Everything You Need To Know About Postnatal Incontinence

Postnatal incontinence affects many women to some extent, though for the majority of mothers, will resolve itself within a few months. However, when this doesn’t happen, women can be left struggling with symptoms of stress incontinence while also dealing with the pressures of being a new mother! Many traditional treatments for stress incontinence, including postnatal incontinence, either involve long, intensive recovery periods and surgical intervention or are very time-consuming, leaving sufferers struggling for longer than they need. At Battersea Skin and Beauty, we are passionate about helping women suffering from postnatal incontinence take back control of their lives and freeing them from their symptoms using the revolutionary Viveve treatment. Keep reading to find out more about how postnatal incontinence can affect you, and how we can help treat it.

What Is Postnatal Incontinence and What Causes It? 

Postnatal incontinence is a condition that affects over a third of new mothers at some point. However, when it doesn’t resolve on its own (usually within 3-4 months), it can become a chronic, debilitating condition.

Postnatal incontinence occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched or damaged by the strain of vaginal childbirth. Normally, the pelvic floor muscles help to support the bladder and pelvic organs by wrapping tightly around them in a sling shape, giving support and helping to hold the bladder closed. This helps to ensure that the bladder only opens and empties when we consciously decide to. However, due to the location of the pelvic floor muscles, and the role they play during the process of vaginal childbirth, they are often damaged during childbirth, leaving them slack or damaged, and unable to hold the bladder as tightly as before. This can result in many women being unable to control their bladder function when strain is put on the pelvic floor muscles, such as when we laugh, cough, lift heavy objects, jump or engage in other high-impact activities. This means that women suffering from postnatal incontinence experience dribbles and leaks on a regular basis, which can be embarrassing, uncomfortable and a massive knock to their confidence.

Postnatal incontinence can happen to almost any woman after giving birth, but there are several factors that increase the likelihood of stress incontinence becoming more severe or chronic. These include having multiple vaginal births, especially in relatively close succession; having a long or problematic birth, which increases the strain felt by the pelvic floor muscles; the birth of larger or heavier babies; being obese; being a smoker; or giving birth over the age of around 35, as muscle strength, tone and density are already beginning to decline by this point.

The Impact Of Postnatal Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are damaged, meaning they can’t hold the bladder as tightly or effectively, and they may relax when strain is put on the area, causing urine leakage. 

Postnatal stress incontinence can be a debilitating condition and which can affect the confidence of sufferers, leaving them feeling upset, embarrassed and isolated. Despite being a very common condition, the stigma around stress incontinence and other common conditions faced by postnatal women means that many people are reluctant to talk about their experiences or struggles. This can mean sufferers often don’t seek the help they need, despite facing a debilitating and isolating condition. Postnatal incontinence can trigger a wide range of difficulties for sufferers, including:

  • A loss of confidence, independence and an inability to try new things, due to embarrassment and the need to always know where the nearest toilet is, in case of an accident. For new mothers, this can be especially significant as it may prevent them from spending time and bonding with other new mothers, many of whom may be facing the same struggles.
  • Spending large amounts of money on expensive incontinence pads and other stopgap solutions, which can cost hundreds of pounds every year
  • Sleeplessness due to having to get up in the night to go to the toilet regularly, alongside the responsibilities and lack of sleep that comes as part and parcel of being a new parent.
  • A decline in intimacy and a lack of confidence and enjoyment in the sex lives of many women. Fear of leaks and anxiety about their condition during intimacy can prevent many sufferers from feeling like their best and most confident selves when it comes to their sex lives and close romantic relationships.

How Can You Treat Postnatal Incontinence?

Traditional treatments prescribed for stress incontinence sufferers, such as kegel exercises, can be more time-consuming and often take a long time to have a significant effect. For many sufferers, especially new mothers, finding the time to spend on these kinds of exercises can be hard, and with results taking a long time to appear, stress incontinence symptoms continue to be felt. Traditional surgical treatments such as colposuspension, sling surgery and the controversial vaginal mesh surgery are also sometimes available to sufferers of stress incontinence, but these are time-consuming, incredibly invasive and carry the risk of infection, as well as a hospital stay and the need for general anaesthetic.

However, a new wave of non-surgical treatments for the symptoms of stress incontinence, including postnatal incontinence, are now available, including the market-leading, revolutionary Viveve treatment, available at Battersea Skin and Beauty.

Viveve is such an effective treatment as it uses the body’s own natural processes to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and the muscles around the neck of the bladder. It does this by gently heating the tissues in the vaginal canal using a specially designed wand which is inserted into the vagina and moved back and forth during treatment. This gentle heat penetrates the tissues in the area to a depth of up to 7mm, and kickstarts the body’s own regeneration processes to increase collagen production, thereby strengthening the tissues through neo-collagenesis. The treatment is completely painless, and many patients report a pleasant warmth throughout their treatment experience. Viveve is so effective as it is the only treatment available on the UK market that uses Cryogen-cooled Monopolar Radiofrequency (CMRF) technology, which allows heat to penetrate the body further without causing any pain, resulting in longer-lasting, and far more deeply effective results.

To find out how postnatal stress incontinence can affect you, learn more about the incredible Viveve treatment or book your consultation with the experts at Battersea Skin and Beauty today, contact us on 020 7228 7773, or email info@batterseaskinandbeauty.com

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