Incontinence After Childbirth: Nothing to Be Embarrassed About

Millions of people across the world suffer from urinary incontinence, but more often than not many of these people feel like they are having to go through this experience alone. 

Incontinence is an accidental or involuntary loss of urine (urinary incontinence) or faces (fecal incontinence). It is a more common condition than most people might think: it is estimated that one in 10 Americans has continence issues. The problem ranges from small leaks to complete loss of control.

In those who manage not to leak, there can often be an urge to rush to the bathroom, with the sensation of almost 'not making it in time'. In more severe cases, a woman who suffered a serious tear during birth can suffer from fecal incontinence.

According to health specialists, incontinence in public is experienced by most people as extremely embarrassing and may have potentially serious psychological consequences. Patients who experience incontinence might experience a significant effect on their self-confidence and dignity, psychiatrists note.

If you are one of the moms who continue to struggle with incontinence after giving birth, you might be relieved to learn there are also other solutions to the problem than the Kegel exercises that you have been probably told is the only way to heal.

More common than most think

Millions of people across the world suffer from urinary incontinence, but more often than not many of these people feel like they are having to go through this experience alone. It was (and to a large extent still is) a taboo subject in our society.

The good news is that things are changing. Even some celebrities have spoken out quite openly about their experiences suffering from incontinence in an effort to let others know that they are not alone.

Oscar winner Kate Winslet appeared on The Graham Norton Show where she explained that she developed stress urinary incontinence after having three children. Winslet says that she experiences bladder leakages when she sneezes or if she jumps on a trampoline.

Most women are not as open as Winslet about their incontinence, but the truth is that up to one in every three women suffers from the condition at some point in their lives, according to a study published in Reviews in Urology.

Urinary incontinence often starts during pregnancy, but can linger long after. In fact, it is incredibly prevalent among new moms, affecting at least 7 million women in the U.S. Gynecologists report that even a seemingly uneventful pregnancy and delivery can change urinary control for up to 50 percent of women.

Why it happens

The bladder is like a balloon, with a stubby knob at the end called the urethra. Normally, the bladder relaxes to accommodate urine as it fills. The fuller it gets, the more the sphincter muscle around the urethra squeezes to keep the urine contained.

After childbirth, the biggest risk factor for incontinence is having had a vaginal delivery, especially one involving forceps or other interventions that can injure pelvic nerves and muscles.

Blame this common postpartum symptom on the pregnancy- and delivery-weakened muscles around the bladder and pelvis, which are having a harder time controlling your flow (they've taken a licking and, consequently, keep on dripping).

Plus, as your uterus shrinks in the weeks following delivery, it sits directly on the bladder, compressing it and making it more difficult to stem the tide. Hormonal changes (what else is new?) during and after pregnancy can batter your bladder, too.

This is called stress incontinence, which is quite common in new mums. It affects about a third of women in the first year after having their baby. You may leak when you cough, sneeze, laugh or run. Lifting things can also make you urinate a little. You may just leak a few drops, or enough to seep through your clothes.

You're more likely to have stress incontinence if you also had problems with controlling your bladder in pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester or second trimester.

Who’s at higher risk?

If it took a long time to push your baby out, and you needed forceps to help, you're more likely to have problems with leaking.

If you had an epidural or a spinal block, the nerves controlling feeling in and around your bladder may feel numb.

Having a catheter, perhaps because of an epidural or cesarean section, can make it harder to control your wee after it's taken out. But this should sort itself out within a few days.

After pregnancy, incontinence problems may continue, because childbirth weakens the pelvic floor muscles, which can cause an overactive bladder.

Pregnancy and childbirth also may contribute to bladder control problems because of the following conditions:

  • Damage to the nerves that control the bladder
  • The fact that the urethra and bladder have moved during pregnancy
  • An episiotomy, a cut made in the pelvic floor muscle during delivery of a baby to allow the fetus to come out more easily

It is important to determine the type of urinary incontinence that you have, and your symptoms often tell your doctor which type you have. That information will guide treatment decisions.

To make recovery easier

Luckily, there are some products to help you go through this unpleasant period with more confidence and comfort.

Pads can help absorb leaking urine (no tampons, please — they don't block the flow of urine and they're off-limits during the postpartum period anyway).

Genial Day offers new liners for women who need longer and wider liners to protect underwear from discharge. Genial Day Eco-certified liners were designed with YOU in mind. They are the healthiest, safest, most comfortable and eco-friendly liners out there!

The new anion strip technology with silver and tourmaline allows for fragrance-free odor control which also eliminates toxic chemicals. The Genial Day functional eco-certified liners are also clinically tested for bio-compatibility, so they won't cause irritation.

Many post-partum women who suffer from incontinence admit that most of the conventional maternity pads and special incontinence pads feel extremely bulky and tend to slip out of place. Moreover, most of the cheap pads, even though designed especially for incontinence, need to be changed too often, or worn in multiple layers to provide anti-leakage guarantee.

What makes the Genial Day Eco-certified liners particularly useful for postpartum incontinence is the fact that they are super soft and thin. These super-absorbent liners are also the perfect choice for women dealing with light incontinence: they feature our extra absorbent layer, so you can sneeze or cough with confidence.

They have pH friendly to the skin, are toxin-free, fragrance-free, and non-chlorine bleached, which is of great importance: you can be sure to get the best protection from any substance that can irritate your internal organs and bring infections to the bladder that will urge you to pee more often.

Genial Day Eco-certified liners have a super soft cotton cover sheet, so you won’t feel any discomfort. The breathable back layer is there to eliminate heat and humidity. The food grade adhesive strips to stabilize the liner make sure your pad will not slip away or move inside your underwear.

You can take them anywhere, for they also have individually sealed wrapper for safe carrying in your purse.

It can take between three to six months, or even longer for some women, to regain complete bladder control. Genial Day is there for you to take to get it back faster and with more comfort than you may expect.

About Genial Day

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