on the easier end of this conversation. As embarrassing as it may feel to open up to someone about this, if you are ready to do so, you have likely accepted that this has become a problem and are ready to receive support. And who better to provide that support than a trusted friend or loved one? Opening up to someone may not only provide you with the physical help you need, but also lift an emotional weight off your shoulders. You don’t have to suffer through this alone.

When your loved one has incontinence.

If you’ve been noticing that a loved one seems to be having problems with incontinence, it may be time to talk with them about it to see how open they are to treatment. This can sometimes be difficult – it is very likely that the person knows they have a problem, but may be too embarrassed to talk to anyone or do anything about it. Depending on your relationship, it can also be hard for your loved one to admit. For instance, a father who is cared for by his son or daughter may feel too proud to discuss this with his kids.  Start the conversation slowly by asking them about their general health, then move on to some of the signs of incontinence that you’ve noticed. Be prepared – they may get defensive and try to hide the problem. If that happens, try again. Be patient with them and try to be as accepting and understanding as possible. In time, they will likely open up to you once they see that your intentions are good and you are there to support them.

Our last tip? Get some advice from those who have been there and understand. As life changing as it may be, you are not the only one in the world who has ever struggled with this condition. Whether you are looking to reach out to others who are experiencing it, or others who care for an incontinent loved one, there are many people out there who are discussing their problems on message boards and online forums. Check out the NAFC message boards to get some tips on how others have touched on this delicate subject.

Gender Neutral Pelvic Floor Tips

Steve Gregg

Simply stated - the pelvic floor isn’t just a female thing - it is a muscular sling supporting the pelvic and abdominal organs of men and women.  The pelvic floor helps keep us dry.  According to an earlier blog post, more than 50 percent of men over the age of 60 experience bladder control issues due to an enlarged prostate.  

Before I share my best pelvic floor tips for both sexes, we need to agree on the following three truths: strengthening a weak pelvic floor may improve bladder control and confidence, utilizing my tips in conjunction with seeing your healthcare provider will create the most optimal effect, and it’s important to allow yourself to have a bad day here and there.  

My best pelvic floor tips?

  • Start a Bladder or Bowel Diary 

    For a week, keep track of your trips to the bathroom, your leaks and how much and what you are drinking.  Note any trends with fluid intake, time of day and activity level in relation to using the bathroom and your leaks.  Your documentation may help your health care provider order tests, make a more accurate diagnosis or prompt a referral to a specialist.

    But, please consider what you can do with the information.  Are there any trends you are seeing?  Do you have more problems in the morning, afternoon or evening?  Do you need to space out your fluid intake?  You may be able to cue into changes that may positively impact your bladder control and confidence.  

  • Drink more water and consider cutting down on alcohol and caffeine

    Many newly incontinent persons incorrectly assume if there is less water in the system there will be less water to pass.   Cutting out water, or significantly decreasing water consumption, while continuing to consume alcohol and caffeine at normal previous levels may aggravate the bladder and make the leakage problems worse.  Hydration with plain, old water is one of the keys to improved bladder function.  

    And, revisit your diary – it may be possible that alcohol or caffeine may be a trigger to your leakage pattern.  Do you need notice you have more problems with bladder control after a glass or two of coffee or your favorite cocktail?  

  • Kegels

    Yes – we need to talk about this.  Men can do Kegels and should do Kegels to improve bladder control.  Kegels are not just meant for women.  Repetitively performing Kegels will improve pelvic floor muscle function, strength and endurance.  Kegels should be a habit like brushing your teeth. The truth of the matter is - if your pelvic floor muscles are in better space they will be better able to support you and keep you dry.  

    Here are some cues that may help you or your loved one perform a Kegel.   

    • Return to the idea that pelvic floor is a muscular sling.  It supports your abdominal and pelvic organs kind of like a hammock running along the base of pelvis – front to back and side to side.

    • Gently pull the pelvic floor up and in towards your navel as if trying to protect yourself from a blow to the belly.  When you do this – you may feel a gentle tightening of the muscles underneath your navel.  Your tailbone may gently rises up and in.  Continue your normal breath.  Keep in mind, the Kegel, I am recommending is not 100% effort but a gentle tightening of the muscular sling.

