It is not uncommon to hear of pregnant women having trouble holding their bladders. In fact, up to 53% of women report some degree of urinary incontinence during pregnancy. But what happens if at one, three, or even five years after childbirth, a mother is still struggling with the involuntary loss of urine? She may be suffering from postpartum incontinence.
What is Postpartum Incontinence?
- There are two main categories of postpartum incontinence. Many women experience both. The first is referred to as stress incontinence, in which the loss of urine is caused by increases in pressure or stress in the body. It is frequently correlated with a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles or pelvic muscles that have lost normal function due to overuse. If running, jumping, or a sneeze, cough, or laugh sends you to the restroom, you may be experiencing stress incontinence.
- The second category of postpartum incontinence is called urge incontinence. It is most often caused by nerve damage sustained while pregnant or delivering, which impairs the bladder’s ability to communicate with one’s brain. As a result, the bladder may signal a need to use the restroom too soon or too often. Women with urge incontinence may suddenly feel like they’ve “got to go”, even when their bladders are nearly empty. The onset of these feelings may be quick and intense, and leaks may happen before they can make it to the restroom.
Could I be Experiencing Postpartum Incontinence?
- Women who had a vaginal delivery are most likely to be affected, with up to 25% experiencing symptoms that persist for at least 1 year postpartum. In contrast, it affects up to 16% of women having had a caesarian section delivery.
- Furthermore, obese or women over the age of 35 are at an increased risk of postpartum urinary incontinence. Likewise, the use of forceps in delivery, smoking, and incontinence during pregnancy predict a higher likelihood of postpartum incontinence.
- Unfortunately, even though urinary incontinence after childbirth is extremely common, 77% of women who have postpartum incontinence either do not know or never seek a formal diagnosis, and as a result never receive treatment.
What can I do about Postpartum Urinary Incontinence?
Postpartum incontinence greatly affects the daily lives of those who have it. Many women resort to always wearing pads, visiting the restroom frequently, and even drinking less to minimize fluid in the bladder. Yet none of these methods offer a permanent solution.
If you are experiencing any or all of the above symptoms and are ready to find relief, the Incontinence Institute offers cutting-edge therapies and restores confidence to women affected by this condition. Some of our treatment options include Botox®, a bladder sling, and InterStim® Therapy. In every case, our board-certified physicians work closely with patients to create customized plans that cater directly to your unique needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and regain control – because no one should have to live with leaks.