Two years after giving birth, I still can’t control my bladder. I’m one of 25 million Americans, the majority of them women, with incontinence. More than half of healthy women ages 42 to 50I’m 45have some form of chronic-peeing problem, usually linked to pregnancy and childbirth, coughing, constipation, heavy lifting, or hormonal changes. Yet, incredibly, 90 percent of us never seek treatment.
I decide I’ve got to do something. I don’t seem to have any muscle tone in my pelvic floor, and my OB-GYN thinks I’ll need surgery. When I ask about alternatives, she suggests physical therapy: my own personal Kegel trainer.
I’ve known about, and done, Kegels for yearsbut not the right way, apparently. Arnold Kegel, a University of Southern California gynecologist, developed the exercise in the 1940s to help women with postpartum incontinence. Experts say a good Kegel program can reduce weekly incontinence episodes by 50 to 60%.
So, I figured, why not give therapy a try? And, like a woman on a mission at the gym, I decide to track my progress with a diary.