Thursday, June 13, 2024

Urinary Incontinence After Childbirth Treatment

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How Aeroflow Urology Can Help

How to Self-Treat Urinary Incontinence During or After Pregnancy With Dr Anuja Mathew

Aeroflow Urology knows that managing incontinence can be stressful at times, especially if you have a new baby to take care of!

See if you qualify to receive free incontinence supplies, such as bladder pads or adult briefs, by using Aeroflow Urology.

Want to see how it works? Check out the video below.

How To Do Kegel Exercises

You can identify which muscles are your pelvic floor muscles by attempting to stop your urination flow mid-stream. Dont continue practicing kegels by stopping your stream, though. Weirdly enough, doing kegels while peeing can train your bladder not to empty fully which puts you at risk of UTIs.

When youve identified which muscles are your pelvic floor muscles, continue your practice on an empty bladder.

On your first day, youll want to try to flex your muscle for 5 seconds at a time. Then relax for 5 seconds. This is 1 rep, try to do 5 reps on your first day.

Be careful not to flex the wrong muscles! If you tighten your abs, thighs, or butt youre not doing the kegel exercises properly.

You should not hold your breath either. While performing the exercises, you should be able to breathe freely.

As you get better at it, youll want to eventually aim for 10 reps of 10-second holds/10-second breaks 3 times per day according to the National Association for Continence.

But quality is more important than quantity.

The most important thing is to perform the kegel exercises properly, and be sure that youre flexing the right muscles.

There are a variety of weights, balls, wands, and other devices that you can use to give yourself something to put resistance against. You can also try inserting a finger and tensing around it if youre still not sure whether or not youre performing the exercises properly.

What Can You Expect Post

Its essential to note that every patient is different. Some individuals are able to return to work within a matter of days while others need several weeks or even months.

Youll have an easier time recovering from surgery if youre in good health prior to the procedure and if you avoid smoking before and after surgery.

Post-surgery, youll experience some level of pain and discomfort depending on the type of surgery that you had. For this reason, its important to let the doctor know if your symptoms become severe.

It can take up to six weeks for you to recover from urethral sling surgery. The typical recovery period for mid-urethral tape or mesh is around two weeks. However, some patients report that it took much longer to feel completely recovered.

Depending on the procedure that you had, you may experience urinary incontinence again if your muscles are too weak to keep control over your bladder contractions.

Youll need to follow up with the doctor after surgery to help ensure that you do not experience ongoing issues related to stress damage or weakening of pelvic floor muscles.

If youre considering vaginal birth after a cesarean, its important to know that your risk for urinary incontinence increases significantly if the procedure fails. For this reason, its recommended that you dont have another C-section if you previously experienced urinary incontinence after having a vaginal delivery.

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Is Incontinence Common During Pregnancy

As the baby grows, the enlarging uterus causes pressure on the bladder below it. This extra stress on the bladder makes it easier for any additional exertion, such as laughing, sneezing or exercising, to push urine out of the bladder. This is why women who are pregnant often have mild urinary incontinence during pregnancy. During a first pregnancy, more than one-third of women develop temporary stress incontinence. During subsequent pregnancies, more than three quarters develop this problem. However, most of the women who have incontinence during pregnancy return to full continence after delivery as the tissues of the birth canal heal. Only about 5% of these women still have stress incontinence a year after the delivery.

Who’s More Likely To Have Incontinence After Pregnancy


Women who are overweight or obese are much more likely to develop stress incontinence many studies find this condition to be the single most important risk factor.

Women who had moderate to severe stress incontinence during or before pregnancy are also more prone to persistent urinary incontinence after delivery, sometimes lasting up to several years.

You may be more likely to have postpartum stress incontinence if you gave birth vaginally instead of delivering by cesarean section.

You may also have a greater risk of postpartum stress incontinence if you:

Recent research suggests that genetic predisposition may play a role as well.

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Urinary Incontinence Treatment After Childbirth

There are a wide variety of bladder control solutions available for postpartum urinary incontinence.

The most common treatment option is Kegel exercises which help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder.

If pelvic exercises or pessaries dont quite fix your problem then your doctor might suggest a bladder lift, labiaplasty, or vaginal vault suspension.

These procedures are designed to tighten the loose muscle around the urethra which will help prevent urinary incontinence after childbirth.

Lets see in detail what is exactly Kegel exercises and how it helps in the treatment of urinary incontinence after childbirth?

Risk Factors For Incontinence After Childbirth

Women are more likely to have incontinence if they also had leakage problems during pregnancy, particularly in the first or second trimester. Women who also had long deliveries or needed forceps during labor are also more likely to experience urinary leakage.

According to the National Institutes of Health, women who have a natural delivery are 50% more likely to experience incontinence than women who deliver by C-section.

Women with a high BMI, or those who retain pregnancy weight gain after the birth of their child, are more likely to experience incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse after giving birth. Postpartum weight loss decreases the risk of urinary incontinence, even if other risk factors such as age and/or type of delivery method exist.

