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Nairobi News : December 16th 2013
20 Monday, Dec 16 - Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013 nairobinews.co.ke inspiration Proactive. Tired of living with a leaky bladder, Wangechi Kariuki took matters in her hands and found a cure for her condition. She even made some money doing it, writesNjoki Chege No woman should go through what I went through W angechi Kariuki, a mother of two, was overjoyed when she delivered her second baby just over two years ago. However, soon after delivering, Wangechi felt that something was not right; she could barely cough, laugh or sneeze without leaking a little. When she went to the doctor, she was told that her pelvic floor muscles had been affected by childbirth and that she should exercise them to make them tight again. However try as she might, she could not stop the embarrassing little leak. “I found it extremely difficult to do the pelvic floor exercises as prescribed by the doctor. My muscles were not responding as expected. I needed a solution that could help me get a strong pelvic floor,” she said. Many affected Wangechi represents thousands of wom- en who have trouble exercising their pelvic muscles, thereby having pelvic disorders that they are too embarrassed to admit to. Many women leak urine when they jump, laugh, cough or sneeze. Some suffer from a lack of sensation and reduced sexual satisfaction while others go through even more traumatising experiences like vaginal and anal prolapses. If you experience these conditions, chances are that your pelvic floor needs exercising and strengthening. The pelvic floor refers to a group of mus- cles that form a hammock across the opening of a woman’s pelvis. It has several layers of muscle that, together with surrounding tissues, keep all of the pelvic organs in place and functional. Organs supported by the pelvic floor include the rectum, uterus and bladder, all of whose functionality depend on the strength of the pelvic floor. A pelvic floor disorder occurs when the pelvic muscles and surrounding connective tissues are weakened or injured. According to Dickson Okumu Agutu Wangechi Kariuki beat an uncomfortable condition using kegel exercisers. Emma Nzioka, NairobiNews If you are tired of manual exercises, consider these Although some medical practitioners feel Since she brought in the first ones, she can that pelvic floor exercises don’t require any mechanical assistance, Wangechi decided to try them because her previous attempts were not yielding fruit. in her attempt to find a solution to her problem, bumped into the Kegel8 exercise machines. A thorough search of the internet for devices that could help her showed that one of the most favourably reviewed devices was the Kegel8 exercise machine. “I asked my doctor about it and he had no clue but I decided to try it and was impressed. I realised there were many women with pelvic floor disorders that could be resolved by these devices so I started importing them.” barely keep up with demand as they have been flying off the shelves. The most popular so far is the Kegel8 ultra plus, an electronic device that consists of a slim probe inserted into the vagina and which has 14 electronic programmes devised by a physician to eradicate all levels of pelvic weakness, from stress incontinence to those who have had surgery. “You can choose whatever programme you want and have a 20-minute workout. This has absolutely no pleasurable sensation and it is only used for excercising the pelvic floor muscles,” warns Wangechi, who adds that machines can be used anywhere and any time. Njoki Chege, NN chief physiotherapist at Kenyatta National Hospital, there are several reasons behind the weakening and injuring of the pelvic floor. “The pelvic floor malfunction could be caused either by age, where the muscles Okumu: We teach women early in their pregnancies to start pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles, and also help them have a comfortable delivery” weaken and lose their fiber type. Another reason could be parity, where a woman has given birth several times and also nerve injuries due to stretching of the muscles during childbirth,” he said. When this happens, women have to con- tend with several embarrassing pelvic floor disorders — some of them too embarrassing to talk about. One of the most severe disorders is the pelvic organ prolapse which occurs when the pelvic muscles and tissues become weak and can no longer hold the organs in place correctly. Birth canal In such cases, the uterus is pressed down on the birth canal, causing it to invert, or even to come out through the vaginal opening. In vaginal prolapse, the top of the vagina loses support and can drop through the vaginal opening. Women with this disorder have a feeling of heaviness; like something is falling out of their body. Others experience an aching bulge in the pelvis, while some get urinary tract infections. Another common disorder is urinary incontinence, where urine leaks out without the woman’s control. Here, a woman’s urge to urinate becomes stronger and uncontrollable, she may experience frequent urination which can sometimes be unbearably painful. Anal incontinence is another problem. This occurs when the rectum bulges in or out of the vagina, making it difficult to control the bowels. This can also occur when there is damage on the anal sphincter (the ring of muscles that keep the anal opening closed). Exercise When this happens, women can barely control their bowel movements; a problem too embarrassing to many. But probably the disorder that drives most women crazy is the lack of sensation and reduced sexual satisfaction. Women no longer feel ‘tight’, thereby causing them to shun the sexual act altogether. Okumu said there are ‘pelvic floor exer- cises’ that a woman can do to ensure that all the organs supported by the pelvic floor are functional. They consist of contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles. “We teach women early in their preg- nancies to start pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the muscles, and also help them have a comfortable delivery.” When the pelvic floor muscles are exer- cised prior to delivery, they have the ability to stretch, and go back to their original form with ease. The exercises come in handy during the second stage of labour.
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