The body undergoes significant changes during the pregnancy and birth process and the pelvic floor muscles play a significant role in preventing bladder leakage. Regardless of the type of birth you have, the weight of the baby alone can cause stretching and subsequent weakness of these muscles. With vaginal deliveries, you may be left with scar tissue in your vagina due to tearing sustained during the birth of your baby's head. Other things that influence proper recruitment of these muscles include bladder position, tailbone position and symmetry of the pelvis, all which can be influenced during the birthing process.
Some slight leakage with coughing, sneezing, laughing, etc. following birth while your perineum and muscles are healing may be considered normal; however, if this continues beyond your 6 week follow up, seeking care from a pelvic physical therapist is recommended.
Involuntary loss of urine in the absence of running, coughing, sneezing, laughing is never normal and could indicate a more serious birth injury. Loss of stool is also never normal. You should seek guidance from your physician or a pelvic health specialist immediately if you are experiencing these types of symptoms.
Regardless of the amount of time that has passed since having your baby: weeks, months, years, or decades, you can still get relief from these symptoms and they absolutely should be addressed. As women age and hormone levels decrease, symptoms of bladder leakage can worsen significantly.
During your visit with a pelvic health specialist, you can expect to have your pelvic organs and muscles assessed to ensure proper position of pelvic organs (uterus, bladder and rectum), the symmetry of pelvic bones, position of the tailbone, and proper tone of the associated muscles and fascia within the vagina. Symptoms typically resolve in 3-6 sessions.
Leslie Kremer, DPT, LLC