Grandma — pick us up!” Rhonda Stevens’ grandkids raced toward her with outstretched arms. She knelt down to hug them with a smile on her face, but fear in her heart.
For, while Rhonda wanted nothing more than to pick up her grandbabies, she knew the bothersome sensation that would follow.
Ever since the birth of her children, the Olympia, Washington, resident had suffered from stress urinary incontinence. Every cough or sneeze brought uncertainty, and Rhonda became preoccupied with locating restrooms wherever she went. Packing her “supplies” to prevent leaks, every day was a reminder of the freedom she had lost — and the discomfort that now featured so prominently in her everyday life.
But when Rhonda shared her concerns with her gynecologist, who suggested she do Kegel exercises, she felt put out. As a physical therapy assistant, Rhonda had been doing Kegels for years — with no relief.
“Isn’t there anything else I can try?” she despaired. “I’ve endured this for 26 years, and I can’t go on like this.” On the drive home, her doctor’s response echoed in her head: “You’ll have to live with it.” Discouraged, Rhonda shook her head. There must be something that can help.
A Fun Solution
Getting to work researching, Rhonda was intrigued when, in April of 2020, she was scrolling online and came across The Belly Dance Solution, a program created by a professional belly dancer to eliminate urinary incontinence. On the website (TheBellyDanceSolution.com), Rhonda learned that its creator, Jennifer Sobel, had made the program after a student reported her leaking had stopped after taking her belly dance classes. Could this work for me?
Rhonda wondered. From her knowledge of PT, Rhonda understood that certain belly dance moves and combinations could engage the pelvic floor and that she could strengthen those muscles while dancing.
I need the exercise too, Rhonda mused, purchasing the digital program for $37. Tying on a hip scarf she bought online, she began her first lesson. Rhonda moved her body through the fluid motions of the exercises, as her beaded scarf jingled and a big smile spread across her face.
“I’m belly dancing!” she beamed, shimmying in circular motions. “And it’s fun!” Continuing with the lessons, Rhonda belly danced along to her program for 10 to 20 minutes a day — and was elated to see her symptoms decreasing in mere days.
Even more exciting, after 21 days, her urinary incontinence was completely gone for the first time in decades. “I have no problem with incontinence anymore!” says Rhonda, who at 52 years old, dances two to three times a week to maintain her results.
“I can sneeze without worry and feel more confident than ever! An added bonus? I can finally pick up my grandkids again!”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.