    • Continue breathing and hold the Kegel for a few seconds.  Then gradually relax.  Repeat until you’re fatigued or have completed your goal.

That concludes my list of my best pelvic floor tips. What are your best practices?

About the Author, Michelle Herbst:   I am a wife and mother with a passion of helping women live to their fullest potential.  I am a women’s health physical therapist and for nearly decade have helped women with musculoskeletal conditions during their pregnancies, postpartum period and into their golden years.

About the Author, Michelle Herbst:   I am a wife and mother with a passion of helping women live to their fullest potential.  I am a women’s health physical therapist and for nearly decade have helped women with musculoskeletal conditions during their pregnancies, postpartum period and into their golden years.

Why Do I Feel Like I Need To Pee During Sex? 3 Ways To Overcome It.

Sarah Jenkins

pee during sex

If you’ve ever had the feeling that you’re going to wet yourself during the act, you’re not alone. Many women report feeling this sensation – even those that don’t normally experience incontinence. The main reason this typically occurs is the pressure that is put onto the bladder by the penis. Here are 3 ways to help you eliminate the feeling:

  1. Empty your bladder before you have sex. One of the simplest solutions to ensure you aren’t going to have a leak is to use the bathroom prior to doing the deed. This will ensure that even if you feel pressure, your bladder will be empty, greatly reducing the chance of an accident. (This will probably reduce your fears about it too, so you can actually enjoy yourself!)
  2. Try a change in position.  Sometimes, a simple position change can do the trick to eliminate the sensation. Experiment with your partner to see what sexual position feels best for you.
  3. Experiment on your own to see what works best for you.  Some women feel the sensation to pee before having an orgasm. To know if your fears are really a precursor to pleasure, spend some alone time exploring your body with your fingers or a small vibrator. When you feel the sensation to pee, keep going. If it passes, you know that it is just the way your body reacts to the sensation and you’ll be able to better tell in the future between actually having to pee and being on the verge of experiencing an orgasm.

Incorporating pelvic floor exercises into your general workout routine - 3 best moves to add now.

Sarah Jenkins

A guest blog written by Michelle Herbst, PT

 

Pelvic Floor Exercises, or Kegels, is the contraction of the muscles between the pubic bone and tailbone. When a pelvic floor exercise is performed, the person should feel a gentle tightening and lifting sensation in the lower abdomen and perineum. The pelvic floor muscle contraction is complete when the muscles relax and let go of the contraction.

Please keep in mind these tips when performing a pelvic floor exercise to protect yourself from undue harm. One, you must be able to maintain your breath and therefore be able to inhale and exhale while performing a Kegel and avoid breath holding or bearing down. Two, your muscular effort should be around 75 to 80 percent. If you are exerting 100 percent effort, you are likely using the pelvic floor muscles and many other muscle groups as well.

There are many variations and progressions of a Kegel exercise. Here are few ideas to help you incorporate pelvic floor exercises into your daily routines.

Exercise One: Kegel Progression

The pelvic floor muscles are made of two muscle fiber types – fast and slow. Therefore, Kegels can be progressed by varying the hold time and intensity of the muscle contraction. One of my favorite progressions is simply lengthening the hold time followed by a few quick pelvic floor contractions. For example, a Kegel can be held for 5 seconds followed by 5 quick contractions. This Kegel Combo can be done in any position – seated, standing or lying down. It can be done to the beat of music while seated at a stop light or at the end of a cardio or lifting session when you are your mat working the abdominal exercises.

Exercise Two: Kegel with Breath Work

Yoga is the all the rage and you my find your zen when performing a Kegal with breath work. While your yoga instructor is cueing you in inhale and exhale think about what your pelvic floor. Typically, during focused breathing such as in a Yoga Class, there is always slight tension on the pelvic floor. However, you further engage the pelvic floor muscles when you forcibly exhale. During this type of exhalation, the pelvic floor muscles tighten further along with our deep abdominal muscles to push the air up and out of our lungs. Try it. It may transform your yoga practice.

