Stress incontinence is accidentally losing urine during physical activity, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise. This major “Oops!” happens to a lot of us. One of the most common reasons for a woman to have this embarrassing lack of control is childbirth. Childbirth can weaken the pelvic muscles that support the bladder and urethra. It often is diagnosed in women who have had more than one pregnancy and vaginal delivery or who have pelvic prolapse.
Women who develop stress incontinence during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from it afterward, as are obese women or women who smoke. It usually goes away after a few weeks or months post-delivery, but not for some of us lucky gals.
There are four types of treatment for stress incontinence: behavior changes; medication; pelvic floor muscle training; and surgery. Obviously, taking the least drastic measure that proves successful is the better route to go.
Something that can be very helpful in tightening up that region again is continuing the kegel exercises you learned when you were pregnant, and doing them often. Shed those extra pounds that may be hanging on. Don’t give up drinking water or you might end up with a UTI. (Make sure you drink those 6-8 glasses a day.) Avoid alcohol and caffeine which can irritate your bladder.
If this is bothering you (and believe me it bothers lots of women), talk with your provider about help that’s best for you. You can read more about stress incontinence and treatment options at this link.