Monthly Archives: April 2013

App of The Week

This app is a PERFECT way to begin Share Mayflowers and promoting Women’s Health. Check out:

52 Weeks of Women’s Health 

52 weeks

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), has created the Women’s Health application as a guide for women interested in learning more about their health. With 52 alphabetical health topics, one for each week of the year, the application aims to promote healthy lifestyles by offering practical strategies for women to use each day. The application is an example of how information gained from scientific research can be translated into tips that may help women and their families reduce health risks and improve their quality of life.

This app can also store your medication log, facilitate daily reflection of your quality of life via the journal, and keep your health information in one place!

Written By: Jenna Sires PT, DPT

Share MayFlowers: Do We Really Need Another Health Awareness Month?

Share MayFlowers: Do we really need another health awareness month?.

What Makes a Happy Bladder

They say little things can make a BIG difference and this is also true when it comes to bladder control.  Poor bladder habits can lead to decreased bladder control and incontinence.  Below are some easy steps that anyone can take to keep your bladder health and happy!


1) Drink plenty of fluids (6-8 cups) during the day unless your doctor has advised otherwise.  The majority of fluid you drink should be water.

2) Restrict the amount of caffeine and alcohol you drink as they irritate the bladder.

3) Avoid going to the bathroom “just in case” as this will teach your bladder bad habits.  Remember that normal urinary frequency is every 3-4 hours, or 5-8x/day.

4) Avoid constipation.  Straining to empty your bowels can weaken the pelvic floor muscles leading to incontinence. So eat lots of fruits and vegetables and stay active to keep your bowels regular.

Written By: Karen Hartney, PT, DPT, OCS

App of The Week

Web MD Pregnancy


WebMD Pregnancy is a FREE app from WebMD that delivers trusted health information to expectant moms as well as fun features and tools. Whenever. Wherever. Online or offline. Whether you’re trying to conceive or preparing for your special day, WebMD can help. Check out hundreds of doctor-approved multimedia information and advice tailored to each week of pregnancy.

Should we be “fine with it?”

By Jessica Powley, PT, DPT

My poor fiancé, Andrew, probably gets frustrated with me when we watch TV at night… I get SO mad. Really mad and sassy. I am passionate about women’s health. I love what I do. I love helping people get back to optimal function. So, I get mad. Really mad. At TV shows like Strange Sex that convey Vaginismus as a rare musculoskeletal disorder that requires thousands of dollars for treatment. At movies that portray women as sexual objects that fulfill a need rather than the perfect beautiful individuals that they are. And at commercials for urinary incontinence pads. Ooooh, those really get to me. You know the ones, the pretty young girl who wears white pants and frolics in a field while they make you feel like leaking urine is super cool and normal and you just need an awesome pad to make you feel fantastic while you LEAK URINE. Like this one. Check it out:

Yes, she’s right. Close to 1 in 3 women leak urine. That’s a huge number. And I agree, we need to talk about it. Women need to know that leaking urine is common.  BUT, what irks me, is the last sentence the woman says, “I’m fine with it.” REALLY!? You are fine with it? You don’t mind at all that you leak urine on yourself during the day? You don’t mind that you have to spend $$$$ dollars buying pads to help protect against leakage?? “Fine with it.” I don’t think so.

You should not have to be fine with it. I spend half my day telling women that common does not equal normal. Leaking urine is not normal. It is not fun. It does not make people feel “fine.” Let’s be honest about a problem where there is a problem. Leaking urine is not okay.

Now, I do believe the “stigma” should be removed from bladder leakage. It is true that it is common. I have treated women who are co-workers and they will literally have no idea that someone who works next to them has the same problem. (This has happened twice in the past year!). BUT, removing the stigma needs to come with taking action. Ladies, we need to take control of our lives and do something about it. Talk to your physician about the problems you are having! Come see one of us to help you regain the muscular control you need for your bladder! Become an advocate for your own health!  Do not be “fine with it.” Get a helping hand, and get going today!

Need help on knowing how to get started? Check out these recent posts:

I think I have a problem, what do I do?

I think I have a problem…part two.

We want to hear from  you! What TV shows/ads really “irk” you? Let us know in the comments!

You Are So Beautiful!

I know… not necessarily related to pelvic health however, all of us ladies need a pick me up every now and then. Dove’s beauty campaign conducted a social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see. Check it out below…

Barley Coffee

This morning I was fortunate enough to meet with a lovely group of ladies at their support group for people who have been diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome.  (For those of you who are not familiar with this condition, you can read about it here) This is a fantastic group started by Martha Fowler, RN back in 2010. Since then, I can tell you that Martha has been an amazing support for several of my patients! It’s nice to have someone to talk to who understands and has experiences the same symptoms you have been going through.

Before we got started, Martha introduced us to Barley coffee—I know what you’re thinking—weird, nasty, gross—but I was shocked that I actually enjoyed this concoction! When I first tasted, I will admit, I poured myself approximately ¼ cup (assuming I would hate it), but I quickly went back, filled it all of the way and drank the entire thing!  SERIOUSLY! I actually think I may keep this on hand to drink on a regular basis. I have long wanted to cut back on my caffeine intake, and really, this may be the ticket!

