End Bladder Leaks with This Brain Breakthrough
When you were growing up, did you know someone who could wiggle their ears? Remember how funny it was… and how you couldn’t do it without moving lots of other muscles in your head?
Almost everyone has a story like that. Most children are fascinated by the connections between seemingly independent body parts.
You might be surprised to learn that scientists are, too. And something they discovered recently may help you avoid the embarrassment of incontinence…
I often recommend nutritional supplements to support total bladder health. Herbs such as cranberry, juniper and Uva ursi have a powerful antiseptic effect.
These same herbs also discourage bacteria from sticking to the walls of your bladder and urinary tract. And as I’ve said before, if bacteria can’t get a foothold, the have a hard time making you sick.
Other herbs can be helpful, too. For example, ginger may help calm the muscle spasms that create sudden urges to “go.”
Along with herbal supplements, I find many women can benefit from exercises called “Kegels.” Kegels involve tightening and relaxing the muscles of your pelvic floor.
Weak pelvic floor muscles often contribute to urinary incontinence. Age and childbirth can stress and weaken these muscles. Kegels help tone and strengthen them again.
Typical instructions for doing Kegels say to tighten the pelvic floor muscles… hold the “squeeze” for 5 – 15 seconds… and then relax. Fifteen repetitions, three times a day, is usually enough to add a great deal of strength and tone.
Your pelvic floor muscles are the ones you use to hold in urine. But when many women try to do Kegels, they notice they’re squeezing other muscles, too. It can be pretty frustrating. Because most Kegel instructions sound as though you should squeeze only your pelvic floor muscles.
Well, now you can relax. Because scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have discovered you can’t.
The USC team measured the activation of muscle tissue in volunteers. They also monitored their volunteers’ brains with MRI – magnetic resonance imaging. They discovered that certain muscles have an unexpected connection in the brain.
When one of these connected muscles contracts, the others do, too. In this case, your pelvic floor muscles are strongly connected to your “glutes” – the big muscles in your buttocks.
So when you try to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles, your buttocks squeeze together – whether you want them to or not. And vice-versa.
The USC scientists were trying to find causes of pelvic floor pain. But they’ve also done a service for anyone who thinks they’re not getting their Kegels right.
In fact, they may have made doing Kegels easier and more effective. When you don’t try to work only your pelvic floor muscles, you can get a much stronger “squeeze.” This means you’re working the target muscles more… and should see a bigger benefit faster.
Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Source: “The Neuroscience of Holding It,” University of Southern California. Oct 14, 2014.