Have you ever had back pain post-delivery, sagging abdomen, leakage of urine when you cough sneeze or exert urself, or increased frequency of urine post-delivery? If the answer to these questions is a yes, then this article is for you.
What you need to know is though it is very common in females, does not mean it is normal to leak urine, and there is very little awareness about it. Women tend to think it is normal because it is quite common, and with very little awareness, not many women want to get it fixed.
Incontinence can also be caused due to stress like while coughing, sneezing, or when you bend down to pick something up. There is also incontinence when you feel the urgency of urinating, and when you urinate, you are not able to empty completely. You have the urge to urinate again after 15 mins.
What are the causes of Urinary incontinence?
The basic cause of urinary incontinence is weakened pelvic floor muscles. This can happen during the last trimester of pregnancy and post-delivery.
This can happen in both vaginal and C-section surgery. but in most cases, it is seen in vaginal birth due to pushing, prolonged labor, C-section after trying for a vaginal birth.
During the last trimester of pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin is released to loosen the ligaments around the pelvic floor to prepare the body for delivery. These hormonal changes can encourage incontinence.
Post-child-birth pelvic floor muscles have to be toned back, for some women the muscles get toned automatically after some time but for some women, muscles have to be trained to get the strength back.
Some women face constipation issues and this can also lead to urinary incontinence in such cases.
Urinary infections can also cause temporary urinary incontinence in some women.
If your weight is on a higher-end during pregnancy, or if you are suffering from gestational diabetes, there are chances of urinary incontinence.
When should you reach for professional help?
The moment you start experiencing leakage, you need to approach a professional. The earlier you get treated, the sooner you will be able to recover.
It can be when you laugh, cough, sneeze or bend down to lift something up.
It takes time to tone the muscles as it can take some time for you to understand the exercises and use the correct muscles. You may not be able to see the results immediately. Be consistent and follow the treatment in a regular manner.
Prevention of urinary incontinence
Do not be sedentary during your pregnancy.
Be active, go for a walk, continue your exercises that are safe during pregnancy.
Pelvic floor exercises can be started from the second trimester after consulting your OBGYN during pregnancy.
After childbirth, pelvic floor exercises can be started. Do not start on your own, consult a postnatal physiotherapist or ask your doctor for safe exercises, to begin with.
Pelvic exercises can be started after 2 hours of vaginal delivery and 12 hours after a C-section as anesthesia effects have to wear off for the latter.
Can the pelvic floor exercises affect the stitches in case of vaginal and C-sections?
No, it does not affect the stitches. The postnatal pelvic floor exercises are not strenuous, they are very mild.
Can a New Mother practice pelvic floor exercises at home without any professional help?
Though the postnatal pelvic floor exercises are mild, it can be difficult to get them right without proper guidance.
Many a time instead of using the pelvic muscles, we may end up using the abdominal muscles. So, before you start, learn it, get it corrected from a professional and then you can continue to practice at home.
The reason is we cannot see the movement of pelvic muscles, compared to other exercises where you can clearly see how it has to be done. In this case, you need to follow the instructions and practice consciously to get it right.
Make sure you visit the physiotherapist at least once so that they can diagnose any issues and guide you in the right way. In the era of the corona where everything is done online, it is recommended to have at least one physical visit and then continue the consecutive consultations online.
How can one identify if the pelvic muscles are weak without experiencing urinary incontinence?
Try this test in the mid-morning or in the afternoon when you are relaxed. Do not try this early morning or when you are holding it for long after travel.
The test: when you feel like voiding, go to the washroom, start voiding, and in the midstream try to hold it. If you are able to hold it then your muscles are fine and doing their job well.
But if you are not able to hold, there is a drop dribbling or there is a slight stream dribbling then your muscles are weak. You may not be having incontinence but your muscles are weak.
You should remember that, when you start the stream, it should be a single stream and not like a shower or it should not be a very thin stream.
Though urinary incontinence is common, it is not normal to leak urine. There is a lack of awareness among the people and also the medical fraternity.
This issue is not openly talked about as compared to other issues. Yes, you may not die of urinary incontinence, still, it does not mean you can live with it.
Urinary incontinence can lead to UTI, which can further lead to vaginal infections, lower back pain, and the chain goes on. It is important and necessary to get it treated.
Seek help when you need it. Do not hesitate.
“A moment of hesitation may cause you a lifetime of regrets”.
and there is more and we have the answers … do check the link below for the complete session on Urinary Incontinence.
👉🏽Did you know that when you start urinating, it should be in a single stream and not like a shower?
👉🏽Can urinary incontinence lead to something else?
👉🏽Did you ever think that urinary incontinence can lead to depression?
👉🏽How to socialize when facing urinary incontinence?
👉🏽How does urinary incontinence affect menstrual cycles?
All the above questions are answered by our Expert panel Specialist (Dr. Vidhi Gemawat, Physiotherapist). You can check the complete session on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/tv/CUz17aDIaRV/ ).
Take care Mommies.