Q&A With Dr Aliya: Urinary Incontinence—Is It Normal?

Pregnancy and post partum can cause the onset of incontinence in women, but there is hope

Q. I am several months post-partum and I am leaking urine when I cough, sneeze or laugh. It is really embarrassing and I just want to know, is this normal?

A. What you are experiencing is common, but it is something that you can take steps to correct. Urinary incontinence is a common complaint among pregnant women in their second or third trimesters, and many find that it continues to persist even after they have their baby. 

In particular, stress incontinence, a type of urinary incontinence, is leaking urine after coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise or any other physical activity that puts pressure on already weakened pelvic floor muscles. Having a weak pelvic floor makes it harder to squeeze muscles and sphincters at the bottom of the bladder resulting in difficulty controlling urine. 

Too much information, I know.

Studies show that women who have delivered vaginally, particularly with the use of forceps, are more likely to develop incontinence. Research also suggests that a prolonged pushing stage or larger babies make stress incontinence more likely. 

But there is good news! Like any other muscle in our body, the pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened and their function restored. A correct pelvic floor contraction and relaxation can help improve muscle and sphincter control preventing leakage, as well as provide core strength and stability. 

An assessment by a trained pelvic floor physiotherapist can help determine if you are contracting your pelvic floor muscles properly and performing “kegels” effectively.  These physiotherapists are trained to conduct internal exams on patients to assess the muscles, connective tissues and nerves that make up the pelvic floor. To find a physiotherapist with this training, check the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario website here

Do you have a question for Dr. Aliya? Send an email to editor@babypost.com with Dr. Aliya in the subject line and check back every Thursday to see what Dr. Aliya is writing about each week!

A health practitioner, chiropractor and acupuncturist with a distinct integrativecare approach, Aliya brings extensive experience in pre-natal and pediatric wellness to her clinical practice at Restore Integrative Health in Toronto. She also treats mamas and mamas-to-be at The Toronto Yoga Mamas. She is a runner, yoga instructor and new mother.

Visit her website at draliya.ca or follow her on Twitter @DrAliyaVisram or on Instagram @DrAliyaVisramDC

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