A relatively common ailment to afflict mothers shortly after giving birth is urinary stress incontinence (USI). The rigours of pregnancy and childbirth can negatively impact on pelvic floor muscles, which sometimes leads to incontinence. In many cases, something as innocuous as a cough or sneeze can lead to accidents, and such a condition as the potential to cause serious embarrassment.
The good news is that this is usually a treatable condition. Most mothers will be able to overcome the problem with the help of physiotherapy and a series of pelvic exercises. However, in some rare cases surgery may be required in order to permanently address the issue – but only after all other avenues have been exhausted.
If you are currently experiencing urinary stress incontinence, there are several options available to you:
1. Seek help from a physio
If your symptoms are mild, a physio might suggest that you do Kegel exercises on a daily basis. They involve the clenching and unclenching of your pelvic floor muscles in order to strengthen them after giving birth. These are the muscles you will use to control the flow of your urine when the sensation arises. The great thing about these exercises is that they can be done almost anywhere, including sitting at your desk at work.
2. Take your time in the toilet
It’s important not to rush things in the toilet; you need to give yourself time to fully empty your bladder. Once you have urinated, wait 30 seconds or so and try again. This process will ensure you aren’t caught short again in just a few minutes.
3. Limit your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will make you need the loo more often if you’re constantly consuming soft drinks, tea or coffee. Try switching to decaffeinated products, or simply stick to sipping water.
4. Utilise one of the many incontinence products on the market
Despite your best efforts, you may still experience the odd accident as your body readjusts after giving birth. Wearing an absorbent pad will help to limit the impact of incontinence – especially if you’re determined to continue living an active lifestyle.
5. Change your lifestyle
Some cases of urinary stress incontinence are exacerbated by lifestyle, so you may benefit from making a few changes here and there. Manage your intake of alcohol, and try to eat a well balanced diet. There is limited evidence to suggest that a healthy lifestyle can lessen the effects of incontinence.
Unfortunately, some cases of incontinence are just too severe to respond to everyday changes to your lifestyle, and surgery may be the only option available. Vaginal tape can be used to strengthen the muscle walls – allowing for more control over the entire pelvic area.
According to a leading Women’s Health Hospital, the use of tension free vaginal tape for the treatment of urinary stress incontinence is successful between 70 percent and 95 percent of the time. However, not all incontinence is related to pelvic floor muscles. Indeed, the same problems can be caused by bladder-related issues, as well as a range of other ailments. This means seeking the attention of a medical professional if your symptoms persist for more than a few days is of paramount importance
This is a promotional post with an image from Michelle Sobina via Flickr.