Why the need for Barley Coffee? For people with Interstitial Cystitis, coffee is a significant irritant to the bladder (well, really, it’s an irritant to all bladders!). Coffee is a double-whammy of irritation—not only does it have caffeine, but it is also highly acidic. Mix this together, and you get a very unhappy bladder—and if you have IC/PBS, that equals pain and strong urges to urinate.  (


From the hilarious website:

What is Barley?

Barley is a grain, a member of the grass-family. You may recognize it from being used as animal food as well as in beer, bread and soups and stews.  The Whole Grain Council (yes, it exists) has listed several health benefits of eating barley including lowering blood sugar, decreasing cholesterol, and possibly with weight loss. (see: And what about drinking it? Well, I will admit it’s not quite the same since you are not actually consuming the grain—but, it seems like a good option for your bladder! And it tastes pretty darn good.

Check out the recipe!

Martha’s Barley Coffee


1 bag of barley (dry—looks like rice)


  1. Roast barley over medium heat, stirring constantly until browned.  (WARNING: Per Martha, this may cause some smoke, so make sure your kitchen is ventilated! Stirring constantly reduces likelihood of burning). Best to roast slowly as this decreases the likelihood of burning.
  2. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Store in airtight container until ready to use.
  4. Add roasted barley (not sure how much…maybe 1 cup?) (Martha corrected me–just add a few tablespoons!) to pot of water and heat over medium. The longer you heat the water/barley the “darker” your coffee.
  5. Strain out barley & save for later use!
  6. Serve in your best coffee pot with cream/milk & sugar.

Thank you ladies of the IC/PBS group for allowing me to meet with you this morning! I enjoyed our time together VERY much! Happy Weekend!  

App of The Week

When patients come in with complaints of bowel dysfunction (i.e. constipation, fecal leaking, hemorrhoids) or urinary leaking, it is essential to assess what these patients are putting into their bodies. With these apps, it’s easy to monitor calorie consumption, nutrition facts, and even get some ideas for healthy treats!

Grades your food, explains what’s really inside each product, and offers healthier alternatives.

Lose It:

Lose It! is the most popular, complete, and streamlined weight loss app for the iPhone.


The Snack App:
The Snack App sorts hundreds of snacks by calorie counts – 50, 100, or 200 – and by type of craving: salty, sweet, crunchy, cheesy, creamy, and more. Just tell the app what you want, and you’ll get a list of tasty snack ideas, complete with caloric and nutritional information.


Written by: Jenna Sires PT, DPT

Treating The Elephant in The Room (Thanks Sue Croft)

Check out Sue Croft’s latest blog post on male urinary incontinence…


The Prostate: What Does it do? And What Happens When it is Removed?

A large majority of our patients include men who have, or are about to undergo a prostatectomy. I thought it would be fitting to educate not only these patients, but the rest of us on the function, and repercussions of removing this vital structure.

First of all… what in the world is the prostate? And what does it do? Well, the prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine flows.

Prostate Anatomy

This walnut sized gland contributes to the production of seminal fluid. During orgasm, this seminal fluid helps carry sperm out of the man’s body as part of semen. (

Why do men have this gland removed you might ask?…. Primarily due to cancer of the prostate. Cancer begins in cells, the building blocks that make up all tissues and organs of the body, including the prostate. Normal cells in the prostate and other parts of the body grow and divide to form new cells as they are needed. When normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place. Sometimes, this process goes wrong. New cells form when the body doesn’t need them, and old or damaged cells don’t die as they should. The buildup of extra cells often forms a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor. (

According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be 238,590 new cases of prostate cancer in 2013 and ~ 29, 720 deaths in the United States. That is a lot of cancer, and if treated via a prostatectomy, that is a TON of males who may need the help of a skilled pelvic floor physical therapist.
During a prostatectomy a surgeon removes the prostate gland from the surrounding tissue. The seminal vesicles, two small fluid-filled sacs next to the prostate, are sometimes also removed. The surgeon tries carefully not to damage nerves and blood vessels. Once the prostate is removed, the surgeon reattaches the urethra to a part of the bladder called the bladder neck. Following the surgery, a urinary catheter is left in the bladder to drain urine.

Some risks of this procedure include:
– Difficulty controlling bowel movements (bowel incontinence)
– Difficulty controlling urine (urinary incontinence); Incidence after radical prostatectomy varies from 2.5-87%. At 6 months 5-72% (Cooperberg J Urology 2003; 170: 512-515)
– Erection problems (impotence)
– Injury to the rectum
– Urethral stricture (tightening of the urinary opening due to scar tissue)

Now, as the urethra and bladder neck are healing the control of urinary continence is left to the pelvic floor muscles.


These muscles wrap around the urethra and rectum, maintaining continence, and must fully relax to allow complete urine and bowel emptying (Check out this amazing video to learn more about this muscle group). Many men benefit from pelvic floor muscle retraining prior to surgery to increase their awareness, strength, and endurance of the pelvic floor. Research has also shown that men who participate in skilled PT pre-operatively are less likely to struggle with chronic urinary incontinence (Burgio J Urology 2006; 175: 196-201).

The sad part is, post-operatively, many men are not even informed that PT is an option to improve continence. They may struggle with the embarrassment of leaking urine, difficulty returning to work, depression, and the list goes on and on.

Do you know someone with prostate cancer or who has had their prostate removed? If so, guide them to the National Institute of Cancer, show them this blog, and remember that education is key to improving our quality of life and general health.

Written by: Jenna Sires PT, DPT

Pictures: ,

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