How to Control Your Bladder and Stop Incontinence Postpartum
The joy of having a child is the biggest blessing a woman can have in her life. However, the trauma and stress of childbirth are more severe than most women expect. There are lasting effects from the damage done to the pelvic floor muscles in both natural and C-section births.
What's the Damage? – The Effect of Childbirth on the Pelvis
Natural birth involves the stretching of the vaginal canal and the perineum region between the anus and the vagina. In some cases, there may be tearing of the skin. This damage requires the need for reconstructive surgery of the area after birth.
Regardless of whether you have a natural or C-section birth, you're probably going to end up dealing with incontinence symptoms.
The trauma from the natural birth damages the pelvic floor, and when doctors cut into you for the c-section, they destroy the muscles and ligaments as they remove the baby from the womb.
It takes time for natural healing to close the wounds and heal the tissues from a natural birth and a c-section. However, the reality is that time is not enough for the successful healing of the perineum. When the pelvic floor collapses or experiences trauma resulting in near-collapse, the bladder and uterus move out of position.
The Start of Incontinence
As a result of these changes, you might start to leak urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh. The situation varies the intensity and severity of symptoms. Some women get light incontinence and a mildly overactive bladder.
Others receive severe symptoms and find they can't make it to the bathroom without leaking. An overactive bladder may also present signs of going to the toilet often, even within minutes of finishing peeing.
Incontinence is frustrating, and it's something that you can fix. It's possible to regain full control over your pelvic floor, bladder, and uterus with specialized physiotherapy exercises.
What Can We Do to Restore the Health of Our Bladder Postpartum?
There are several strategies you can use to accelerate the healing process and restore control over the pelvic floor. You can limit urinary incontinence during exercise by doing workouts that target the pelvic floor muscles. You squeeze these same muscles when you want to stop the flow of urine.
Dr. Arnold Kegel invented the world-renowned pelvic floor therapy exercise "the Kegel" in the 1940s. To perform a Kegel, you squeeze the muscles you use to stop you from peeing. At the height of that squeeze, pull those muscles towards your belly button at the bottom of your stomach.
The idea behind the exercises is to help you gain control of those muscles. When you restore the pelvic floor's health and elasticity, your bladder and uterus move back into the right position, stopping the symptoms of incontinence. Follow a Kegel training program for the best results and practice every day.
If you find yourself wanting to run to the bathroom every 30-minutes, you have the symptoms of an overactive bladder. This "urge incontinence" is frustrating, and you might even wake up several times during the night to pee.
You'll have to retrain the bladder to behave the way you want, and that involves holding the urge to pee. Try to extend the duration between when you need to go to the bathroom. You'll find that this "mindfulness" strategy is effective and, combined with the Kegel training, helps to resolve your incontinence symptoms.
Eat the Right Foods Postpartum
Some foods can increase your urge to pee. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine (especially if your breastfeeding). Caffeine acts as a diuretic, increasing your need to urinate as it flushes more water from your body.
Don't eat citrus fruits and avoid soft drinks like carbonated beverages. Stop sugar consumption as much as possible. If leaking is a problem, think about wearing pads in your underwear to absorb the moisture until your pelvic floor training starts yielding results. Avoid using tampons, as this idea can end up causing a urinary tract infection.
Start the Road to Sexual Recovery with Red Light Therapy
Our biggest tip for healing from postpartum trauma involves the use of "Red Light Therapy" (RLT). RLT has plenty of benefits to help restore control over the muscles and ligaments in the vagina and pelvic floor while helping assist the healing process in the soft tissues.
While there is no clinical evidence showing the effects of red light therapy, there is plenty of private research and anecdotal evidence to suggest it has healing benefits. Red light in wavelengths between 610nm and 700nm provides a stimulating effect deep in skin and muscle tissues.
The red light activates an energy-production process in mitochondria, enhancing ATP production, boosting metabolism. In short – it jumpstarts the healing process and keeps the momentum going. The light also helps boost collagen output and protein synthesis, providing the building blocks the vaginal walls and the pelvic floor need to get back control of the uterus and bladder.
Get a Specialized Red Light Therapy Device
The best way to benefit from Kegel training and RLT is to go for a red light therapy device. At MyElle, we offer the MyElleVibe device for vaginal rejuvenation and pelvic floor therapy.
These devices feature multiple LED setups on the tip or the ergonomic housing. You insert the MyElleVibe device into the vagina using photonic gel to lubricate the device and enhance the red light therapy. The devices come with an adjustable vibration function, allowing you to select different speeds of your level of comfort.
With just 10 to 12-minutes of therapy every other day, you can dramatically reduce the time it takes to heal your pelvis and vagina from the trauma of childbirth. Red light therapy enhances collagen production in the vaginal walls, restoring the health of the tissues.
However, there may be a chance that you have some over-stretched skin inside your vaginal walls. This skin won't go back to being tight and resilient, even with Kegel training and RLT. In this case, you need to visit a vaginal rejuvenation clinic for CO2 laser therapy.
This laser process vaporizes the excess skin around the vaginal walls, restoring the youthful feel of the vagina.
With the right diet, exercise, and vaginal rejuvenation program, you can get back to your old self in less than 90-days.