Urinary leaks are all the more annoying when they happen out of the blue. They occur even if you don’t feel the need to urinate: when you laugh or cough, or even when you’re excited. Urinary leaks usually occur around the age of menopause, but they can also affect pregnant women in one way or another. Luckily, they can be controlled.
Causes of urinary leakage after childbirth
A lot of women lose bladder control after giving birth. All the contractions and pushing associated with childbirth weakens the bodies musculature support system and compromise the nerves that control the bladder. That’s why, after childbirth, your bladder becomes overactive. This means you may feel the need to visit the toilet more frequently than usual.
In some cases, urinary incontinence results from an episiotomy: a small incision made in the perineum during childbirth, to allow the baby to come out more easily.
Women who have had an epidural (regional anaesthetic) during childbirth are most likely to experience incontinence for a few days following delivery, due to numbness in the bladder area.
After several deliveries, your perineal muscles (the muscles responsible for expelling urine and supporting the pelvic floor) gradually lose their strength, especially if they have not been properly rehabilitated. In some cases, the organs can descend. Known as "prolapse", this phenomenon often causes a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen, or the impression of a ball in the vagina. If this becomes too much make sure you talk to your doctor.
Treating Urinary Incontinence after childbirth
There are simple things you can do to strengthen your perineal muscles. Kegels are effective exercises that help strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus and bowels.
- Doing Kegels is easy. This first step is to identify your perineal muscles. While you are urinating try to stop the flow. The muscles you tighten to do this are your perineal muscles. While you are sitting practice tightening and loosening these muscles while keeping your legs, buttocks and adnominal muscles still.
- Start by doing just a few, and try to build up to doing 5 sets a day. Hold the muscles tight for a slow count of five for each contraction. Repeat this ten times for one set.
Hopefully, this will help you strengthen your perineal muscles and regain control, but if you are still having issues it’s best to visit your doctor for further consultation.
Other Preventive Precautions
- Decrease the intake of bladder irritants, such as caffeinated beverages.
- Limit your consumption of liquids when you're away from home or do not have easy access to the ladies room.
- Avoid gaining too much weight to prevent extra pressure on the perineum.
- Cross your legs and tighten your perineal muscles when you feel like sneezing or coughing.
- Use CAREFREE® Large pantyliners to enjoy superior protection and security in all circumstances. Also, consider carrying CAREFREE® intimate wipes for extra cleanliness on the go.