So I’m sitting there this morning, trying to enjoy my morning cup o’ joe and catch a few minutes of the news, when all of a sudden, I’m assaulted with two different television commercials about class action lawsuits involving victims of prescribed medications or medical procedures.
The first commercial was urging people who have taken the popular acne drug Accutane to contact Such-and-Such-Ambulance-Chaser-and-Son if they suffer with Crohn’s Disease, or Ulcerative Colitis, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This is frightening. I know several people who used that drug for help when they were teenagers. And what with my daughter, Mini-Me, on the precipice of puberty… knowing that she’s one fun-sized Kit-Kat away from an auto-shipment plan of Zit Buster Plus from the As Seen on TV store. Sigh.
And my heaven-sent but hypertensive husband, The Gatekeeper, wonders why I’m so negative about prescription drugs and big pharmaceutical companies. This is why. Because these magic beans may appear to lessen symptoms today, but at what long term cost? Who really knows? Certainly not that doctor who was taken to Ruth’s Chris for a big steak dinner last night by that Big Pharma Rep with the nice rack. I’ll pass, thank you.
Which brings me to class action lawsuit commercial number two, aimed at ladies who have had surgeries to correct a prolapsed uterus. That’s the fancy term for when your uterus starts to hang out of your hoo-hoo. This can occur for a variety of reasons including:
- Pregnancy/multiple childbirths with normal delivery through the vagina
- Weakness in the pelvic muscles with advancing age
- Weakening and loss of tissue tone after menopause and loss of natural estrogen
- Conditions leading to increased pressure in the abdomen such as chronic cough (with bronchitis and asthma), straining (with constipation), pelvic tumors (rare), or an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
- Being overweight or obese and its additional strain on pelvic muscles
- Radical surgery in the pelvic area leading to loss of external support
- Excess weight lifting
Hey, it’s not as uncommon as you might think. Dr. Oz did a whole hour a couple weeks ago on “the hidden shame” associated with having your lady junk drop. In the spirit of Just the Tip Tuesday, I’m here today with advice on how to possibly avoid having this happen to you.
First let me just say, I’m not a medical doctor. I’m more of a domestic doctor… who got her temporary license through a non-accredited foreign correspondence course. But I do have a vagina and I did give birth the old fashioned way to three ginormous babies (the smallest was 8 lbs. 5 oz., the biggest was 9 lbs. 11 oz., the third was somewhere in between, but who can remember with all these babies underfoot.) So, needless to say, I know a thing or two about war-torn lady parts.
I’m also a graduate of The Bradley Method and therefore I have logged many many hours learning about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Having a strong pelvic floor (the “hammock” that supports the uterus) is integral to being able to push your baby through that ring-of-fire. I actually didn’t know that the first time I was pregnant and it was a very difficult labor and delivery. That’s why I went looking for a better experience my second and third time around and chose The Bradley Method. But I digress.
A strong pelvic floor is also critical for the rest of your life… not just for giving birth. Having strong pelvic muscles will not only keep all your reproductive organs from coming out to say hello, it will also dramatically improve the quality of your sex life (and not just because your husband won’t have to push your uterus back up in there in order to have sex). The stronger those muscles are, the more intense your orgasms will be. In addition, your male partner will benefit as well from the increase in muscle tone. In other words, the stronger your pelvic floor, the more jewelery you’ll get on Valentine’s day.
The good news is that you can do simple exercises that will keep your pelvic floor as fit as a fiddle. And they are free. You don’t need any special equipment, a gym membership, or a fancy legwarmers+headband outfit reminiscent of the Olivia Newton John Let’s Get Physical phase. You won’t even break a sweat doing these moves. But like any exercise, it only works if you do it.
It’s called The Kegel.
You probably already know what it is and how to do it, don’t you? If not, just google it. I have to finish writing this before Scooby Doo is over.
The catch is this: knowing about Kegels, and doing them regularly are two different things, aren’t they.
So here’s where my tip comes in and it is a winner! Ready?
Any time you are in a car (as the driver or passenger) and you stop at a stop sign or red light, do your Kegel exercises.
How easy is that?!
I like to do three quick one-second pulses at every stop sign… it actually helps me to be a better driver and not roll through stop signs. Isn’t that fabulous?! An exercise that can tighten up your tingly parts and help you be a better driver?! Whoot!
At red lights, I do the advanced version. It’s called “the elevator.” This is when you pretend your vagina is an elevator shaft and using only your pelvic floor muscles you move an imaginary elevator from the ground floor, slowly, up to the first floor, then to the second floor, and finally to the third floor, where you hold hold hold (while all the passengers hop out and a new group of passengers gets on), and then slowly lower the elevator back through all the floors to the ground floor. This is really hard to do; don’t kid yourself. Sometimes my elevator will crash to the floor and violently kill everyone inside of it. Other times, my elevator operator is like “Uh, sorry… they’re doing some remodeling upstairs… you’re gonna have to hold your conference in the lobby today, lady.”
In conclusion… do your Kegels. Do them when you drive, or ride in a car, or for you city gals, do them on the subway. Just do them. Your uterus will thank you, your partner will thank you, fellow drivers will thank you, and you won’t have to hire an ambulance chaser to get you your fair share of a class action lawsuit someday when there is a recall of the medical supplies used in the repair of your prolapsed uterus. Phew, that’s a mouthful. (That’s what he said.)
Slowly, and with hopefully improving pelvic control,
© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.