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  1. #1
    ICN Member musiclover's Avatar
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    Are there ways to relax urinary sphincter?

    Does anybody know any methods to manually relax the urinary sphincter? My PT is doing internal trigger point work, but I am really starting to think it's the sphincter that is too tight areound my urethra. That is what it feels like. Are there any exercises or manual treatments that you have heard of to help with this?

    Thanks!
    36 Years old, Live in Bay Area, California.

    Update! Feeling much better these days and can usually live my life! I've had severe IC symptoms since Nov '08, and I've had treatments since June '09. I'm so thankful for the info on this forum to help me get to a place where I can feel okay.

    Pelvic pain began July 2008. Urinary frequency began in November of 2008. IC Doctor says I'm one of the worst frequency patients he has had.

    Main symptoms: Frequency, burning pain. Sometimes I feel I have to go even after I empty my bladder. Completed 8 months of physical therapy.

    Currently on: IC Diet, Elavil (30mg), Elmiron since June '09 (500mg/day).

    Previously tried and quit: one series of six instillations, Neurontin, Ditropan, Oxytrol, electric stimulation to the pelvic floor, Desert Harvest Aloe, Cystoprotek and Flomax, Hydroxyzine (50mg), Alesse Birth control (this helped my period flares when my symptoms used to be bad), PTNS (I think this helped).



  2. #2
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    something that might help...

    Hey there...when I was in PT, my therapist told me to just take a few big, slow belly breaths while I'm sitting on the toilet, and that should relax all the muscles in the pelvic region so I can go to the bathroom without pushing or double-voiding. Your PT should be working on your sphincter to stretch out the muscles as well as doing trigger point work. Mine used to do this. She also had me get this thing called a Crystal Wand, which is supposed to be a sex toy, but which you can use to stretch out your muscles yourself:

    Crystal Wand Acrylic Kegel Exerciser


    Ask your PT if she's ever heard of it used in this way, and if she can show you how to use it. I've found it very helpful to be able to maintain my own muscle flexibility with this device since my PT ended.
    Last edited by SharonA; 05-26-2009 at 11:52 AM. Reason: deleted online sales website address

  3. #3
    ICN Member musiclover's Avatar
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    Thanks for your response. The belly breaths are a good reminder. My PT has told me to do these, but I'm not sure that I do them often enough. I also have a crystal wand. I have found lately that using a non-latex glove has given me a little more control so I can feel with my hand what the muscles are doing. The wand is great for those hard to reach areas, though.

    I guess doing the internal work will help the sphincter, then. Because I do the manual therapy, I was just wondering if that will in the long run help my sphincter. But I don't know if it's the sphincter or the muscles around it that are squeezing it. It's so hard to know. I finally have an appointment with a pelvic floor specialist MD, so my PT is waiting to hear from him on how to proceed. My pain has dissipated a whole lot, but this frequency is just not going away. I feel like my urethra is always being grabbed by some muscles, and I just can't get them to relax! My PT thinks it's my obterator internus, so I keep working on that. It's so frustrating.

    Thanks again! Take care.
    36 Years old, Live in Bay Area, California.

    Update! Feeling much better these days and can usually live my life! I've had severe IC symptoms since Nov '08, and I've had treatments since June '09. I'm so thankful for the info on this forum to help me get to a place where I can feel okay.

    Pelvic pain began July 2008. Urinary frequency began in November of 2008. IC Doctor says I'm one of the worst frequency patients he has had.

    Main symptoms: Frequency, burning pain. Sometimes I feel I have to go even after I empty my bladder. Completed 8 months of physical therapy.

    Currently on: IC Diet, Elavil (30mg), Elmiron since June '09 (500mg/day).

    Previously tried and quit: one series of six instillations, Neurontin, Ditropan, Oxytrol, electric stimulation to the pelvic floor, Desert Harvest Aloe, Cystoprotek and Flomax, Hydroxyzine (50mg), Alesse Birth control (this helped my period flares when my symptoms used to be bad), PTNS (I think this helped).



  4. #4
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    maybe this will help?

    I'm sorry, I had this therapy two years ago so my memory's a little fuzzy, so I don't remember exactly which treatment method helped what condition - the frequency, urinary pain, vaginal tightness, etc. - it all seemed to get better together. Has your PT been using a heating pad on you? Mine used to before every session when I first started, and it really loosened me up. I still use one when I have a relapse.

    Have you been doing any lengthening techniques on yourself with the Crystal Wand? Sorry to be graphic here...I usually take the point of the wand, press it against the vaginal wall and pull down slowly, stopping for a minute if I hit any trigger points. This technique really helps me with both tightness and frequency. Check with your PT on that before you do it; I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself!

