Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control (leaking pee). The two most common types of urinary incontinence that affect women are stress incontinence and urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder. Incontinence affects twice as many women as men. This may be because pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause may make urinary incontinence more likely. Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of aging, and it can be treated.
Problems during labor and childbirth, especially vaginal birth, can weaken pelvic floor muscles and damage the nerves that control the bladder. Most problems with bladder control that happen as a result of labor and delivery go away after the muscles have had some time to heal. If you’re still having bladder problems 6 weeks after childbirth, talk to your doctor, nurse, or midwife.
Your doctor or nurse may suggest some things you can do at home to help treat urinary incontinence. Some people do not think that such simple actions can treat urinary incontinence. But for many women, these steps make urinary incontinence go away entirely, or help leak less urine. These steps may include:
If these steps do not improve your symptoms, your doctor or nurse may recommend other treatments depending on whether you have stress incontinence or urge incontinence or both.
Be patient as you work with your doctor or nurse on a treatment plan. It may take a month or longer for different treatments to begin working.