Do you have severe urgency throughout the day? Do you find yourself always knowing where bathrooms are, calculating how long you will be away from home or avoiding activities that may take you away from easy access to a bathroom? Do you wear pads, panty liners or do you change your underwear or pants regularly due to leakage? No matter how many pregnancies you’ve had, abdominal surgeries, or years of dealing with these issues, there is always room for improvement and pelvic therapy can really help!

While you are pregnant, you have to pee all the time and leak just about any time you sneeze, cough, or laugh. The baby is pushing on your bladder making it challenging to control.

But what’s the explanation for why the leaking continues after birth?! The 2 main types of incontinence that women experience are urge incontinence and stress incontinence.

Urge Incontinence: This is when you have a strong sensation that you have to pee all the time. This will drive you to the toilet every 30 minutes and it will wake you up 4-5 times per night. It is a problem and it is super disruptive. Our bladders take 2-4 hours to fill with urine and don’t need to be emptied until it is completely full. Dysfunctional urgency sends a signal to the bladder before it is full that it is time to pee. And sometimes you just can’t hold it long enough to get to the toilet.

Stress Incontinence: This is more about weakness in the pelvic floor muscles and the inability to contract those muscles well enough to stay continent. This can happen after a vaginal delivery in which you suffer a tear to the perineal body. Or it can develop over time when your muscles get so fatigued from carrying around the extra weight during pregnancy and they just don’t gain their strength back.

Incontinence is not normal but it is common. And good news- it can be fixed! It is important to determine what kind of incontinence you have because the therapy for it is different. With urge incontinence, it’s about changing the behavior around bathrooming- not reacting to the sensation or urgency, but rather allowing the sensation to pass before emptying the bladder.

Stress incontinence is treated with good ole’ fashioned kegels. However, don’t assume you know how to do a proper kegel. Watch this video instructing how to do a proper kegel.

Here are some healthy bladder habits:

  1. Space fluid intake throughout the day (sip on water all day long)
  2. No “just in case” peeing. You are leaving your house and you think “Do I really need to pee or am I going just in case? This is not good for your bladder as it can re-teach your brain and bladder to have bad habits. It can also irritate pelvic floor muscles.
  3. When emptying a full bladder, you should be able to count at least “8 mississippis”. Anything less than that indicates that you did not have a full bladder.
  4. Do you pee in a straight line or does it pull to the right or left or spray all over the toilet bowl? If urine does not fall in a straight line, you may have tight pelvic floor muscles causing dysfunction.

How much water is enough?

A quick and easy way to calculate how much water you should drink is to take your weight and divide by 2. This is the amount in ounces that you should drink per day. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, you should drink 100 oz of fluid per day. 2/3 of this fluid intake should be water.

Hopefully some of these tips help and get you off to healing!

In health, Jenn Lane