(photo credit: Courtesy)
I am a 67-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with problems of the pelvic
floor. The main symptom is that I cannot hold in my urine and have repeated
urinary infections. It made me very nervous, as I am afraid of surgery. What can
I do? -T.C., Rehovot.
Dr. Benny Feiner, head of the urogynecology service
at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, comments: Problems with the structure
and functioning of the pelvic floor is one of the most common complaints for
women of all ages, including those who have recently given birth. Research has
shown that only some of them tell their husbands/partners about the problem, and
even fewer consult a doctor. The problem is that they’re embarrassed, but also
they may not be aware that the problem can be treated and their quality of life
There are a number of common symptoms. A woman
may urinate involuntarily many times a day (more than in the past) or even wake
up at night and have to get out of bed and go to the bathroom more than once.
Just hearing the flow of water may induce an urgent need to urinate. Others may
lose urine when laughing, coughing, raising a heavy weight, jumping, exercising
Urination may be urgent, but when going to the bathroom, a
woman may have difficulty holding it in or have difficulty starting the flow.
The flow may be weak or intermittent. Frequent urinary infections are also
common in such women, and the condition may also involve fecal
Other sufferers notice chronic pelvic pain, pain during sex
or weakness of the sides of the vagina or disfigurement of the vaginal
Any woman who identifies one or more symptoms should to go a
urogynecologist to determine whether she has pelvic floor problems. There are
all kinds of treatments, including exercise, surgery and other means to repair
the pelvic floor.
I am a 24-year-old woman who likes to jog and exercise.
I have time on my hands and thought I might get involved in competitive amateur
sport. I worry, however, of sports injuries, as I have several friends who are
professional and amateur sportsmen who have gotten hurt. Is there any way to
prevent sports injuries from intensive activity, or is inevitable? -V.P., Ramat
Dr. Ron Arbel of the orthopedic division of the Center for Sports
Medicine at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, replies: Sports injuries can be
minor and treated on-site, but the more serious ones may require operations and
longterm rehabilitation. It is not only professional sportsmen who can be
injured but even amateur bicyclists who ride on the weekend. It is commonly
believed that injuries are an inevitable part of all physical activity, but the
truth is that they are caused by improper training.
Injuries result from
either overuse of the body, or from physical trauma during a game or
The most common cause of sports injuries is improper training;
if the warm-ups are not done right and the player is not prepared correctly. As
a result, pressure on the body during training is too great, leading to overuse
of a specific part, such as a shoulder, hand, muscle or ankle. The surface on
which you function is also important. Runners who work out on pavement will get
injured more than those who practice on “bouncy” grass that absorbs the
If sports equipment is not suited to the sportsman, significant
damage may result. A cyclist has to ride a bike specifically prepared for him,
otherwise injury can result to the palms, neck, hand joints and back – nearly
the whole body. Even shoes need to be matched to the bike.
Overuse of the
body can damage the soft tissues, including the muscles and ligaments, but also
the bones, which can develop stress fractures. Muscles function as shock
absorbers, but when they are not well developed or not developed properly, the
burden falls on the bones themselves, and these can fracture.
general rule is by training with expert advice and following the rules, sports
injuries can be prevented. ■
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about
medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most
interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem
91000, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or e-mail
them to firstname.lastname@example.org, giving your initials, age and place of residence.