Incontinence

10 August 2017

Ex Destiny's Child singer talks about her post pregnancy urinary incontinence

As far as taboo topics go, urinary incontinence in young people is 'right up there'.

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It’s been months since you've had time with your girlfriends after having your bundle of joy. So tonight you left your baby with your husband to let your hair down for some adult conversation.

Someone cracks a joke and you burst out laughing. But as you do so, you realise you not only released a giggle but a bit of urine as well!

This was exactly what happened to Kelly Rowland. She recently opened up on the American daytime TV show The Real about her post pregnancy struggles with urinary incontinence. After becoming a first time mom, Rowland published a book called Whoa Baby! where she shares her personal stories and lessons learned since having her baby boy.

Many women, after giving birth vaginally, experience episodes of involuntary urination when they laugh, sneeze or cough. This is called urinary incontinence and occurs when these actions cause the uterus to place pressure on the bladder, and the weakened bladder muscles cause urine to leak out of the urethra. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information says that because there is no confirmed single event during vaginal birth found to be responsible for urinary incontinence, postpartum urinary incontinence probably arises from a multifactorial physiological injury.

                                                                                Illustration of urinal incontinence. 

Health24 explains that the treatment for urinary incontinence includes: 

Non-medical:

  • Weight loss
  • Smoking cessation
  • Kegel or pelvic floor exercises
  • Vaginal weights
  • Biofeedback
  • Electrical stimulation

Medical:

  • Oestrogen
  • Alpha-agonists
  • Combination of both

Surgical:

  • Periurethral injections of bulking agents
  • Suspension operations
  • Sling operations
  • Artificial urinary sphincters

Postpartum urinary incontinence can be treated with the help of your gynaecologist as well as a physiotherapist.

In order to strengthen your urethral sphincter function, you can do Kegel exercises or pelvic floor exercises. Speak to a medical professional to decide which of the treatment options would be best for you.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence you are not alone and according to Health24, exercise helps to bring relief from urinary incontinence for 50–80% of women. 

Watch the clip of Kelly Rowland explaining her episode of urinary incontinence here:

Images by iStock and Wikipedia.

 

Ask the Expert

Incontinence Expert

Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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