Out of all the embarrassing pregnancy, birth and post partum issues women love to talk about – gas, excess sweating, varicosities, pooping while pushing, leaky boobs, this one hardly ever makes it to the coffee table. Incontinence is a huge issue that affects more women that you think. Around 25% in fact. That’s 1 out of every 4 of your mommy friends. While we all sit around forgetting to do our kegels and hoping it will never happen to us. For many women this is a very real reality.
When I was approached by the Public Outreach Department at DrugWatch.com to see if I was interested in hosting a guest blog regarding this issue, I was happy to accept. Below is their post. Whilst doing my own research on the topic, I came across another fantastic blog post from fellow blogger CrapAtPregnancy, ‘Nobody wants to be ThatWoman‘.
Childbirth is a joy in many ways, as any mother knows, but some of the effects it can have on the body aren’t always quite so joyful, such as incontinence. If you are one of the many women who feel the need to keep the incontinence pads just as handy as the Kleenex when cold and flu season arrives, joy probably isn’t the term you’d use to describe that particular problem. The good news is you probably won’t have to live with the threat of flash flooding when you cough or sneeze forever, since most women can reduce or eliminate incontinence with treatment.
If you have a tendency to get a little moist “down there” when you laugh or sneeze, what you have going on is a common condition called stress urinary incontinence, or SUI, which often has its roots in the strain that pregnancy and childbirth place on the pelvic floor muscles. It affects about 25 percent of women at one time or another — during pregnancy, soon after childbirth or around the time of menopause.
SUI happens when the pelvic floor has been weakened or stretched to the point that it lacks the strength to hold back urine flow when pressure is placed on the bladder, resulting in that annoying dribble that can happen when you laugh or cough. Pelvic floor weakness is most often caused by pregnancy and childbirth, but there are other factors that can contribute, such as obesity, heavy lifting, chronic coughing or frequent straining due to constipation.
Physical therapy is the first line of treatment for SUI and has helped many women. Since the pelvic floor muscles are the ones at that are at the root of the problem, therapy typically involves Kegel exercises to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor, often with the addition of biofeedback to monitor muscle function and specialized weights and other tools to enhance results. Many therapists also use other exercise techniques in SUI therapy, such as yoga and Pilates, which aid in strengthening core muscles as well as the pelvic floor.
If you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, losing weight can help, since that extra weight puts pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor. Adjustments to your daily diet can help control your moisture problem too, such as limiting foods and beverages that can irritate the bladder. So cut back on coffee, tea and soft drinks that contain caffeine, and avoid spicy and fried foods. Constipation can worsen SUI symptoms, so make sure you have plenty of fiber in your diet, and make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals every day to support muscle function and healing.
If non-invasive treatments don’t help, surgery is an option that has helped many women. However, you should know that procedures that use vaginal mesh implants, such as bladder slings, to treat SUI are riskier than traditional surgeries. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released safety alerts on these products due to a drastic increase in reports of serious complications over the past few years, such as mesh erosion, organ perforation, mesh shrinkage and infection. These complications have caused many women severe pain. Thousands have sought justice through the filing of a transvaginal mesh lawsuit. Since most SUI cases can be resolved without mesh, talking to your doctor about procedures that don’t use mesh is probably your safest bet.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the general public about defective medical
devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.