Dr. Shel Shares How to Achieve and Maintain Pelvic Floor Health
What is pelvic health and how can it affect your life? Your pelvic health can be affected when the pelvic floor is unable to control the muscles that help you have a complete bowel movement. It can affect women and men. According to the Washington Post "The average age women start to notice pelvic floor disorders, which include prolapse as well as urinary and fecal incontinence, is 56; by 80, half of all women have one or more symptoms." I sat with Dr. Shel to learn more about this unspoken epidemic and what can be done to correct the problem.
NMFIT: As a fitness professional and mother, I have heard many stories from both demographics when it comes to weakness in the bladder and embarrassing leaks. How does the BTL Ultra Femme 360 and EmSella help correct this problem?
Dr. Shel: One of the newest and game-changing treatments I’ve begun using in my office is BTL Ultra Femme 360, a non-invasive, radio frequency therapy that provides 360° circumferential heating and is safe, effective and comfortable, with no downtime (it can take as little as 8 minutes, and be depending on individual treatment plans, no more than 20 minutes) as physicians treat at high energy levels without compromising patient‘s comfort.
· Patients and Physicians alike are reporting numerous benefits that positively impact a woman’s physical health and quality of life. These results can be experienced immediately, with greater long-term effects –contributing factors to these great results include an increase in collagen and elastin in the tissue, along with improved blood flow, which helps to enhance oxygenation, bring nourishment and moisture to tissue, and facilitate normal neurotransmission within the vagina.
· Aside from laxity in the tissue itself, the pelvic muscles also play a key role in sexual satisfaction – we all know about Kegels by now – but also incontinence which women experience as they age/go through menopause and through the vaginal delivery of children. Incontinence is extremely common. According to NAFC, over 19 million US women are affected by incontinence, and 5 out of 10 of them do not seek help.
· The newest addition to BTL’s pelvic suite portfolio is BTL EmSella, which is intended to provide an entirely non-invasive stimulation of pelvic floor musculature for the purpose of rehabilitation of weak pelvic muscles and restoration of neuromuscular control for the treatment of urinary incontinence in women.
· It’s FDA cleared to treat all types of urinary incontinence:
o Stress - Urine leakage during coughing, sneezing or physical activity, very common for women post- childbirth
o Urge - Urine leakage during strong, sudden need to urinate
o Mixed - Combination of stress and urge urinary incontinence
· Clinical studies demonstrated that:
o 67% of treated patients totally eliminated or decreased the use of hygienic pads
o 95% satisfaction and significant improvement in patients quality of life
· This device is really raising the bar in intimate health as beyond the technology, women stay fully clothed for treatment so it’s literally as easy as sitting in a chair, and women can walk right out after treatment.
· Emsella is developed on proven HIFEM*(high-intensity Focused Electromagnetic) technology that causes deep pelvic floor muscles stimulation and restoration of the neuromuscular control.
o A single HIFEM session provides 11,000 supramaximal pelvic floor muscle contractions which are extremely important in muscle re-education of incontinent patients, and it treats the entire pelvic floor at once.
o 11,000 supramaximal pelvic floor muscle contractions is comparable to 11,000 kegels in a single session.
NMFIT: How can weight lifting cause weakness in the bladder?
Dr. Shel: A weak pelvic floor is usually directly linked to a “weak” bladder or incontinence related issues while exercising. The pelvic floor does more for your body than controlling your bladder, and pelvic floor dysfunction can lead to back and hip pain. The pelvic floor muscles are at the base of your core and work with the diaphragm, and low and back hip muscles to stabilize the spine – so it is likely that you may realize this physical change while exercising/lifting weights due to related incontinence.
· Weightlifting, when done correctly, can indeed improve the strength of the pelvic floor, however, if done incorrectly, weightlifting can really harm your pelvic floor and even be a root cause of pelvic prolapse. The key is to performing the right techniques and listening to your body. Most women really focus on working out their core, which consists of the obliques, the diaphragm, the back, and the glutes. What most women don't know is your pelvic floor muscles are also a part of your core muscles. Lifting too heavy of weight or lifting weight incorrectly can put unnecessary pressure and excessive strain on your pelvic floor muscles, causing urine to leak.
