This time of year, I usually write a column for the Reno Gazette Journal about how important it is to get your flu shot. Not everyone agrees on this, but the shot is just as important for you as it is for the people who can’t get it. The young and the old alike need us to protect them as much as possible from spreading the flu since they are the most at risk. Preventative medicine is becoming more and more popular as peopled are starting to realize that surgery and pills aren’t always the best answer for the human body. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview Dr. Bruce Crawford, a practicing Urogynecologist for the last 20 years, and learn about some of the breakthrough work he is doing to help women and men overcome problems with different levels of incontinence they may be experiencing. This can be an incredibly difficult subject to address and most don’t want to discuss it, however, after talking to Dr. Crawford, I decided this information was worth sharing with the general public.
If you are a woman that has had children, you can relate to the inability to jump, run, laugh, or sneeze too much without having some level of problem with your bladder. This only worsens as we get older and we all just accept that this is part of life that we can’t do much about. There are expensive surgeries with side effects and lengthy recovery times that can be performed, but Dr. Crawford has discovered that bladder control is a neuro-muscular dysfunction that can be solved by focusing on fitness. At a cost of less than $200, every woman can have a home program that will teach them the exercises needed for pelvic floor rehabilitation as well as have access to online support (visit pfilates.com or vesylab.com to learn more). The exercises take about 10 minutes per day (five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night) and can change your life. Surgical procedures do not cure these problems, they merely compensate for them. Women who have had surgery also have experienced side effects and oftentimes are unsatisfied with the result. Today, there are over 3000 certified pelvic floor rehabilitation trainers with 1,400 in North America alone. We are lucky enough to have a local physician that can begin working with women as early as their first pregnancy to help prevent future problems.
Currently, only 1 in 4 women who have issues are being treated which means so many out there are accepting some level of incontinence as a normal part of life when fitness could help cure the problem. Incontinence is a very rich industry when you consider all of the surgeries that are performed and medications prescribed. Part of what is broken in our health care system is that surgery is often the first recommended solution to many ailments rather than diet, exercise, and alternative treatments like Philates (pelvic floor pilates). If we all became more educated about the options available, we would access insurance less and the end result could be lower premiums for all. Even with philates, the good news is that most insurance will cover office based pelvic floor rehabilitation and at a much lower cost to everyone than surgery.
Men can also benefit from philates for different reasons. Men who have had prostrate removal are perfect candidates for this fitness program and can often return to normal lives without taking medications like Viagra or Cialis that can be expensive and also come with side effects. The most recent statistics for men who have participated in these treatments shows a 30-40% return to normal function without medication.
There is a large percentage of the population that can benefit from this discussion so I encourage you to visit the above websites to get more information. You can also call 775-284-3482 to schedule a time to meet with Dr. Crawford at his office located at 645 Sierra Rose Drive in Reno, NV. While none of us like to discuss these personal issues, it is worth getting the help you need without resorting to surgery or medication first. For some, surgery may be necessary, but for a majority of women and men, committing to ten minutes per day is all that is needed to cure a very nagging and sometimes embarrassing problem.
After giving birth to three children, I am excited to start the program to prevent problems that are sure to arise in the future. I have spent the last five years researching every aspect of preventative medicine that I can and this is another area I am excited to have learned about. As I type this, my left arm is just slightly sore from my flu shot. Don’t forget to go and get those shots so that in 2-3 weeks you will be ready to battle the next flu season and protect those who can’t be vaccinated.