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Kegel exercise


Other name: Pelvic floor exercise

Description:
Kegel exercise, consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, now sometimes colloquially referred to as the “Kegel muscles“. The exercise needs to be performed multiple times each day, for several minutes at a time, for one to three months, to begin to have an effect.

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Exercises are usually done to reduce urinary stress incontinence (especially after childbirth) and reduce premature ejaculatory occurrences in men, as well as to increase the size and intensity of erections.

Several tools exist to help with these exercises, although various studies debate the relative effectiveness of different tools versus traditional exercises.

They were first described in 1948 by Arnold Kegel.

Health effects for women:
Factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, aging, being overweight, and abdominal surgery such as cesarean section, often result in the weakening of the pelvic muscles. This can be assessed by either digital examination of vaginal pressure or using a Kegel perineometer. Kegel exercises are useful in regaining pelvic floor muscle strength in such cases.

Urinary health:
Pelvic floor exercise is the recommended first-line conservative treatment for women with urinary incontinence of the stress, urge, or mixed types.[8] There is tentative evidence that biofeedback may give added benefit when used with pelvic floor muscle training.

Pelvic prolapse:
The symptoms of prolapse and its severity can be decreased with pelvic floor exercises. Effectiveness can be improved with feedback on how to do the exercises.

Sexual function:
In 1952, Dr. Kegel published a report in which he stated that the women doing this exercise were attaining orgasm more easily, more frequently and more intensely: “it has been found that dysfunction of the pubococcygeus exists in many women complaining of lack of vaginal feeling during coitus and that in these cases sexual appreciation can be increased by restoring function of the pubococcygeus”.

Direct benefits of Kegel Exercise for woman:

*Leaks a few drops of urine while sneezing, laughing or coughing (stress incontinence)

*Have a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine (urinary incontinence)

*Leak stool (fecal incontinence)

Kegel exercises can be done during pregnancy or after childbirth to try to prevent urinary incontinence.

One should keep in mind that Kegel exercises are less helpful for women who have severe urine leakage when they sneeze, cough or laugh. Also, Kegel exercises aren’t helpful for women who unexpectedly leak small amounts of urine due to a full bladder (overflow incontinence).

Health effects for men:
Though most commonly used by women, men can also use Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises are employed to strengthen the pubococcygeal muscle and other muscles of the pelvic diaphragm. Kegels can help men achieve stronger erections, maintain healthy hips, and gain greater control over ejaculation. The objective of this may be similar to that of the exercise in women with weakened pelvic floor: to increase bladder and bowel control and sexual function.

*Urinary health:
After a prostatectomy there is no clear evidence that teaching pelvic floor exercises alters the risk of urinary incontinence (leakage of urine).

*Sexual function:
A paper found that pelvic floor exercises could help restore erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction. There are said to be significant benefits for the problem of premature ejaculation from having more muscular control of the pelvis
How to do Kegel exercises

To get started:

*Find the right muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. If you succeed, you’ve got the right muscles. Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles you can do the exercises in any position, although you might find it easiest to do them lying down at first.

*Perfect your technique. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Try it four or five times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.
Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.

*Repeat three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.
Don’t make a habit of using Kegel exercises to start and stop your urine stream. Doing Kegel exercises while emptying your bladder can actually lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder — which increases the risk of a urinary tract infection.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kegel_exercise
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises/art-20045283

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Joint pain? It could be fluorosis

The next time you suffer from a persistent backache or an irritating stiff joint, don’t attribute it to long hours spent at the computer. It could well be the result of fluorosis, a disease thought to affect people in rural India with no access to safe drinking water. It’s time to include it in the long list of urban lifestyle diseases.

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While fluoride-rich water is perceived as a major cause for fluorosis, in reality, 50% of fluoride entry into the body is through food. Whether it’s a plate of chaat-papri, liberally sprinkled with black salt, canned fruit juices, black tea, masala powders or Hajmola tablets—all are equally responsible for increasing fluoride content in the body. Of course, regular consumption over a sustained period and the body’s immune system determine how badly the fluoride affects the system.

“Patients come to me with complaints of back-ache, joint pains, fatigue and low energy levels. When I test their drinking water, it’s perfect. But on testing their blood and urine samples, I find high fluoride content. Further examination reveals consumption of food rich in fluoride,” says Dr A K Susheela, executive director, Fluorosis Research and Rural Development Foundation (FRRDF). Since its setting up in 1997, number of urban patients, she says, has doubled.

A recent UNICEF study conducted in smaller towns and rural areas revealed that 66 million are afflicted by fluorosis in India. Out of this, nearly 6 million are children between 6-14 years. The disease is widespread—19 states and 203 districts are affected —but efforts to prevent it are negligible. Unfortunately, no study has been conducted in cities on the numbers affected through food.

“It’s necessary to first diagnose the disease. But no hospital is interested in buying the testing equipment. It costs only Rs one lakh. Is that too much for any hospital?” asks Susheela.

Till two years back, Bijoy De, an MNC executive, suffered from fluorosis symptoms—extreme fatigue, constant back and joint pains. When he visited Susheela, his haemoglobin level was 11. “I travel constantly and had little control over what I ate. On the advice of my doctor, I changed my food habits. Within 3-4 months, my haemoglobin level shot up to 13.”

Similarly, Kanpur-based Ratish Bajpai was constantly fatigued and had regular back pain. On testing, the blood serum level was eight times above normal, while the fluoride level in urine was 20 times higher. ” I had no idea about fluorosis. I vaguely knew it was something to do with water,” he says.

And that’s the level of awareness of most urban Indians—thanks to lack of knowledge among doctors and unavailability of fluorosis testing centres. Only two centres in the country, AIIMS and FRRDF, are equipped to test fluorosis. “As most doctors aren’t trained for the disease, it goes largely undiagnosed or misdiagnosed,” says Dr V B Bhasin, senior orthopaedic surgeon, Gangaram Hospital. In fact, many end up being treated for arthritis as the symptoms for both diseases are the same. In the past few years, Bhasin has had patients complaining of stiff joints and backaches.

When no other treatment works, he sends them for fluoride testing and most end up being positive. Affirms Dr P K Dave, chairman, Rockland Hospital, and a senior orthopaedic doctor, “In most cases, complaints of back pain have been traced to a high fluoride content in the body.”

Interestingly, fluorosis manifests itself slowly. The good news is that it can be easily prevented in the early stages. However, in the advanced stage, called skeletal fluorosis—when the vertebrae partially fuses and moving joints becomes difficult— there’s no cure.

“That’s why,” suggests Susheela, “it’s important not to ignore joint pains and backaches. It’s advisable to do a fluoride test whenever a backache or joint pain persists.”

Thankfully, awareness levels are rising, though slowly.

Source:The Times Of India