Exercise Three: Kegel with Plank

Plank. It is a much loved and hated exercise. It is a great way to fully engage our core. And, to reap the benefits of the plank - you must focus on the pelvic floor. If your wrists and feet can tolerate a full plank – go for it! If you need to modify, do a half-plank on your knees. Or, try a wall plank by standing with your feet an arms-length away from the wall and placing your hands on the wall.

Here are a few head to toe cues to get you planking.

When in plank, the hands are stacked under the elbows and shoulders. The chin is slightly tucked lengthening the back of the neck. Your shoulder blades are pulled down and back towards the spine. The chest opens and the pelvis is slightly lifted. Your legs are hip width apart. In full plank, your ankles are 90 degrees as you weight bear through the toes. Now, draw your focus to your pelvic floor muscles.  When you tighten the Kegel muscles, you may feel like your tailbone lift up and in. Hold your plank and breathe. Smile too – you just may enjoy how strong you feel.

Michelle Herbst, PT

Michelle Herbst, PT

Bladder Health and Sex

Steve Gregg

Understanding what is normal during sex and what is unusual can be challenging. After all, sex is a very private experience and differs for every person. Generally speaking, there is no reason for your bladder to empty during sex or for you to feel extreme discomfort or experience pain during sex.

As you can guess, the health of your bladder can directly affect your sex life. 

Two common reasons individuals experience pain or discomfort with their bladder during or after sex are: bladder pain syndrome and stress urinary incontinence.

Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS)

Bladder pain syndrome is the continual sensation of pressure or pain on the bladder. This syndrome typically affects women and leaves individuals feeling as if they have to urinate when they don’t have any urine to pass.

Consider making dietary changes and practicing bladder retraining so your bladder begins to hold more urine before experiencing the urge to go.

Relax before engaging in sex to ensure as little stress as possible. Stress can cause flare-ups and trigger discomfort.

Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stress Urinary Incontinence or SUI occurs because of weak pelvic floor muscles and/or a deficient urethral sphincter. This weakness can cause the bladder to leak during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or any body movement that puts pressure on the bladder. If sex is particular jarring, SUI can be affected.

Consider exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and limit caffeine intake. Always empty your bladder before sex.

We hope this peek into how your bladder health can impact sex was helpful. If you have experienced any of the symptoms noted above and haven’t talked to your doctor, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Additionally, we feel it’s important to share your health with your partner if you continue to have sex while experiencing some of these bladder health concerns.

Join us on our forum to talk more and learn how others have dealt with issues like these.  

Four Tips On How To Date When You Have Incontinence

Sarah Jenkins

Having incontinence can put a damper on a lot of activities for many.  Some people are so scared that they will have an accident they won’t leave their home, let alone go out with friends or on dates.  If this sounds like you, you should know that there are things you can do to treat your incontinence, and tricks you can use to survive the dating world.  See below for our top four tips on dating when you have incontinence.

1.     Know Your Options.  Being educated about what treatment options are available to you is half the battle.  Make an appointment with a doctor to talk about your symptoms and find a solution that’s right for you.  Don’t be scared of this step – your doctor can educate you on many types of treatments, ranging from very conservative, non-invasive approaches to more advanced options such as surgery. Once you start treating your incontinence, you’ll gain more confidence in your ability to go out without having to worry about leaks.

2.     Change up your habits.  Avoid indulging in bladder irritating foods when out and about to lessen the risk it will cause an accident.  Things like alcohol and caffeinated items are high on this list. Keeping a bladder diary for a couple of weeks can help you identify your triggers so that you know what you need to avoid in social situations.

3.     Plan ahead.  Know where the closest restrooms are so that if you need to head there in a hurry you won’t lose time searching around.  It can also be helpful to have an extra change of clothes on hand just in case an accident does happen.  Keep a spare in your bag or car for emergencies.

4.     Be open with those you love.  Thinking about being intimate when you have incontinence can be nerve-wracking, but opening up to your partner can help ease the tension and take a weight off your shoulders.  Talk to them before you’re in a situation to have sex so they know what to expect.  If they get hung up on it, chances are they aren’t worth your time anyway.  However, you’ll likely find that being open and honest with them will help you both relax a bit and will create an even more trusting and caring relationship.


Don’t let incontinence limit your social life.  Learning how to treat and manage it, and knowing your personal triggers, will give you the confidence to get out there and start living a more connected – and full – life.  