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When Should I See My Doctor

Most women who leak urine after childbirth find that it goes away in the first few weeks, as the stretched muscles and tissues recover.

However, for some women it can take months while other women find their pelvic floor never recovers fully.

If you are still experiencing leakage after 6 months, talk to your midwife or doctor. Dealing with it early on can reduce the risk of it becoming a life-long problem.

Stress incontinence is common, but many women are too embarrassed to talk about it. However, doctors, midwives, maternal and child health nurses and continence nurses are used to talking about it. If you are experiencing leakage, they will have suggestions that can help.

Can Urinary Incontinence Be Treated Without Surgery

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There is another option for women who are struggling with postpartum incontinence. Some OB-GYNs, like the Womens Center of Lakewood Ranch, offer more sophisticated in-office pelvic floor treatment.

If youre wondering how youd ever pay for treatment like that, dont worry. All insurance companies can and do pay for this service, so dont feel shy about seeking treatment!

If annoying symptoms like pelvic pain, or urinary incontinence are preventing you from enjoying time with your new baby then you should absolutely consider seeking in-office pelvic floor treatment.

At the Womens Center of Lakewood Ranch, we offer an extensive 8 week program to help you deal with urinary incontinence and pelvic pain.

Youll have a session once per week with a registered nurse who comes to our office to guide you through treatment.

Your sessions will be done in our luxurious spa suite area for your privacy. Its in the back of our offices out of the way, so you can relax and go through your treatment worry-free.

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How Do Kegel Exercises Help

Pregnancy changes a womans body forever, which includes weakening your pelvic floor muscles. Eventually, these pelvic muscles will lose the ability to contract and support your bladder which results in urine leakage.

Kegel exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by exercising them through specific exercises that isolate the muscle groups.

The more practice you have with isolating these muscle groups, the faster they begin to contract and support your bladder.

No special equipment is required to perform Kegel exercises, but some women choose to use either vaginal cones or resistance devices for added comfort.

What Are Some Pregnancy Incontinence Treatments

When considering treatment options for pregnancy incontinence, the first course of action should incorporate lifestyle changes and bladder management. If these steps dont improve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend other treatment options depending on what type of incontinence you are experiencing. These options may include:

  • Control of pelvic floor muscles- Kegel exercises.
  • Bladder support tampons that support the urethra from leaks.
  • Medications to help overactive bladder.
  • Bladder retraining tactics for urgency incontinence.

The most important factor is to remember to be patient – it can take a month or longer for certain treatments to begin working.

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Urinary Incontinence Treatment After Childbirth: Solution Available Now

Some women are lucky enough to not experience any urinary incontinence after giving birth.

Unfortunately, most women do have some degree of urinary leakage due to the stress that childbirth places on the bladder.

Luckily, there are several treatment options available for postpartum incontinence including Kegel exercises and pelvic floor physical therapy.

One easy way to find out if youre experiencing postpartum incontinence is by testing your urine after laughing, coughing, or sneezing.

If you are leaking a few drops of urine during these activities then its likely time to seek treatment before it becomes more problematic!


This article is written for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information should not be construed as offering medical opinions. Any of the recommended treatments presented here may cause side effects and complications of varying severity therefore one must always consult a medical professional before administering any treatment.

What Are The Risk Factors For Pregnancy Incontinence

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When youre pregnant, pelvic floor muscles are working overtime. That said, most women who are carrying a child are at risk for some form of pregnancy incontinence. Women who have had an overactive bladder or urgency incontinence prior to pregnancy will most likely have symptoms that continue or worsen during pregnancy. Other risk factors include:

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What Can I Do About Leaking Urine

Talk to your provider they may want to do a physical exam and get a urine culture and urinalysis to rule out a urinary tract infection .

If that’s not the cause, your provider may refer you to a urogynecologist for an evaluation. She’ll likely recommend that you start by doing Kegel exercises regularly, and make them a lifelong habit. When done correctly and often, they can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and give you better bladder control.

If you were obese when you got pregnant, or if you gained more pregnancy weight than recommended, it can help to lose the excess weight through diet, exercise and prolonged breastfeeding.

You may also want to:

  • Wear a sanitary pad to protect your clothes from urine leaks.
  • Try crossing your legs and tightening your pelvic muscles when you feel a sneeze or a cough coming on.
  • Limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • Prevent constipation because straining to have a bowel movement may worsen the problem.

Does Childbirth Inevitably Lead To Incontinence

The vast majority of women who give birth do not develop incontinence. In most cases, the damage created by childbirth repairs itself over time as the tissues go through the normal healing process. The majority of women experience no residual effect within just a few months after childbirth. Almost half of all women who have a vaginal delivery show immediate recovery of the nerves’ ability to carry messages to the pelvic muscles, and 60% will have complete resolution within two months. However, in some women, the injured tissue does not recover 100% of pre-labor strength. For them, the likelihood of incontinence and the discomfort of pelvic prolapse developing later in life are more common.

