Bladder Relief After Baby
During pregnancy, it’s common for women to experience stress incontinence. In plain terms, you pee when you sneeze or laugh, and sometimes you might feel like you've got to go all the time. For some women, this inconvenient condition persists even after your baby has arrived. Discover how to treat incontinence issues after childbirth.
Change your diet
Urge incontinence, also known as an overactive bladder, can be treated in part by dietary changes. It doesn’t work for every woman, but it’s one of the simplest ways to treat frequent urination and should be tried before serious interventions. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and acidic foods, including tomato sauce and citrus. Some over-the-counter antacids, such as Prelief, can help neutralize spicy foods. Many women with a painful bladder issue known as interstitial cystitis have had success limiting symptoms by avoiding foods that irritate the bladder.
Exercise your pelvic floor
Your pelvic floor is basically a group of muscles that act as a hammock, holding all of your very important pelvic organs in place, including the vagina and bladder. Vaginal delivery can sometimes weaken these important muscles, leading to a host of problems. To help avoid and repair pelvic floor weakness, it’s crucial to practice Kegels. While you may think of Kegels as a tightening of the vagina, it’s actually easier to do them properly if you tighten your anus. The rest will follow suit. Try placing your hand over your lower abdomen to make sure you’re not contracting your tummy muscles. Each day, relax the rest of your body and tighten your anus for 10 seconds, release for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Be the boss of your bladder
Your bathroom habits can help or hinder your bladder issues. Bladder training is a treatment used to help women with incontinence issues. In addition to being smart about drinking plenty of water but avoiding water after about 5 p.m., women are taught to show the bladder who’s boss. Or, more accurately, good habits are used to train the brain to stop telling you to pee all the time. Confused? Don’t worry. Bladder retraining is best handled under the care of a doctor or physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor. Therapy involves careful holding habits, Kegels and meticulous journaling of urination habits and leaks.
Talk to your doctor
Even with changes to your diet, pelvic floor exercises and bladder retraining, incontinence may continue. Depending on the severity and cause of your incontinence, your doctor may recommend medication and surgery. Women who have pelvic floor surgery for bladder issues are generally still prescribed physical therapy to help retrain the bladder and strengthen weak muscles. If you’re not happy with your doctor’s approach to your incontinence, seek another medical opinion. Modern medicine offers plenty of effective treatments for a variety of bladder concerns.