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VERIFIED CONTENTConsultation: lek. med. Adam Zakościelny, specialist urologist, Enel-Med Medical Center in Warsaw

Are you pregnant and unable to hold urine? If this has never happened to you before, you may feel embarrassed and anxious. But don't panic - leaking urine is a common ailment during pregnancy, and most importantly, after giving birth, she is usually left alone.

Urinary incontinence in pregnancyusually surprises a woman. I am young, he althy (because pregnancy is not a disease), and I cannot control the flow of urine - you think and you start to worry. Especially if you feel ashamed to talk to anyone about it.

Meanwhile, letting off a few drops of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or lifting heavy objects is quite common during pregnancy - it affects more than half of women (some are not even aware that it happens to them). However, sometimes, even with proper hygiene, chafing can occur. Adequate diet and exercise will help in urinary incontinence during pregnancy, and when nappy rash occurs - care and protective cosmetics, e.g. zinc cream or barrier creams.

Urinary incontinence in pregnancy: causes

Leaving urine during pregnancyis the so-calledstress urinary incontinence , and the cause of this condition is simple - an enlarged uterus compresses the bladder, causing its emptying, and the muscles of the pelvic floor, relaxed by hormones and stretched out, are not able to stop this flow.

This unpleasant ailment can occur at any time during pregnancy, but most often it occurs in the third trimester, when the uterus is at its largest. Stress urinary incontinence in most women resolves spontaneously within 6 months after delivery, when hormone levels return to normal, and with it muscle tone. However, this is not always the case, so it is better not to underestimate this problem.

Urinary incontinence in pregnancy: reliable Kegel exercises

The best way to prevent and treat urinary incontinence is to systematically exercise the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises (named after the doctor who developed them). They involve alternating stretching and relaxing the muscles surrounding the urethra, vagina and anus.

Kegel muscles are the muscles thatyou tighten when you want to stop the flow of urine flowing out.

Note: frequent tightening of these muscles while urinating is not advisable, however, as it may cause incomplete emptying of the bladder, and the residual urine in it may cause infection. So you should not exercise while visiting the toilet. But besides that, you can do these exercises in all sorts of situations and circumstances, because no one will know that you are exercising. You can practice lying, sitting or standing.

First tighten your Kegel muscles for 5 seconds, then relax them and then tighten again after a while. Start with a series of 10 such contractions and repeat the series several times throughout the day. Gradually, exercise more and more, and try to hold out longer and longer with your muscles clenched (not holding your breathing!).

Research results confirm the high effectiveness of these exercises, if they are actually performed systematically. Do not be discouraged by the fact that the effect will not be immediate - you have to wait at least a few weeks for it. But it's worth practicing and it's never too late.

Worth knowing

Urinary incontinence in pregnancy - what else can you do?

  • Despite urinary incontinence, do not limit your fluid intake - you should drink at least 2 liters a day. Limiting your drinking will not help your muscles and could lead to urinary tract infections.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder - coffee (and other caffeinated fluids), citrus, tomatoes, hot spices, carbonated drinks and alcohol.
  • Avoid constipation, as the stool can also constrict the bladder, and a strenuous effort to empty your bowels weakens the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Visit the toilet as often as possible.

Urinary incontinence during pregnancy? Watch out for infections

Urinary incontinence can promote urinary tract infections. To minimize this risk, drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Also take care of your intimate hygiene - frequently change sanitary napkins or panty liners, and regularly wash yourself.

However, if you do develop cystitis (symptoms include: frequent urge to urinate, burning on peeing, abdominal pain, and cloudy, blood-stained urine), see your doctor to prescribe the appropriate antibiotics. Untreated cystitis may turn into nephritis, which is already a more dangerous disease for the fetus - in the third trimester of pregnancy, it may lead to premature birth.

When urinary incontinence persists after delivery

It happens that urinary incontinence does not go away spontaneously after childbirth, and it gets worse with time. Do not hesitate to go to the doctor - gynecologist with thisor a urologist. You should absolutely not be ashamed - the sooner you start treatment, the easier and faster you will get rid of the problem. Currently, specialists have a choice of several methods of therapy, adapted to the stage of the disease - from the use of special cones and vaginal inserts, through pharmacological treatment, to surgery.

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