How To Talk About Incontinence With Your Loved One

Sarah Jenkins

Talking about incontinence is never easy.  Whether you are the one experiencing it, or someone close to you has been exhibiting symptoms, it is a conversation that most dread.  However, sharing this struggle with a loved one is perhaps one of the best things you can do in your path to recovery.  With a little advanced planning, a deep breath, and some honesty you’ll be able to get past this and move on to the next (and more productive) phase of this struggle – treatment.

When you’re the one struggling with incontinence.

Believe it or not, you may actually be on the easier end of this conversation.  As embarrassing as it may feel to open up to someone about this, if you are ready to do so, you have likely accepted that this has become a problem and are ready to receive support.  And who better to provide that support than a trusted friend or loved one?  Opening up to someone may not only provide you with the physical help you need, but also lift an emotional weight off your shoulders.  You don’t have to suffer through this alone.

When your loved one has incontinence.

If you’ve been noticing that a loved one seems to be having problems with incontinence, it may be time to talk with them about it to see how open they are to treatment.  This can sometimes be difficult – it is very likely that the person knows they have a problem, but may be too embarrassed to talk to anyone or do anything about it.  Depending on your relationship, it can also be hard for your loved one to admit.  For instance, a father who is cared for by his son or daughter may feel too proud to discuss this with his kids.  Start the conversation slowly by asking them about their general health, then move on to some of the signs of incontinence that you’ve noticed. Be prepared – they may get defensive and try to hide the problem.  If that happens, try again.  Be patient with them and try to be as accepting and understanding as possible. In time, they will likely open up to you once they see that your intentions are good and you are there to support them.

Our last tip?  Get some advice from those who have been there and understand.  As life changing as it may be, you are not the only one in the world who has ever struggled with this condition.  Whether you are looking to reach out to others who are experiencing it, or others who care for an incontinent loved one, there are many people out there who are discussing their problems on message boards and online forums.  Check out the NAFC message boards to get some tips on how others have touched on this delicate subject.

Tips to keep incontinence from interfering with your sex life

Sarah Jenkins

If you struggle with incontinence and have concerns about leaking during sex, you're not alone. The American Foundation for Urologic Disease (AFUD) reports that one in three women with stress incontinence avoids sex due to fears of leaking during intercourse or orgasm. But incontinence during sex doesn't have to be an issue.  Below are some tips to manage your incontinence and reclaim your sex life.

  • Be Prepared. Believe it or not, your behavior prior to sex can have a big impact on your chances of leaking during the act.  Here are a few tips to help you avoid an uncomfortable situation:
    • Avoid bladder irritating foods or drinks a couple of hours before bedtime.  Not sure what your food and drink triggers are? There are some common ones, but you can also track your own habits for a week or so to determine what foods and drink you.
    • Limiting your fluids prior to having sex.
    • Practice "double voiding" prior to sex. This is when you go to the bathroom, wait a few minutes, and then go again to empty any residual urine that may still be present in the bladder.
    • Use protective bedding so that you are covered in case an accident does happen.
  • Try a new position. You may find that a new position creates less stress on your bladder muscles, making leakage less likely. 
  • Strengthen up down there. Regular pelvic floor workouts can do wonders for women who experience incontinence. An added bonus?  Studies have shown that by strengthening your pelvic floor muscles you may also experience stronger orgasms and find sex more satisfying.
  • Talk about it. While this is an uncomfortable discussion to have, the mere act of telling your partner about your condition may relieve some of the stress associated with it. 

 

Talk to your Doctor.

If you've tried the steps above to no avail, consider talking to your doctor about your condition. Incontinence is not a normal part of aging and many things can be done to correct the situation. Your doctor can tell you about options that will best fit your needs.  Need help finding a physician?  Click here.

Incontinence During Sex - It Happens To Men Too

Sarah Jenkins

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime (only skin cancer has a higher rate).  And, while many men will go on to survive prostate cancer, the side effects of treatment can be difficult to deal with for many.

A common treatment for prostate cancer is a radical prostatectomy, or the complete removal of the prostate.  This is generally considered a good approach especially if the cancer is contained within the prostate gland and has not spread.  However, one side effect of this procedure is often incontinence.

