Pregnancy and childbirth are the most common causes of injury to the pelvic floor muscles. Since controlling urine flow is one of the things the pelvic floor muscles muscles do, it's very common for newer and experienced moms to experience urine loss ("peeing my pants") post-partum.
But just because urine loss is common after pregnancy and childbirth doesn't mean it's normal! Urine loss doesn't have to be your new reality, post-partum - it can be treated with pelvic health physiotherapy.
So what does a pelvic health physiotherapist do to treat urine loss? The muscles, ligaments, and nerves of the pelvic floor can recover from injury, just like in other parts of the body. A pelvic health physiotherapist can perform an assessment to determine the cause of your urine loss. This involves:
- Asking you questions to better understand your pregnancy, your medical history, your urine loss symptoms, how your symptoms are affecting your life, and your goals for physiotherapy.
- Answering your questions about your condition and explaining the risks and benefits of proceeding with physiotherapy.
- Doing a physical examination, which usually involves assessing the strength and control of your pelvic floor muscles, and your core. This may include an internal assessment, which is a vaginal or rectal exam.
Based on the results of the assessment, your physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan with you.
What will a treatment plan include? Everyone is different, which is why your plan will be customized to you. But here are some examples:
- If your muscles that control urination seem to be weak, your treatment plan will likely include muscle strengthening exercises.
- If your muscles are strong but you have a hard time controlling them, your plan will likely include muscle control exercises.
- If your pelvic floor muscles are tight, your plan may include muscle relaxation techniques.
- If you want more information about what has happened to your body post-partum, your physiotherapist can provide the explanations and education you need.
It's common for patients post-partum to have other physical symptoms as well. For example, shoulder pain from holding their new baby, or other pelvic floor conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse or pain during intercourse (dyspareunia). Our pelvic health physiotherapist is skilled at integrating your pelvic health treatment with your overall health and well-being.
Want to learn more? Read these frequently asked questions about pelvic health physiotherapy, or check out our pelvic health guide. (This is a general guide about all the conditions and clients pelvic health physiotherapy can treat – including incontinence unrelated to pregnancy or birth, pelvic pain, all genders and seniors)