· Women should be extremely cautious when weight lifting if they are recovering from childbirth, have had previous vaginal deliveries, have a family history of prolapse, are significantly overweight, or are in menopause. Always use the right technique!
NMFIT: What types of exercises are ideal for pairing with the BTL Ultra Femme 360 and EmSella treatment sessions?
Dr. Shel: Kegel exercises are a great complement to the BTL treatments as they focus on the strength conditioning of the treated area to further experienced results.
· It is also important to avoid certain core exercises if you have a weakened pelvic floor and/or suffer from urinary incontinence: box jumps, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, weighted lunges, leg presses, tire flips among others. If done incorrectly or in extreme numbers, they may weaken the pelvic floor. While you may seem limited, there are exercises that are safe for someone with a weakened pelvic floor: modified squats, modified/non-weighted lunges, wall push-ups, pilates, etc.
NMFIT: How are both the BTL Ultra Femme 360 and EmSella giving women back the confidence they may have lost?
Dr. Shel: BTL Ultra Femme 360 features custom tips: 2 applicators and 5 tips that allow physicians to treat both internally and externally with maximum patient comfort, with results being seen in as early as the 1st treatment.
o Internal issues can lead to pain or a decreased sensation during intercourse, dryness, and irritability, loss of ability to achieve orgasm and other symptoms of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).
o While externally, women are frequently self-conscious about the appearance of their vagina – a recent BMJ study found 97% of GP’s surveyed found their female patients had expressed concern about their genitals and whether they were normal.
o In my experience, this goes beyond just the look of the vagina itself, as a lot of women feel self-conscious on how it looks in tight clothing or workout clothes as well, so this aesthetic improvement really helps boost a patient’s confidence and allows them to continue to live the active lifestyle they enjoy.
· Women who experience BTL Ultra Femme 360 are reporting numerous benefits that positively impact their physical health and quality of life. These results can be experienced immediately, with greater long-term effects, such as improving health issues, boosting confidence and overall improvement in sexual health. In fact, I conducted a clinical study which demonstrated statistically significant results, with all subjects reporting improvement in vaginal laxity and 93% of patients felt improved gratification during intercourse.
· Additionally, a 50 patient study that was recently submitted demonstrated similar, impressive results and the data doesn’t lie.
o 88% felt less distressed about their sex lives
o 67% felt no distress at all
o 76% were happier about their sexual relationships at the follow-up
· EmSella is FDA-cleared for the treatment of incontinence (which of course will greatly impact a woman’s daily life and her confidence) – plus, the strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles also help improve the strength of orgasm. As stated earlier, patients reported 95% satisfaction and significant improvement in their quality of life.
NMFIT: If you have any patients that are athletes/fitness enthusiasts, that you’re able to share anonymous testimonials from, that would be a great addition to round out the piece if available.
Dr. Shel: Here is a quote from one of my patients: "As an avid runner and exerciser, I was experiencing stress urinary incontinence after my second baby. Anytime I would run, jump or lift weights, I noticed I would leak urine. It was very embarrassing and began to limit me. I sought out the BTL EMSella treatment that Dr. Shel offers and after just my third treatment, I no longer experienced urine leaking when I sneezed, coughed, ran or jumped. This was HUGE! I was finally able to exercise and be active again without worrying about the fear of leaking urine while I exercised or played outside with my kids. I am also hopeful it will reduce the risk of me experiencing prolapse in my menopausal years."
NMFIT: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Dr. Shel: Urinary incontinence is not something to be embarrassed by; nor should it be something you're afraid to discuss with your physician. I have learned that many women don't fully understand just how incontinence affects their lives and therefore, don't consider it a health concern. The truth is that urinary incontinence does not have to be a way of life. Leaking urine frequently is not something any woman should have to "deal with", nor should they feel that their only option is surgery. Incontinence of any kind is a serious issue as it can lead to low self-esteem and relationship issues, but the incredible news is that thanks to BTL's EMSella, there are non-surgical options to reverse the effects of a weakened pelvic floor. I encourage women of all ages to realize urinary incontinence is very common, it is very treatable, and once treated, it can vastly improve your quality of life.
For more information visit: http://www.emsella.com/
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