Stress urinary incontinence, the type of incontinence that happens when you place pressure on the bladder, is common for men who have had their prostate removed or are undergoing other treatments for prostate cancer.  Treatment can sometimes weaken the bladder muscles, causing leakage when a man sneezes, coughs, exercises, or even during sex.  This can be extremely embarrassing for men, and can be discouraging when going through the healing process of having a prostatectomy.

The good news is that many men regain full control of their bladder with time after a prostatectomy.  However, in the meantime, here are some tips that may help you avoid some awkward situations in the bedroom:

·      Try to watch your fluid intake in the hours leading up to sex.

·      Avoid consuming bladder irritating food and drinks, such as caffeine, chocolate, or alcohol.

·      Prior to sex, completely empty your bladder.

·      Keep a thick towel nearby in case of any accidents

While this problem can be an embarrassing one, keep in mind that many men deal with this in the months after prostate cancer treatment and with time, this condition should improve.  If you still experience problems a few months after your treatment, talk to your urologist about treatments for incontinence.  He or she can help you navigate the many options available to you and find one that fits best with your needs.

 

How To Stay In Touch With Long-Distance Family And Friends

Sarah Jenkins

staying in touch

We’ve been talking this week about increasing our social circle and improving our relationships. Having a strong connection to others helps to keep us healthy. However, with many people these dyas living far from family and friends, it can be hard to stay in touch. However, being far does not imply that the closeness or the bond between individuals cannot develop or strengthen. These days, technology allows us many ways to stay in touch with loved ones no matter where they live. Here are four ways to stay connected.

Email.  Almost all of us have email accounts these days and they are a great day to keep in touch regularly with family and friends. Not only are they easy and free to send, but the messages arrive to your loved ones almost instantly, making it simple to have an ongoing dialogue. We’ve heard of some families who make it a point of e-mailing every day, just to check in and let each other know how they are all doing and what is happening in their lives. 

Social Media. Social media can be a great tool to keep in touch loved ones.  With a quick upload or status update, you can let everyone know, and see pictures or videos, about what’s happening in your live. It’s one of the easiest way to keep in touch with larger groups too, since you’re able to let everyone in your circle know what you’re up to at once.

Texting & Texting Apps. As long as you have a phone and/or internet connection, you can communicate in real time with people anywhere in the world via text, or other messaging apps. Apps such as Whatsapp allow you to create groups to communicate with too, making it easier to have conversations with many people at once, no matter where they live.

Skype.  Sometimes, nothing beats a face to face interaction. Luckily there is Skype. Skype allows you to talk live with others online, and through video, with anyone in the world, no matter where you live. It’s the perfect fix when you reallyjust need to see that special someone you’re missing.

While all of these tools are great to use, we know that it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day demands of life, making it hard to stay in touch. Our best tip? Start a ritual and stick to it. Send your family member a quick email regularly just to check in and let them know about your day. Set up a weekly Skype date with your pals and chat while you’re all eating breakfast together. Get all of your siblings to sign up to WhatsApp and start an ongoing conversation chain. These efforts are what will really make you feel connected – no matter where you live.

 

 

The Importance Of Being Social

Sarah Jenkins

being social

When most people think of incontinence, they usually think of the physical problems that go along with it. However, in addition to leakage, there are also emotional and psychological issues that can be just as impactful. Emotional symptoms of incontinence may include the following:

  1. Feeling humiliated and degraded.
  2. Experiencing a poor self-esteem.
  3. Withdrawing from society and becoming more isolated.
  4. Feeling anxious about being incontinent in public.
  5. Reduced intimacy and affection.

But just because you have incontinence doesn’t mean that you should limit your social life. In fact, being social may help you avoid many of the above symptoms. Social connections not only give pleasure and enjoyment but they also have been shown to improve the health of individuals. Studies have shown that individuals who have healthy and affectionate relationships with their family and friends benefit in a host of different ways, such as getting fewer colds, avoiding depression, keeping a sharp mind, and living a longer life.  Don’t believe us? Check out this list of ways that being social can improve your health and mood. And then get out there and start reconnecting with friends and family. Trust us - you, and your health, will thank us.

