If you have unexpected bladder leakage after delivering your baby, know that you are not alone. In fact, upwards of 40 percent of women experience some form of urinary incontinence during or after pregnancy, so the issue is likely much more common than you think. And while it may be a common issue among new and expectant mothers, that certainly won’t ease your mind if you experience an unexpected leak at an unfortunate time.
If you’re dealing with unexpected leakage, consider connecting with the team at OrthoRehab Specialists. Postpartum physical therapy is one of our specialties, and we’re confident that we can tailor a PT routine that will help put an end to your bladder issues. Below, we explain how we can help you overcome a postpartum bladder issue.
Postpartum Pelvic Floor Exercises
As we mentioned above, postpartum bladder leakage is incredibly common, especially in mothers who deliver their child vaginally. Having a vaginal delivery increases your risk of bladder control issues and incontinence by 50 percent, and this is due to the fact that this type of childbirth significantly affects your pelvic floor muscles and overall pelvic stability.
Treating postpartum leakage typically involves taking a physical and mental approach to the problem. Some ways to physically treat the problem include:
- Kegel Exercises – Kegel exercises are performed by tightening and then releasing the muscles in your pelvic floor. You can do these exercises while you’re sitting, standing or lying down, and your muscle health improves as you quickly tighten and relax the muscles. These exercises help you regain more control over your pelvic floor muscles and improve your muscular endurance to hold your bladder longer.
- Muscle Strengthening – We also want to use other exercises to target different areas that play a role in bladder control, including your hips and your abdominal muscles. We will develop some stretching and strengthening exercises that improve the strength of these supportive areas, which can take some stress off the bladder and aid in leakage control.
- Manual Manipulation – Your physical therapist may also opt to manually maneuver your hips, pelvis and legs to challenge different muscle groups, expand comfortable range of motion or improve pelvic stability, all of which aid in bladder control.
Your physical therapist will also walk you through some ways to mentally overcome your leakage issues, which may include:
- Lifestyle Choice Education – Don’t be surprised if your physical therapist asks some questions about your diet, exercise and lifestyle habits to get a better understanding of some of the factors that may be contributing to your bladder leakage. For example, excessive caffeine consumption, smoking and stress can all contribute to bladder leakage, so your physical therapist will explain some ways to mitigate the effects of these outside influences.
- Bladder Retraining – You can also gradually work to hold your bladder for longer periods, which can really help to address leakage issues. Your PT can help map out a bathroom schedule that sees you slowly increase the duration between emptying your bladder. With any luck, you’ll eventually be able to hold your bladder for hours at a time once you’ve trained your bladder to be able to comfortably hold it for longer stretches.
You don’t have to be embarrassed about your bladder leakage, but you do need to do something about it, because it will take a lot longer to resolve if you don’t proactively treat the condition. If you want to overcome leakage issues, connect with a physical therapist and work to strengthen your bladder and train it to go longer periods without being emptied. We’ve helped countless women in the past, and we’d be happy to do the same for you. For more information, or for help with a different physical issue, give the team at OrthoRehab Specialists a call today at (612) 339-2041.
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