Can Reflexology Help With #BladderLeakage?

Can Reflexology Help With Bladder Leakage And Incontinence?

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a therapy that focuses on the small areas of your foot or hands that correspond to different areas of the body. In reflexology, it is believed that by massaging these specific areas, you may be able to alleviate certain ailments.

What Can I Expect when I see a Reflexologist?

Reflexology is a new concept for many people so don’t be scared to ask lots of questions! Your practitioner will likely conduct a thorough health history to make sure that reflexology is for you, and also to determine what issues you may be having so that he or she knows where to focus. Likely, the focus will be on the feet, hands, or ears, or some combination of the three.

The reflexologist may ask you to lie down, and may start by gently washing or soaking your feet in warm water.  If you are seeing the reflexologist for a specific condition, he or she may focus on that area, but will also work all points of the foot or hands, as this is thought to allow the all areas of the body to relax and promote greater healing.

Reflexology is relaxing to most people and can be a great stress reliever.

Does reflexology help with bladder control?

More research needs to be done on reflexology and bladder control, but some people believe that by focusing on the areas of the foot and hands that are associated with the bladder, you may be able to reduce bladder spasms which often cause an urgent and frequent need to use the restroom (also known as overactive bladder, or OAB).

Can I try Reflexology on my own?

While reflexology may be most effective when performed by a practitioner, you may be able to feel the benefits on your own, or with a partner. Check out the pressure points on the foot in this chart, and learn some great techniques to perform the practice at home.

Prostate Cancer: The Case For Watchful Waiting

Prostate Cancer; The Case For Watchful Waiting

Prostate cancer is one of the leading cancer causes of death in men in the US.  The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.  But, while this is a widespread condition, and treatment is sometimes warranted, the medical industry has begun to see a shift in the prostate cancer treatment, choosing to actively monitor patients over time instead of choosing to perform surgery or conduct radiation immediately.  This treatment path is called “watchful waiting”, and is becoming more and more common for men with prostate cancer.

To understand why watchful waiting is becoming a more popular trend, let’s back up a bit and explain a little more about the diagnosis of prostate cancer.  The average age of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is 66 years old.  Common treatment options for prostate cancer have included medication, surgery to remove the prostate, chemotherapy, radiation, and even hormone therapy.  And while these treatments have become more and more effective over the years, they cause unwanted side effects (such as incontinence and impotence) and pose serious risks (like blood clots in the legs and lungs, heart attack, pneumonia, and infections.)

There has been much debate around whether or not the benefits of treatment outweigh the added side effects and risks that are introduced when one undergoes these types of therapies.  Additionally, it is not clear if these treatment options will completely eliminate the cancer.  For those patients who are low risk, the benefit of aggressive treatment compared to the potential side effects may just not be worth it. 

What types of patients may be good candidates for watchful waiting?  Those who are not seeing any symptoms from the cancer, those whose cancer is small, and located only in the prostate, and those whose cancer is expected to grow slowly all may benefit from this type of treatment. 

Additionally, older men who have a life expectancy of less than 10 years may not benefit from the added years that surgery can offer, making them a better candidate for watchful waiting. 

However, if the cancer is growing steadily, or spreading beyond the prostate, more aggressive treatment is usually recommended.  Men who are diagnosed young may also benefit from more aggressive treatment, as there is a greater chance that the cancer may grow worse over a longer span of time.

Whatever stage you are at, only you and your doctor can decide what is best for you.  Be sure to talk with him or her about the risks and benefits associated with each treatment path prior to making a final decision. 

Questions to ask your PT at your first appointment

Have you finally made that appointment with a PT to discuss incontinence issues? Kudos to you for seeking out physical therapy for your incontinence problems. As you prepare for your first visit questions may be circling through your mind. That is OK and is normal. Do not feel imitated by asking your physical therapist questions. 

Physical therapists love patients who are engaged and choose to participate in their treatment plan. A fully engaged patient will have better compliance resulting in an improved overall outcome. The end result may be a happier and healthier YOU!  

Carefully chosen questions will allow you to get to know your physical therapist and why they treat patients with your condition. No question truly is a bad question. So, let’s fire away. Below are some questions that should be on your list for your first appointment.

How long have you been practicing physical therapy?

Go ahead and ask - this question will provide a brief history of your therapist.  In order for your physical therapist to have obtained the skills necessary to properly evaluate and treat incontinence she will have been out of physical therapy school for a few years.  

What additional training have you received to evaluate and treat my condition?

It is ok to ask this question – this is your health and you want to be seen by a qualified provider.  Here is the reason why. The skill set necessary to treat incontinence is an advanced skill set that isn’t developed in physical therapy school. Your physical therapist will have taken at least one advanced course past physical therapy school in order to properly evaluate and treat pelvic floor conditions.

How long have you been seeing patients with my problem?

Asking this questions will establish your therapist’s experience with your condition.  Please do not be put off if you are one of her first patients.  Often times, when a therapist is ‘new’ to a condition – that patient is her primary focus and challenge.

What can I do outside of my physical therapy appointments to help in my treatment?

Ka-ching! Great question to ask.  Physical therapists love patients that want to work hard.  Your therapist will LOVE providing you practical and progressive home program to complement your clinic treatments.

Do you have or know of any resources that help me understand my condition?

Again, a great question. The therapist will likely have printed materials to give you but will also have recommendations for valid and reliable online resources.

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.