Apr 05, 2004 - 1:40 pm
A few weeks after my RP surgery in January 03, I began doing Kegel exercises per my doctor's recommendation. I am now 15 months following surgery and still am incontinent. When standing for more than a few minutes, I experience a constant drip, drip, drip into my Depends pad, although I'm using only one per day.
"Just Thinking" indicated that her husband attributes his great success in overcoming incontinence to his Kegel program and exercise. I'm wondering what program others have used, specifically how and how many Kegel exercises were done, and to what success.
My doctor recommended that I do hundreds of kegels while sitting or driving, after I did a few standing at the toilet to get the hang of it. I started a year ago to do them in sets of 30 at first, building up to about 100 each time I drove, for a total of about 200 per day. But, they caused pains throughout the lower abdomen, and it appears that the urinary control was less after days of Kegels. After many off and on attempts to do the Kegels with the resulting pain, I have returned to doing them only while voiding at the toilet while standing. Now, I know there is some controversy among doctors as to how and how many Kegels to do. My doctor was trained at the Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Patrick Walsh of Johns Hopkins has a very different recommendation. He says: Every time you urinate, do it standing up. You CAN'T practice the following [kegel] exercises while you're sitting down. Start your stream, and once it's in full force, stop the stream by contracting the muscles in your buttocks -- not your abdominal muscles, not the muscles "up in front" around the penis. Tighten your buttocks; imagine you're trying to hold a quarter between your cheeks. Hold the urine back for five or ten seconds, and repeat as many times as you can. Note: Only perform these exercises when you're urinating; if you keep contracting these muscles throughout the day, you'll overdo it -- the sphincter tires easily -- and you'll end up wetter than you would otherwise.
So, while I am hopeful that my problem stems from my age of 72, meaning that it will take longer for the sphincter to come around, I'm beginning to get concerned that I am in that small percentage of survivors of RP who will never regain full urinary control. I would appreciate your advice, as I suspect many of us are in a similar situation. firstname.lastname@example.org