Childbirth comes with aches, pains, leaks and embarrassment. No one wants to tell their friends or doctors that they’re suffering from incontinence. It’s an embarrassing feeling that people would rather keep to themselves than announce to the world.
And incontinence can linger for long after your birth, too.
What is Urinary Incontinence Anyway?
Urinary incontinence is when a person urinates when they don’t want to go. A common problem, this issue is usually caused by two things:
- Weakened urinary sphincter
- Lost urinary sphincter
And 25% – 33% of the population is dealing with this condition. Women, age 30 – 60, are the most common sufferers, with 30% of women in this age group suffering from incontinence. What’s even worse is that up to 50% of women will have their bladder control changed during pregnancy.
It’s not uncommon for a pregnant woman and a new mom to suffer from urinary incontinence for the first year after birth.
Incontinence Well After Pregnancy
Every woman’s body is different and beautiful in its own way. The problem with these differences is that, sometimes, they mean that some women will suffer from leaking far longer than others.
About 1 in 3 women will still experience some form of incontinence up to five years after they give birth.
Roughly 20% of women state that the issue is considered socially bothersome. Women may fear going out in public, long road trips or even situations where they laugh.
Types of Incontinence
There are four main types of incontinence that women have to deal with. If you’re experiencing leaking while engaging in the following activities, you are dealing with stress incontinence:
A lot of women will suffer from stress incontinence during their third trimester. This form of leaking is so common because the baby is putting a lot of pressure on the woman’s bladder. When you hear the word “stress,” this doesn’t mean the mental stress that a new mother will go through.
Instead, the muscles that are responsible for your urinary control are put under pressure from pregnancy, leading to involuntary urination.
Urge incontinence occurs due to an overactive bladder, and you may leak or have the sudden urge to go when you:
- Engage in sex
- Change positions
You’ll also hear of overflow incontinence, which occurs primarily to men, and mixed incontinence, which is a combination of issues.
Avoiding Urinary Incontinence
Your doctor should be aware of the issue. Medication may be recommended, or the doctor may recommend kegel exercises, which many women have used successfully to regain control of their bladders.
C-section delivery does not guarantee you’re not going to suffer from incontinence.
Doctors normally recommend that women perform these exercises and give it a few months before taking any further measures to stop the leaking. Oftentimes, the condition will resolve itself and lead to no long-term side effects.
If this doesn’t help, other options are available, such as:
- Silicone pessary ringers
- Bladder slings
Slings are implanted, and while they have a 90% success rate, there have been cases where the mesh starts to disintegrate and cause serious side effects.