LEADERSHIP 301 Trial For People With Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome

Sarah Jenkins

Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome Clinical Study Recruitment

Purpose

The purpose of the LEADERSHIP 301 Trial is to learn if an investigational drug, AQX-1125, may reduce the bladder pain of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) and relieve other symptoms such as urinary urgency and frequency. The study drug is a new type of medication that may help reduce inflammation in the bladder.

An earlier clinical study in women with IC/BPS showed that the women who took the study drug every day for 6 weeks experienced reduced bladder pain and improved symptoms compared to those who took placebo.

Eligibility

You may qualify if you:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 80
  • Have been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) for at least 3 months
  • Have consistently experienced moderate to severe bladder pain, urinary urgency and/or urinary frequency

What will Happen During the Study

As a study participant, you will have regular contact with our study team who will monitor your health closely. There will be11-12 visits during the study, which will last 16 months.  There will be a 12-week treatment period and a 40-week extension.

During the treatment period there will be a 1 in 3 chance you will receive placebo. After completing the treatment period, you will be randomized into an extension period where all patients receive active study drug.

Research Study Title

The LEADERSHIP 301 Trial: A 12-Week, Randomized, Multi-center, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, 3-Arm, Parallel-Group, Phase 3 Trial to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of 2 Doses of AQX-1125 Targeting the SHIP1 Pathway in Subjects with Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome Followed by a 40-Week Extension Period

Sponsor

Aquinox Pharmaceuticals (Canada) Inc.

For additional study information:

clinicaltrials.gov study listing

www.LEADERSHIP301.com

3 FREE Workout Apps To Help Get You Back On Track

Sarah Jenkins

workout apps, free

Getting into a workout habit can be difficult.  These apps make it easier. For the person who is short on time, looking for a way to count calorie-intake, or in need of some new moves, read below. This post is for you.

Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout

Don’t think you have time for a workout? The Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout app gives you a great workout in just – you guessed it – 7 minutes. You’ll be able to choose your skill level, create custom workouts, and log your workouts so that you can see your progress over time. As a bonus, the app allows you to workout to your own music. No more excuses.

MyFitnessPal

This app allows you to track calorie intake by recording what and how much you eat. MyFitnessPal boasts a database of over 5,000,000 foods (and nutrition info) that can be entered and you can even scan barcodes to learn the nutritional value for a specific food. The app also allows you to track activity, with estimated caloric burn, so that you can track your overall daily intake and shed those pesky pounds.

Nike+ Training Club

One of our favorites. Like the Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout App, this one allows you to choose your level. Workouts range from 15-45 minutes and provide great video and audio examples of each move, making it easy to know how to do them (especially if you are new to many of these.)  The app allows you to track your workouts and other activity you do outside of the app (yoga, basketball, etc.). Plus, the more you use it, the more personalized your workout recommendations become. 

Smoking And Incontinence

Sarah Jenkins

smoking and incontinence

We all know that cigarette smoking  is bad for us. But did you know that it can also lead to incontinence?  Studies have shown that smokers are at an increased risk for incontinence.  Over time, many smokers develop a chronic cough, which can put an enormous amount of pressure on the pelvic muscles, causing them to weaken and increasing the chance of stress incontinence. Additionally, smokers also experience more frequent urges to use the restroom, as smoking is an irritant to the bladder. Even more alarming, it’s been shown that smoking can also lead to bladder cancer.

What’s a smoker to do?

The obvious fix is to quit smoking – not only to alleviate or prevent incontinence, but for a host of other health reasons as well.  While quitting is not easy, there are a few things you can do to help you succeed:

  1. Talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help give you tips to quit, and may suggest medication or programs that can help. 
  2. Get the support of your family and friends. Tell your loved ones what you are trying to do so that they can support you and give you the encouragement you need when you are feeling tempted to smoke.
  3. Avoid your triggers. Many people feel the urge to smoke during certain activities – grabbing drinks with friends, at certain times of the day, etc. Try to avoid these activities for a while or find ways to stay busy during your usual smoking times.
  4. Take up a hobby. With all the time you’ll save by not smoking, you may be able to finally start that project or hobby you’ve been thinking about. Doing something with your hands (knitting, woodworking, etc.)may also help keep you busy and help you avoid the urge to pick up a cigarette.

