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­­­Want to feel like a virgin again?

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th September 2008 03:00 AM

Pregnancy and child birth can over the years take their toll on the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder and bowel.

Pregnancy and child birth can over the years take their toll on the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder and bowel.

By Susan Muyiyi

Pregnancy and child birth can over the years take their toll on the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder and bowel.

During a normal delivery, a woman may have an episiotomy (surgical cut to widen the vaginal opening for the baby’s head to comfortably pass through the birth canal).

This puts some women off normal deliveries, because they believe their vaginal muscles can loosen beyond redemption.

But it so happens that a variety of soaps, creams and herbs are being sold in shops on Luwum Street, with a promise to solve this problem. Some even promise instant virginity.

At one shops the attendant demonstrates how the virginity soap works.

“Make foam in your bath water and sit in it for 15 to 20 minutes every morning and evening if you want quick results,” she advises.

The women seated at the third floor of the Mutaasa Kafeero building appear to be doing their nails, at a glance.

However, a number them are Hajji Dagala’s (the self acclaimed doctor with remedies for any female sexual problem) loyal customers.

One Mama Hanifa, a hair dresser in a salon nearby, gives me his number and confesses that ekinyo, a herb in powder and solid form believed to tighten the vaginal muscles, has done wonders for her.

“I used ekinyo powder after having my second son. The difference was evident. My muscles became tighter in record time, I am now addicted, it is like a ritual I must perform,” she says.

However, you can’t make a purchase from Hajji Dagala without calling first.

He came to me empty handed thinking that I was from the National Drug authority, until I convinced him that I ‘urgently’ needed his services.

But Stella, a former user of the powder, says it worked for a while but she stopped when she started developing problems. “I had to depend on lubricants and got sores during sex. I also got candida and severe itching.”

Dr. Miriam Nakalembe Evudria, a gynaecologist, says it is not possible to tell whether these creams, soaps and herbs work, without doing a comparative study on women who use them in comparison to those who don’t.

She advises against manipulating nature because of the health implications involved.

“Usually, interference with the normal functioning of the vagina changes the pH and makes the person susceptible to vaginal infections such as candida,” Nakalembe explains.

The unnatural tightening of the vaginal muscles sucks the moisture out of the walls of the birth canal, causing bruises during sexual intercourse.

Such tears make the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, more likely.

Although natural tears may occur in the birth canal during normal delivery, qualified medical personnel stitch them, says Dr. Samuel Kaggwa, a gynaecologist at Naguru Hospital.

He emphasises the importance of having a supervised delivery to minimise the tears.

Ideally, the stitches are expected to have healed six weeks after delivery, although some take longer. The stitches are regenerated into the body tissue.

New mothers should not play down the recommended medical check up six weeks after delivery. Any abnormalities like bad stitching can be corrected then, if identified.

Kaggwa and Nakalembe agree that there is need to exercise the vaginal muscles.

Strengthening the vaginal walls through exercise is a healthy and better option. Without exercise, muscles lose their elasticity with time, regardless of where they are located on the body.

Nakalembe says kegel exercises are ideal because they strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

-Kegels are pelvic floor exercises of the muscles attached to the pelvic bone which act like a hammock, holding in your pelvic organs. Just like all other exercises, they require discipline and commitment. To isolate the pelvic muscles, try stopping and starting the flow of urine.

-Once you have located the muscles, simply tighten and relax them over and over, about 200 times a day. These are basic kegels.

-Concentrate on working only the pelvic floor muscles and not the one in the buttocks, thighs or abdomen. Try not to hold your breath as you go about this routine. Sitting and standing are better positions which will enable you to firmly tense the muscles without interfering with muscles on other body parts.

-Repeat for as many times as possible and remember this is a lifetime beneficial exercise. It controls the risk of developing incontinence (uncontrolled passing of urine) as you grow older.

-You can also do the exercise during pregnancy. Conditioned muscles will make childbirth easier and your perineum will more likely be intact, with fewer tears and episiotomies.

-General physical fitness also helps keep the entire body in shape.

In addition to sitting in a solution of mild salty water, a good diet, rich in protein (body building foods), is recommended to quicken the rebuilding of body tissue in the birth canal after delivery.

-You can also discuss the option of surgery with your doctor.

­­­Want to feel like a virgin again?

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