National Bladder Health Week: How much do you know about your pelvic floor?

Urinary incontinence affects 25 million people in the US, and one out of three US adults has experienced loss of bladder control. November 11th – 15th is National Bladder Health Week. Take this quiz to find out how much you know about your bladder and pelvic floor.

1. Pelvic floor disorders include:
a. Bladder control issues
b. Accidental bowel leakage
c. Pelvic organ prolapse
d. All of the above

2. True or false: If I have diarrhea, taking fiber will make it worse.

3. Which of the following beverages can irritate the bladder?
a. Caffeine
b. Tea
c. Artificial sweeteners
d. Alcohol
e. All of the above

4. Which of the following strategies can be used to treat pelvic floor disorders?
a. Pelvic floor muscle exercises
b. Medication use
c. Lifestyle modifications
d. Surgery
e. All of the above

5. True or false: Having difficulty controlling my bladder or bowels is a normal part of aging.

6. Which of the following strategies can be used to prevent pelvic floor disorders from occurring or getting worse?
a. Quitting smoking
b. Avoiding constipation
c. Maintaining a healthy weight
d. Doing pelvic floor muscle exercises
e. All of the above

Answer Key:
1. D – all of the above! Bladder control issues include overactive bladder (OAB) with or without urinary leakage as well as stress urinary incontinence. OAB is caused by bladder muscle contractions at inappropriate times, and can result in feelings of urgency and frequency (needing to rush to the bathroom frequently) with or without loss of urine. Stress urinary incontinence refers to loss of urine with coughing, jumping, laughing, sneezing, lifting, etc., and is caused by a weakness in the urethra (the tube through which urine leaves the bladder). Accidental bowel leakage can happen from stool being too hard or too loose as well as from damage to the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor from childbirth, surgery, or radiation. Pelvic organ prolapse refers to relaxation of the ligaments and tissues of the vagina, and can cause a feeling of a bulge coming out of the vagina. That bulge may contain the uterus, bladder, or bowels.

2. False! Fiber is used to treat constipation because it pulls water into the stools, but if stools are too loose, fiber provides bulk to absorb excess water and make stools well-formed. Not only that, fiber also helps keep cholesterol low, prevents colon and rectal cancer, and can prevent complications of diverticular disease.

3. E – All of the above! Minimizing consumption of these bladder irritants helps some women regain control of their bladders, without ever needing to take medicine or have surgery. Other things you can do include maintaining a regular voiding schedule and practicing your pelvic floor muscle exercises… Come learn more Wednesday, November 13th!

4. E – All of the above! Sometimes doing pelvic floor muscle exercises and making simple changes to your lifestyle can cure pelvic floor disorders. If those strategies are not successful, we can use medications, pessaries (rubber support devices), electrical stimulation, or surgery to help you Break Free from Pelvic Floor Disorders!

5. False! Pelvic floor symptoms are not a normal part of aging, and you do not have to live with them. They are usually not dangerous, so you do not need to treat them if they do not bother you… But if they do bother you, there are lots of things you can do to regain control.

6. E – All of the above! There are lots of things you can do to prevent pelvic floor disorders from occurring or getting worse. Come learn more at our Take the Floor: Break Free from Pelvic Floor Disorders Event!

Take the opportunity to come learn more from our team of specialists, including UW Health Doctors Heidi Brown (Urogynecology) and Sarah McAchran (Female Urology) and Meriter Monona Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Women’s Health Clinical Specialist Victoria Hurwitz at a special Bladder Health Awareness event!

Take the opportunity to come learn more at our Take the Floor Tonight: Break Free from Pelvic Floor Disorders event Wednesday, November 13th, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, Hotel RED (1501 Monroe Street, Madison, WI 53711) with pelvic floor specialists Doctors Heidi Brown (Urogynecology) and Sarah McAchran (Female Urology) and Meriter Monona Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Women’s Health Clinical Specialist Victoria Hurwitz. Register today at http://www.breakfreefrompfds.org/events.

Sincerely,
Heidi Brown, MD, MAS

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