Incontinence After Childbirth
You have just welcomed your bundle of joy into the world. You are done pampering him/her for the day and you decide to catch up on some movies, read a book, or entertain some friends. Something funny makes you laugh and oh no. It happened. The Thing. You pee all over yourself! “Give birth” they said. “It’ll be great,” they said. Meanwhile, you choose this day to wear white pants during yoga and now you have to fake your death and move to Mexico.
On the plus side, you are not alone. One in three women around the world experience incontinence postpartum. It can happen when you laugh, sneeze, cough or lift heavy objects, or perform any strenuous activity. It can happen anywhere at any time. We’re not saying that us women are the fairer and tougher sex with the number of uncomfortable situations we put up with on the daily, but we’re not “not” saying it either.
More About Incontinence After Childbirth.
What Causes Urinary Incontinence?
Several things can cause incontinence, but it’s especially common after pregnancy. Some women may also experience it during their pregnancy. It may be mild or severe. During childbirth, the muscles around the pelvis and bladder are stressed beyond measure. You know that whole squeezing something the size out of a watermelon from something the size of a lemon, chestnut?
They become weak and can fail to control your flow. After birth, your uterus tends to sit directly on your bladder thereby compressing it and making it hard to control. Fun!
You are more likely to suffer urinary incontinence after childbirth if:
- It is your first baby
- It is a large baby
- You had a multiple births
- You have excess weight
- Had previous incontinence, either during or after childbirth
- Had a vacuum delivery
- Had a forceps delivery
- You had a difficult vaginal delivery that results in stitches. It may also be as a result of a tear just outside your vagina
- You had to endure a long labour
Although urinary incontinence mainly affects women who have a vaginal birth, there are cases involving C-section deliveries as well. You C-section ladies thought you go out of that one, huh? Nope. Incontinence may still occur even if you have that’s how you gave birth in rare cases. It often depends on your genetics. It may also occur years later as you grow older, because who doesn’t want surprise incontinence years after giving birth when things are returning to normal?
How Long Do I Have To Endure A Weak Bladder?
No woman’s the same so so timeframe will be. Some women regain control after a few weeks and some take months. As discussed above there are also cases of women that face the problem even years down the road.
Types of Incontinence
There are two types of urinary incontinence related to pregnancy: Stress and urge. Leaks that are as a result of coughing, sneezing, jumping, laughing, or lifting heavy weights are attributed to stress incontinence.
During pregnancy, thanks to hormonal changes, some women experience what is termed as an overactive bladder or urge incontinence. An overactive bladder makes you feel like urinating after what seems like every few minutes. This is thanks to the expanding uterus that puts pressure on the bladder.
After childbirth, incontinence problems may continue thanks to weakened pelvis muscles. Awesome. Just awesome.
Ways To Deal With Incontinence After Birth
Luckily, there are many ways to deal with incontinence after childbirth. You don’t have to wait for months or even years for it to solve itself.
Let’s have a look at some of the best ways known that help control this condition.
- Kegel Exercises: Squeezing the pelvic muscles can help them regain their function. All you have to do is squeeze your them like you are holding onto urine, hold for about 10 seconds and release. Repeat this exercise a few times a day until your pelvic muscles gain their strength. As you exercise, ensure that your thigh, buttocks, and abdominal muscles remain relaxed. It’s also important to note, you should only do Kegel exercises if you are physically strong enough. You might want to wait at least six weeks after birth to attempt them.
- Reduce excess weight as soon as possible: If you’ve gained some fat during your pregnancy it may also contribute to urinary incontinence. It’s best to discuss with your doctor the best ways to lose any weight gained and when it’s safe to do so.
- Train your bladder: You can train your bladder to behave by urinating at 30 minutes intervals at the start, then gradually increasing the amount of time taken between each toilet visit.
- Don’t cut down on water intake: Some women assume cutting down water intake will help eliminate urinary incontinence. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, because of course, it wouldn’t be that easy. You should still continue to drink as many as 8 glasses of water every day to keep hydrated and avoid urinary tract infections.
- Steer clear of soft drinks, coffee, and alcohol They only work to irritate your bladder and make it harder to control incontinence.
- Seek medical assistance: If you have no control over your bladder for months on end and nothing you do seems to work, then you might want to see a doctor. There are bladder support products that may be recommended for you.
- Make use of Pessary: Your doctor may recommend you using a pessary. It is a small silicone ring that is inserted into the vagina in the morning and removed at night. A pessary is especially helpful for persistent leaking. It is designed to stop the flow from the urethra.
- Go for Electrical Stimulation Therapy: This therapy works like Kegels but with the help of a gentle electric current. The electric current is introduced at strategic points around your pelvic area to cause the pelvic floor muscles to contract and relax at intervals. Apparently, you will have to visit the doctor’s office at least twice a week for at least two months to enjoy positive results.
- Bladder “sling” surgery: If the worst comes to the worst and the leaking is greatly affecting your daily life. And you have no intentions of getting pregnant again, then you may want to consider getting a bladder “sling” surgery. With this surgery, a sling is inserted into your body to help support your urethra.
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