Smoking is a hard habit to quit for many people. But with determination and perseverance, it can be done. And it’s never too late to see the benefits of quitting – a recent study showed that even smokers who quit in their 60’s saw an increase in their lifespan.

Have any tips for quitting? Please share them with our readers in the comments below!

Struggling With Overactive Bladder? Know Your Options!

Sarah Jenkins

A Guest Blog By Dr. Harriette Scarpero, M.D.

It’s estimated that over 37 million Americans live with Overactive Bladder1,2 – the urgent and frequent need to use the restroom. And yet, many people don’t receive the proper treatment they should. Part of this is due to one’s own embarrassment – no one likes to discuss the inability to control their bladder with anyone, even their doctor. In fact, in a recent NAFC survey of OAB patients, 74% said they waited longer than they should have to seek treatment3. And, while OAB has many treatment options, many of those people who didn’t seek treatment (26%) said they didn’t know about the treatment options available to them3. Sadly, of those who did seek treatment, only 20% were extremely satisfied with their current treatment3.

74% of patients with Overactive Bladder Wait Too Long To Seek Treatment


Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a roadmap for those living with OAB to know what their
options are?
Luckily, there is. It’s called a patient Care Pathway, and it helps you to know your treatment choices, usually ranging from conservative to more advanced treatments. A Care Pathway shows possible treatment options, and helps you make informed decisions. With OAB, a Care Pathway is a great tool for both patients and physicians to use to find a treatment that works and the patient is comfortable with. The new OAB Care Pathway, sponsored by Medtronic, does just that. This Care Pathway is based on the clinical guidelines for OAB from the American Urological Association (AUA) and the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU). Here’s a quick breakdown of how to use this new tool:

  1. Your first step is to speak with a physician about your symptoms. As with most treatments, starting with a conservative approach is best.
  2. Once your physician determines your condition, they may have you try various lifestyle changes such as improving diet and exercise, or working to strengthen your pelvic floor in addition to using protective absorbent products if leakage is a problem.
  3. If lifestyle changes don’t work, oral medications are a common next step. These medications can help, and are a mainstay of therapy when behavioral and lifestyle changes prove ineffective. Some patients do experience side effects with medications, which may be difficult to handle. In fact, studies have shown that many patients with OAB do not stay on medications long term – only 28% of patients remained on medications after 6 months in one study4. Unfortunately, all too many patients think this is their last option and many do not see a physician again. This is where a Care Pathway can really help a patient and physician who aren’t sure what to try next.
  4. Advanced therapies can play a big role in the treatment of OAB, and are a good option to explore if medications haven’t worked for you. Sacral Neuromodulation is thought to target the nerves that are responsible for bladder function. Additionally, injected medications (Botox) block the signals that trigger OAB by calming the nerves and bladder muscle. Both of these may be treatments your doctor discusses with you after trying oral medication.
  5. Finally, if advanced therapies don’t work, a patient can look to surgical procedures that may help.

More education around the treatment options available can help you not only in finding a new solution that you may not have known about, but may also help you to get to a better place faster. If you’re suffering from symptoms of Overactive Bladder, study the OAB Care Pathway below, print it out, and walk through it with your doctor.

Click the image above to download the Care Pathway. Then take it to your doctor to discuss your options together.

Click the image above to download the Care Pathway. Then take it to your doctor to discuss your options together.

About The Author:  Dr. Harriette Scarpero is a board certified fellowship trained urologist and nationally recognized expert in female pelvic health and reconstruction (FPM/RS). She specializes in the urologic care of women.Dr. Scarpero received her B.A. in English from the University of the South in 1989.  She graduated from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA and completed her General Surgery Internship and Urology Residency at LSU Medical Center. She served as Chief Resident at LSU/Ochsner from 1999-2001.Before joining Associated Urologists, she was Associate Professor of Urologic Surgery at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a member of the Vanderbilt Academy of Excellence in Teaching. There her practice addressed complex reoperative cases as well as general female urologic cases.  She has helped train students, residents and fellows in FPM/RS for eight years and considers educating women about their urologic health to be an important component of the patient care she provides.As an expert in her field, Dr. Scarpero is active on many national urologic boards. She is a past president of The Society of Women in Urology, on the executive committee of The Society of Urodynamics and Female Urology, and participates on several committees for The American Urologic Association.Dr. Scarpero has published extensively in the areas of incontinence, urodynamics, and pelvic reconstruction, and she has been an invited lecturer at specialty meetings around the country. 