  5. #5
    ICN Member musiclover's Avatar
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    No my PT hasn't been using a heating pad. I take 2 hot baths a day, but not necessarily right before doing manual therapy. Ill try the heating pad. I use a similar technique with a glove. It's hard to find things with my wand for me. If I give gentle pressure on the tight bands I feel them like melt after 90 seconds then release. But they tighten back up quickly. I'm just frustrated because my frequency remains bad. But it's definitely the muscles because different body positions make a huge difference. I guess it'll come together eventually if I keep at it. Thanks so much for your recommendations!
    36 Years old, Live in Bay Area, California.

    Update! Feeling much better these days and can usually live my life! I've had severe IC symptoms since Nov '08, and I've had treatments since June '09. I'm so thankful for the info on this forum to help me get to a place where I can feel okay.

    Pelvic pain began July 2008. Urinary frequency began in November of 2008. IC Doctor says I'm one of the worst frequency patients he has had.

    Main symptoms: Frequency, burning pain. Sometimes I feel I have to go even after I empty my bladder. Completed 8 months of physical therapy.

    Currently on: IC Diet, Elavil (30mg), Elmiron since June '09 (500mg/day).

    Previously tried and quit: one series of six instillations, Neurontin, Ditropan, Oxytrol, electric stimulation to the pelvic floor, Desert Harvest Aloe, Cystoprotek and Flomax, Hydroxyzine (50mg), Alesse Birth control (this helped my period flares when my symptoms used to be bad), PTNS (I think this helped).



  6. #6
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    yes, I think you should give it a shot...

    Yes, I really think you should try a heating pad, or work on yourself after one of your baths. Heating up the muscles will make them more pliable. That's why you "warm up" before a workout. In fact, I just read about a champion runner who said that he takes a hot shower before a run in order to warm up his muscles. I think you will find that the muscles don't tighten back up quite as quickly if you heat them up first.

    Maybe you should see if your PT can use one on you before your therapy as well. Mine used to put a hot, wet towel over my belly at the beginning of my session, and then over my back when I flipped over for my lower back/butt massage. It felt heavenly.

    Hope that helps!

  7. #7
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    question on wand use

    Quote Originally Posted by feelingfine09 View Post
    I'm sorry, I had this therapy two years ago so my memory's a little fuzzy, so I don't remember exactly which treatment method helped what condition - the frequency, urinary pain, vaginal tightness, etc. - it all seemed to get better together. Has your PT been using a heating pad on you? Mine used to before every session when I first started, and it really loosened me up. I still use one when I have a relapse.

    Have you been doing any lengthening techniques on yourself with the Crystal Wand? Sorry to be graphic here...I usually take the point of the wand, press it against the vaginal wall and pull down slowly, stopping for a minute if I hit any trigger points. This technique really helps me with both tightness and frequency. Check with your PT on that before you do it; I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself!
    I have a crystal wand too. Does anyone get an increase in pain after using it to stretch the internal muscles? I'm scared to use it on the side where the urethra is because that is where I'm most sensitive. After the PT stretches things out I'm sore, too.
    42 years IC. 2013 tried liposome instillations at California Stem Cell TC and the pain I guess from the catheter was too much. I tried 3 times. I am going to stick with trying a few old medications for now - hyomax and try vaginal valium. I still think herbs are so much safer than drugs.(I took an overview course a few years ago.) But there is so much little research on herbal remedies for this complex disease and people in pain need help as soon as possible, therefore RX drugs are necessary. I myself was trying elmiron (after cystoprotek and aloe vera did not seem to coat the bladder for me) Back to herbs, if you think that your IC is caused by histamines and allergies, etc, there are many researched herbs and herb formulas for that type of thing so perhaps that may be a path for you. But since IC is so complex, those herbs may not help. Perhaps if you think you are getting infections, there may be herbs that could deal with chronic, drug resistance problems but you would need some professional guidence. I believe I keep inflammation down by taking cucurmin extract, and other anti-inflammatory herbs - there are many good ones. You SHOULD find some that agree with you and your medication protocol if possible.

  8. #8
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    Just a thought....I also did PFT, and my therapist told me "drop my pelvis" which is opposite to kegels, and the best way to do this and know you are doing it is to squat and pee, relax the entire spincter muscle, kegel, vaginal muscles and drop the pelvis. You can feel it drop at the END of your pee. Then just stay there a moment.

    I always squat and pee a few times a day. My therapist said we should all be squatting and peeing at least once a day.

    Just a thought....as I know how hard the "breathing technique" is to master and to know if you are doing it correctly....at least with the squat and pee it happens automatically....BUT you totally need to relax the pelvic floor muscles.

    Peace
    Blue

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