How to Handle Urinary Incontinence After Childbirth

Women who expect to leave all the pregnancy aches and pains behind them after childbirth soon find that postpartum symptoms can be almost just as bad. 

These effects can take their tole in different ways and can last up to 6 weeks or longer. Soreness, depression, bleeding, fatigue, and constipation are just a few of the unpleasant outcomes women may experience after giving birth. One of the most common complaints from women is how to handle symptoms of urinary incontinence in the weeks following childbirth. Let’s explore some answers.

An Extremely Common Condition

Sorry to report this, but postpartum urinary incontinence is quite common. According to the latest research, women who give birth vaginally are more likely to experience these complications afterward. In some cases, issues of urinary incontinence can last up to a year, and smaller percentages of women are still living symptoms after 5 years.

woman holding her crotch

Contributing factors include the fact that the bladder and pelvis muscles are weakened during childbirth. In addition, the uterus will begin to shrink back to its normal size, which causes repeated compressions on the bladder. Rapid changes in hormones also need to be considered as the body attempts to balance its female sex hormones after a child is born. Women over the age of 35 and those who are obese are also at a greater risk for urinary incontinence following childbirth.

All together, these influential factors lead women to face a much higher risk for urinary incontinence. The good news is that most women can recover with the proper precautions and effective treatment options recommended by Dedicated to Women.

Simple Lifestyle Changes

There are several ways to address your urinary incontinence without drastically altering your day-to-day routine, including:

  • Reduce or completely give up caffeine, carbonated drinks, and alcohol. These beverages, along with spicy foods can cause the bladder to contract much more than what is necessary. 
  • Losing some weight will ease the pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor.
  • Stop smoking if you haven’t done so already. Nicotine causes the muscles of the bladder to spasm, and persistent smoking often leads to a chronic cough that encourages bladder leakage.
  • Don’t stop drinking water thinking that it will reduce your urge or need to urinate. You may only end up dehydrated or with a urinary tract infection.
    Wear incontinence pads until the problem improves, and contact Dedicated to Women if additional care is needed.

Other Options to Treat Urinary Incontinence After Childbirth

Kegel exercises help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and can be performed anywhere. The simplest explanation to this easy exercise is to stop the flow of urine by squeezing the muscles tightly, holding for 5 seconds, and then continuing to urinate. Do these squeezes several times per day for maximum benefit. 

A pessary is a small silicone ring inserted into the vagina in the morning and removed each night. This device is designed to stop the flow from a woman’s urethra, and may remain in place all day or only during more strenuous activities if desired.

Sticking to a fixed bathroom schedule will help control your bladder. Try to stretch out the time between trips to the bathroom and build up your tolerance gradually. 

Certain prescription medications can slow down an overactive bladder. Dedicated to Women ObGyn will be able to recommend and prescribe the medications they feel will work best for you and your specific symptoms of urinary incontinence.

There are other treatments that include both non-invasive and surgical methods to help women achieve relief from symptoms of urinary incontinence after childbirth.

Speak with Dedicated to Women if you still are having incontinence issues beyond 6 weeks after the birth of your child.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (302) 674-0223 today!