1. Stewart WF, et al. Prevalence and burden of overactive bladder in the United States. World J Urol. 2003 May;20(6):327-336. 2. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2011). World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, CD-ROM Edition. 3. Leede Research, “Views on OAB: A Study for the National Association of Continence.” December 16, 2015. 4. Yeaw J, Benner J, Walt JG et al Comparing adherence and persistence across 6 chronic medication classes. J Manag Care Pharm. 2009:15(9): 724-736

The Importance Of Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Sarah Jenkins

Many people put losing weight on their list of new years resolutions. But in addition to the many obvious benefits of staying trim, here’s another:  Maintaining a healthy weight may help lessen your symptoms of incontinence. People who are overweight typically have much greater amount of stress and pressure to the pelvic area, resulting in a weakened pelvic floor. Additionally, more weight and pressure on the bladder can cause an increase in leakage.

Losing weight can be difficult for many people. But, keeping a healthy diet and a strong exercise routine can help you shed those pounds and stay healthy.  Here are some eating tips that may help you jump start your weight loss plan:

 

  1. Eat a high-protien breakfast. A high-protein breakfast can help keep you full throughout the day, reduces food craving and calories intake.
  2. Replace soda and sugary drinks with water to reduce calories.
  3. Drinking water before meals may help keep you from overeating.
  4. Eat food that is rich in fiber.
  5. Eat food slowly. Eating slowly gives your body enough time to recognize when it is full, preventing you from overeating.
  6. Eat lots of vegetables and fruit. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and will keep you full without all the added calories of junk food.
  7. Keep the amount of salt in your diet to 6 g or less than that per day.

Keep in mind that if you have incontinence, there are some foods you may want to avoid, as they may make your symptoms worse. Pay close attention to what you eat and stay away from the foods that trigger your incontinence.

 

Bullet Journaling - Is It For You?

Sarah Jenkins

bullet journal

Have you heard of bullet journaling? It’s the newest craze sweeping the internet and is the ultimate to-do list for those who are into goal setting, tracking events, and even a little doodling. Do a quick Google search for bullet journals and you’ll find thousands of beautiful images of calendars, lists, logs, and goals, all mapped out in gorgeous detail. 

Sound intimidating? Sort of. But if you’re looking for a new way to keep track of your life, as well as a written document of your accomplishments, bullet journaling may be for you. And while the images of bullet journals you see on Pinterest and Instagram may seem elaborate, it doesn’t have to be that way.

In short, bullet journals are a systematic way of tracking your short and long-term goals, and really any other item you’d like to measure – working out, daily water consumption, even a written account of your daily gratitude’s. 

If you’re interested in bullet journaling, take a look at the video below by the originator of the bullet journal system, Ryder Carroll. It may just be the thing you’ve been looking for!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm15cmYU0IM

 

ASK THE EXPERT: Is A Bladder Diary Really Necessary?

Sarah Jenkins

nafc ask the expert

Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question: What’s a bladder diary, and is it really necessary that I keep one?

Answer: A bladder diary is a great tool for those looking to treat their incontinence, and should be used as a first step in understanding your specific condition. A bladder diary will track the number of times you have gone to the bathroom in a day, if you’ve had any leakage (and the amount), and also tracks your food and drink consumption. By recording all of this over a series of days (at least 2-3 but up to a week or two can be really helpful), you may be able to see trends over time. For instance, perhaps you always experience leakage at a certain time of day, or after you’ve had a certain food or drink. These realizations can help you adjust your routine (or your diet) to avoid leaks. And, the tool can be extremely helpful to your physician, as it gives him/her a better picture of your situation and may help advise better treatment options that will work for you.

In short – yes! Everyone who experiences incontinence should try keeping a bladder or bowel diary for at least a couple of days. What you see may surprise you, or, at the very least, provide a roadmap of your condition that you can share with your doctor.

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Contact us!