Taking the Stress Out of Stress Incontinence

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There are many things that you are never told about having a baby, all too often the focus is on caring for the baby itself.  Everyone knows about the sleepless nights, the endless nappy changes and the constant feeding.  What seems to be forgotten in all of the advice and day-to-day motions of looking after a baby is the effect it has on a Mother’s body.  All women are different and each new mother will experience a variety of post-birth side effects – some positive, like the weight loss from breastfeeding, but some not so glamorous and less talked about, such as incontinence.

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Sneezing, Laughing and Blushing

Referred to as stress incontinence it is a form of urinary incontinence, which is brought on by various activities that place stress on the bladder such as coughing, sneezing, laughing or even exercising.  Although stress incontinence can happen to anyone of any age it is generally far more common in women with pregnancy and childbirth cited as a common cause.  Stress incontinence is caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles and bladder outlet – which happens a lot after they are stretched and weakened during childbirth which is why this type of incontinence is common amongst many new mothers.

At a time when the body is already dealing with recovery from a radical change, it may seem unfair that it is unable to perform a task which most of us have been able to unconsciously control since we were toilet trained.  The unpredictable nature of the incontinence – even trying to stifle a sneeze can result in pressure on the bladder and leakage, which can result in some new mothers being reluctant to return to an active lifestyle as soon as they would like to after the birth.

Taking Time for Yourself

More often than not this post-childbirth stress incontinence is temporary and over time the body will adjust and the pelvic floor muscles and bladder outlet will start to strengthen, returning to normal, but there are some steps that new mothers can take to help speed the recovery along.

Avoiding alcohol, tea, coffee and other diuretic drinks is a helpful tip – although a bit of caffeine to help with the sleep deprivation may seem like a necessity, according to the NHS drinks like these, especially caffeine can irritate the bladder making incontinence worse.  One thing you can drink plenty of is water.  This may seem counterproductive, but ensuring that you are well hydrated can help you avoid constipation, which can exacerbate an incontinence problem.

Very popular with new mothers and suggested by the NHS are gentle and specific exercises targeted at the problem area – the pelvic floor muscles, just by doing these exercises daily a new mother can greatly aid pelvic floor muscle recovery and relief from stress incontinence.

Interim Relief

While the incontinence may just be temporary and eventually stop, and while pelvic floor exercises can help to help regain pre-pregnancy continence it is important to be able to enjoy an active life and get through the day without the worry of an accident.

There are some products on the market, which can help protect against getting caught short – .  Today’s products are discrete and provide a great deal of reassurance that regardless of whether you sneeze, laugh, cough or ride a bike any new mother who suffers from stress incontinence can still conduct an active lifestyle while her body returns to normal.