Urinary incontinence is usually broken down into three types, stress incontinence, overflow incontinence, and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is an involuntary urine leak that occurs during coughing, laughing, sneezing, or exercise. Overflow incontinence is when the pelvic muscles allow for urine to leak consistently in small amounts throughout the day. Urge incontinence is characterized by a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate. It can happen at any time, even when there is not a bathroom nearby.
How Common is Postpartum Incontinence?
Stress incontinence can be an after effect of childbirth, known as postpartum urinary incontinence. In fact, it can also happen during pregnancy. There is more pressure on the bladder during pregnancy. The muscles in the bladder and the pelvic floor cannot handle the extra stress and pressure, leading to postpartum incontinence. This pressure leads to stress urinary incontinence, also known as overactive bladder (OAB).
The urethra and bladder move during pregnancy, which can later lead to incontinence. Giving birth can cause damage to the nerves that control the bladder, resulting in a weakened pelvic floor. Some women need an episiotomy, a cut made to get the baby out, but this cut goes through the pelvic floor muscles. All of these are factors can contribute to urinary incontinence after childbirth. Some new moms also experience postpartum flatulence as a result of their weakened pelvic floor.
A prolapsed bladder can also happen due to childbirth. Prolapsed bladder is when the bladder is no longer supported and descends into the vagina. This happens because of damage to the vaginal wall, often because of giving birth.
How to treat Postpartum Incontinence
During pregnancy, the best methods for managing stress urinary incontinence are bladder training and Kegel exercises. Bladder training refers to spacing out the time between urinations, in an attempt to strengthen the pelvic floor. Kegels are exercises that tighten and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Talk to your doctor before beginning any sort of treatment or exercise plan, especially during pregnancy.
Stress urinary incontinence is not normal, but it does happen and it is treatable. If incontinence continues 2-3 months after giving birth, it is time to see a physician. Stress urinary incontinence is treatable with both surgical and non-surgical treatment options.
Schedule a Consultation
At the Incontinence Institute, we have individualized treatment plans for all incontinence needs. Our physicians can determine what options would work best for you, and if you are a candidate for urethral sling surgery, an outpatient procedure that lifts the urethra back to its proper place, working to eliminate symptoms of stress urinary incontinence. Call our discreet, dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-771-1953 to learn more.