Caregiver's Home Companion Free captioning phone for those with hearing loss.
Read Fred's Previous Articles

April 6, 2012
Question for Aging Men: Will Testosterone Spark Virility?

March 30, 2012
Is Dad Still Road-Worthy – Or Is It Time to Take the Keys?

March 23, 2012
Coping and Recovering from Knee Replacement

March 16, 2012
Lactose Intolerance May Not Spell Osteoporosis

Take Our PollThe Caregiver's Marketplace

Shop Now in the
Caregiver's e-Mall

Our Caregiver's e-Mall is filling up with great stores and a growing number of items just in time for the holidays. Whether you browse and find a book or tape to help you with caregiving, or come across a wonderful gift for a friend or family member, the e-Mall can be your source for easy shopping and gift-giving.

So, click on the dark blue Caregiver's e-Mall buttons throughout our site and enter a comfortable, secure shopping experience with major merchants while avoiding the hassle of having to find a parking place or matching your shopping hours with someone else's. Our mall is just a click away and is open 24 hours every day.

Watch for additional stores opening in the e-Mall soon!

Posted: November 05, 2010

Keeping Seniors Healthy

Exercises Can Help with Incontinence

Q. I’m a 71-year-old woman, and I’ve been experiencing some incontinence lately. A friend told me there are exercises I can do to help the situation. Do you know what she’s talking about?

A.  First, talk to your doctor about the incontinence. Don’t begin any exercise program without a check-up.

Your friend is probably referring to “Kegel exercises,” which were developed 60 years ago by Dr. Arnold Kegel to control incontinence in women after childbirth. These exercises are now recommended for both women and men who experience urinary or fecal incontinence.

Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. The exercises improve the functioning of both the urethral and rectal sphincters.

The muscles that are developed through the Kegel program are the ones you feel when you try to stop the flow of urine. After about eight weeks of exercising, you usually see results, such as less frequent urine leakage.

Urinary and fecal incontinence are examples of “pelvic-floor disorders.” Others include constipation, rectal pain, vaginal prolapse, rectal prolapse, pelvic pain and sexual dysfunction. In medicine, prolapse means that an organ has slipped out of place.

The pelvic floor is a network of muscles, ligaments and other tissues that hold up the pelvic organs -- the vagina, rectum, uterus and bladder. When this network -- often described as a hammock -- weakens, the organs can shift and create disorders.

Women who delivered several children vaginally and suffered tissue damage during childbirth, are at higher risk for pelvic-floor disorders. Another risk factor is obesity, because added weight strains the pelvic floor. A predisposition to have weak connective tissue can add to the problem.

Aging and menopause contribute to disorders. More than half of women age 55 and older suffer a pelvic-floor dysfunction.

About one in three women in the United States will have one of these dysfunctions in her lifetime.  One in nine women will have corrective surgery for one of these problems. Because women are embarrassed by pelvic-floor disorders, they underreport them.

It should be noted that men can suffer from pelvic-floor disorders, too, but they are much more common in women.

In severe cases of pelvic dysfunction, women feel pressure or a pull in the vagina or lower back. The opening of the uterus may stick out from the vagina.

There are many ways to treat pelvic-floor problems.

Some women relieve their symptoms with Kegel exercises. Eliminating caffeine, a diuretic, can help. Eating more fiber can improve bowel function. Pessaries, plastic devices that come in many sizes and shapes, can be inserted into the vagina to support pelvic organs.

And then there is surgery, which can be done vaginally or through the abdomen. The surgical method is determined by the type of problem. More than 200,000 American women have corrective surgery annually.

Fred Cicetti is a freelance writer who specializes in health. He has been writing professionally since 1963. Before he began freelancing, he was a reporter and columnist for three daily newspapers in New Jersey. He has written two published novels: Saltwater Taffy, and Local Angles. You can send your health-related questions to Fred at

© 2010 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.
Search CaregiversHome
Find with keyword(s):

Enter a keyword or phrase to search CaregiversHome's archives for related news topics, the latest news stories, timely times, and reference articles.

Email or share this story Bookmark and Share

Back to Top

Prescription Card

Free Survival Guide

Privacy Statement Contact Us Site Map Products & Services Our Partners Advertise
© Copyright 2003-2020. Pederson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.