The Bathroom Key–Book Review

When I was a child my mom taught me what her mother taught her about how to care for the muscles that hold back pee. Basically if you stop the flow of urine several times during each pee that you will keep your muscles strong so you don’t leak as you get older. My grandmother described these as kegels.

I have to admit that I was not particularly impressed with kegels as they were taught to me. I had trouble doing them and they didn’t really seem to  help make those muscles strong. I didn’t do them regularly and before giving birth I was unhappy to note that after peeing I had trouble holding back urine when I stood up.  My midwifes only advice about my difficulty was to do lots kegels. I tried, but yet again it was very difficult and it didn’t seem to help.  Then after birth my ability to hold back pee got worse. Much worse, I would suddenly need to go at very in convenient times but if I actually got to the bathroom  nothing much would happen and if I didn’t sometimes I would leak! I hoped against hope that when I healed up that it would get better. But it didn’t. Eleven months later I remembered that I has seen a book at my local library that had some advice about incontinence. So in desperation I checked it out. It was called The Bathroom Key by Kathryn Kassai and Kim Perelli.

Because I had an agenda I flipped to chapter three, the section where they talk about the treatment plan. I quickly realized that what my grandmother had taught us was not a kegel at all! It was simply the test for how to recognize the muscles we were looking to exercise. This explained why kegels worked for others but not me; I had been doing them wrong.  Within a week of doing the actual kegel exercises it became much easier to hold my pee and the desperate urgency eased up considerably. There were some other tricks that helped with urgency too.

As a parent I am only able to snatch small amounts of time to read and every time I did, I  was amazed, every new thing I read in the book was either interesting: the history of Arnold Henry Kegel and of Joseph Hubertus Pilates, or super useful: exercises for supplemental muscles, tips for easing urgency, even ways your diet might be making it harder to hold urine in.

I realized that I had accidentally gotten into some bad habits and it was actually quite easy to retrain myself out of them. After two weeks I was not having near the problems I had been having.

Although there was some very disturbing information about organ prolapse and some of the personal stories made me cry, I think overall that it would make every woman much happier if they knew what was in this book, it has some seriously important information. I am very grateful to have read it.

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