Fans of the American daytime TV show The Real might remember a recent episode featuring former Destiny’s Child singer and first time mom Kelly Rowland, who opened up about her personal stories and lessons learned since giving birth to her son. (For more on her adventures of motherhood, Rowland published a book called Whoa Baby!). Kelly shared one of her most pressing post-pregnancy struggles: urinary incontinence.
The story goes something like this:
Kelly, enjoying a night out with her girlfriends, started “cracking up laughing” when, suddenly…Gasp! “It’s the urinary incontinence.” Rowland admits to giggling and peeing just a little bit.
The panel received the story with their own giggles and laughs. Star Jones referenced a quote from Chapter 9 in Rowland’s book: “Now, we’re both wearing diapers!”
Tamera Darvette Mowry-Housley added her two cents, “[It happens] when you sneeze!”
Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. Jones, quoting Chapter 20 from the same book, asked if Kelly ever got her groove back.
Rowland’s response: “I did.”
Kelly Rowland is just one of the countless women who experience urinary incontinence after vaginal birth, particularly urge incontinence — when a laugh, sneeze or cough results in involuntary urination. The uterus places pressure on the bladder, and the weakened bladder muscles cause urine to leak out of the urethra.
No single event during vaginal birth causes urinary incontinence, explains the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. Postpartum urinary incontinence is thus considered a multifactorial physiological injury.
Women seeking relief from postpartum urinary incontinence can opt for a variety of medical and non-medical treatment options as well as surgical procedures.
Basic lifestyle changes can go a long way in alleviating urge incontinence. Start by getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night, eating a balanced diet, and cutting down on caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances. Add kegel exercises to your morning routine and use vaginal weights to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. More non-medical options include biofeedback and electrical stimulation.
Medical treatment options include oestrogen, alpha-agonists or a combination of both. You can also combine pharmacologic therapy with a pelvic exercise regimen for more effective results.
Finally, surgical options for postpartum urinary incontinence include periurethral injections of bulking agents, suspension operations, sling operations and artificial urinary sphincters.
If you suffer from urinary incontinence, you are not alone. The good news: 50-80% of women dealing with urinary incontinence find relief from their symptoms with exercise. Talk to your gynecologist or a medical professional for help choosing the best treatment option for you.
Looking for more helpful tips on urinary incontinence after pregnancy? Reach out to Salk today!