Do you leak when you laugh, sneeze, cough or exercise? Are you pregnant or have you recently given birth to a child?
Leaking urine is very common in the third trimester of a pregnancy and after child birth, this is called stress incontinence. It is caused by a mixture of hormones and stress on the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscles stretch between the tailbone of the spine and the pubic bone in front. They support the bladder and bowel (and vagina and uterus in women).
When pregnant, hormones are released that make tissues and joints more elastic for delivery, combined with the weight of the baby this can lead to urinary incontinence.
After childbirth urinary incontinence is common as pelvic floor muscles have weakened following vaginal delivery of the baby. Especially if the baby is large or labour is prolonged or involves forceps or other interventions as this may cause injury to the pelvic nerves and muscles.
Most cases resolve in the first year after birth but five years after delivery, one third to one half of women report some degree of urinary incontinence.
If urinary incontinence continues it’s important to remember it is totally normal and that there are a lot of options that can help improve the condition.
If you have concerns talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
More information can be found here.
Self help tips…
• Do pelvic floor exercise or Kegels every day to strengthen the pelvic floor.
• If you are overweight try and lose the extra kilos as excess weight can put pressure on the bladder.
• Exercise at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes on all or most days of the week.
• Avoid constipation.
• Ensure you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
• Avoid substances that can irritate the bladder such as caffeine, soft drinks and alcohol.
• Use specifically designed incontinence pads.
Our staff at National Pharmacies can also discreetly offer advice and further information.
Senior Pharmacist, National Pharmacies
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