08 March 2009

Ulrika stands up for post-birth incontinence

Well, Ulrika Jonsson is back in the news with her views on being a mum and post-pregnancy weight loss. This time, however, she reveals 'the most embarrassing' and intimate of health secrets that affects many women post-birth: light adult incontinence (LAI) or postpartum urinary incontinence. As a result of having four children, as she says, it's no wonder that the muscles supporting her pelvis were weakened. Laughing, sneezing or coughing are all triggers for the leaking of a small amount of urine. Women who give birth vaginally are less likely to have urinary incontinence as opposed to women who have caesareans. In Australia, women comprise over 70% of people affected by urinary incontinence.

As most women suffer in silence, Jonsson has decided to speak out:

"I can't bear the thought of women suffering alone, in silence and feeling so alienated by this condition through absolutely no fault of their own. I mean, there is nothing adult about panicking every time you laugh or sneeze and feeling that you're losing control, so it's so easy to understand the stigma.

At the time, it did make me feel self-conscious, to say the very least, although my minor leakage problems after going to the toilet were alleviated by using the right protection and were not extreme enough for me to be caught out. But I do remember wondering whether I would have to suffer the side effects of childbirth for the rest of my life.

As an independent working woman I felt a bit stupid: what, I couldn't even control my own bladder - something you normally learn to do around the age of three?"

She says the only way she got her continence problem under control was through weight loss (she put on 5 stone in her last pregnancy) and doing pelvic floor exercises religiously.

If you suffer from urinary incontinence as a result of childbirth, here are some resources:
Urinary incontinence explained
Continence Foundation of Australia
Always Envive: Sense & Sensitivity Campaign UK

Does anyone have any thoughts? Is urinary incontinence affecting you? What did you do to strengthen your pelvic floor?

Source: Ulrika reveals her most embarassing health issue

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

2 kids. No problem so far. Big on kegels! I found the best time to do them was when trying to fall asleep. You'll reep more benefits than if you lay there counting sheep.

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