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Causes Of Postpartum Incontinence

Experts know that bearing children increases the risk of urinary incontinence postpartum, but heres the confusing part: They arent sure exactly which part of being pregnant or giving birth causes the issues.

Instead of having just one proven cause, doctors think that postpartum urinary incontinence is linked to several factors, including genetics and how you deliver.

For example, people who deliver vaginally are more likely to have postpartum incontinence than those who have a C-section. You are also more likely to experience postpartum incontinence if you:

  • Had a vacuum delivery
  • Had certain genetic factors

There are common theories on causes of postpartum incontinence, though. One is that it occurs as a result of injury during delivery. A related theory is that it is a result of damage to the muscles and structures that support the bladder, known as pelvic floor injury.

For instance, postpartum urinary incontinence could occur because pregnancy puts pressure and strain on the muscles of the pelvic floor, which also support the bladder. When those muscles are weakened over time, by the growth of the baby, and by the pressure of pushing during labor, bladder control is also affected. So, postpartum incontinence is thought to be due to changes in the muscles during pregnancy rather than delivery itself.

How Are Bladder Control Problems During Or After Pregnancy Diagnosed

Treatment for stress urinary incontinence in women: Mayo Clinic Radio

Although most problems with bladder control during or after a pregnancy disappear over time, you should talk to your healthcare provider if the problem continues for six weeks or more after birth. Its a good idea to keep a diary that records your trips to the bathroom. In this diary, youll want to make sure to keep track of how often your have urine leakage and when it occurs.

During an appointment, your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to rule out various medical conditions and see how well your bladder is functioning. Your provider may also order various tests, including:

  • Urinalysis: During this test, you will be asked to provide a urine sample. This sample will be analyzed for possible infections that could cause incontinence.
  • Ultrasound: Images produced by ultrasound waves can make sure that your bladder is emptying completely.
  • Bladder stress test: During this test, your provider will check for signs of urine leakage when you cough forcefully or bear down.
  • Cystoscopy: This test involves a thin tube with a miniature camera at one end being inserted into your urethra. Your provider will be able to look inside your bladder and urethra during this test.
  • Urodynamics: A thin tube is inserted into your bladder during this test. Water flows through this tube to fill the bladder, so that the pressure inside the bladder can be measured.

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How Common Is Urinary Incontinence

Its common for a new mother to accidentally leak urine when they laugh, sneezes, coughs or exercises. This is known as stress incontinence.

You are more likely to develop stress incontinence after birth if you:

  • have bladder or bowel problems before pregnancy they are likely to get worse after the birth
  • have a long labour, especially a long second stage of labour
  • have a difficult delivery, such as needing stitches, tearing, or needing a vacuum cup or forceps during the delivery

Women who have a caesarean can also develop bladder problems. Having a caesarean can reduce the risk of severe incontinence from 10% to 5% for the first baby, but after the third caesarean women are just as likely to develop bladder problems as women who give birth vaginally.

Consider The Possibility Of A Urinary Tract Infection

Sometimes, having no control over when you wee is caused by a urinary tract infection . UTIs can affect different parts of your urinary tract, including your bladder , urethra or kidneys . Most UTIs can be easily treated with antibiotics .

Symptoms of a UTI include:

  • needing to wee suddenly or more often than usual
  • blood in your wee

Contact your doctor or midwife immediately if you have any of these symptoms because you might need antibiotics .

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Can Childbirth Weaken The Bladder

Labor and delivery may stretch, strain or even tear the muscles and the supporting tissues that hold the uterus, bladder and rectum in their proper place. The nerves may also be stretched and injured, weakening the signals allowing muscles to work properly. Some women have no damage from labor and delivery, some have damage to the nerves some have damage to the muscles and supporting ligaments some have damage to every one of these areas.

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As Samantha Spencer says, urinary incontinence is a signal that your pelvic floor is not functioning as it should. For that reason, its always a good idea to check in with a medical provider or a pelvic physical therapist if youre having incontinence of any kind.

There are some times when incontinence is more common, but its still a good idea to mention it at your next scheduled doctors appointment. For example, up to one-third of pregnant people will have some degree of incontinence during late pregnancy and early postpartum, and some of that is simply due to the increased pressure of pregnancy and the early recovery process after birth. Research shows that if youre having incontinence during pregnancy, getting support from a pelvic floor specialist may help you recover more quickly postpartum and reduce your risk of lingering incontinence after birth.

If youre noticing incontinence for the first time after birth, youll definitely want to seek support if it does not resolve by 3 months postpartum.

Signs that youll want to seek care immediately include sudden severe low back pain, worsening numbness, tingling, or altered sensation in the pelvic area, hips, or lower body, and loss of bowel or bladder control without sensation. These signs and symptoms may indicate a more serious condition. Its always a good idea to call your healthcare provider if youre unsure about your symptoms.

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