Bladder and Bowel Problems
Do you have problems with controlling your bladder or bowel?
These are common problems after childbirth and there are solutions.
Often after delivery the pelvic muscles which control both the bladder and the bowel can be stretched or damaged. Bruising and swelling can make going to the toilet painful, and control difficult. These problems may be temporary and all may improve with time. There are many treatments which can help the situation. It is important to seek help for these problems and not to suffer in silence. If you are experiencing problems then talk to your midwife, health visitor, GP or practice nurse as they should be able to help you or refer you on to someone who can.
Simple solutions which may help you with your bladder and bowel control include:
- Drinking an adequate amount of water daily, this is vital to ensure the correct functioning of the bladder and bowel.
- Avoid strong coffee and other sources of caffeine as this causes bladder and bowel irritation and spasm which makes control more difficult.
- Avoid other bladder and bowel stimulants which include alcohol, artificial sweeteners and nicotine.
- Regularly practice pelvic floor exercises (at least 3 times a day) to strengthen the pelvic floor: ask your midwife for information and advice.
- Eating a healthy diet which includes a variety of fruit and vegetables. This ensures that the bowel functions correctly and regularly so helping with control.
- Drinking probiotics (e.g. Yakult) may help with stool looseness and urgency.
- You might like to consider talking to your doctor about using a constipating agent,
(e.g. loperamide) to firm stool and enable more confidence when going out.
There are also other treatments which may help; all of these need referral from a health care professional. These include:
- Physiotherapy and Bio-feedback to improve the function of the pelvic floor muscles.
- Anal plugs which act like tampons in preventing faecal leakage and are available on prescription.
- Medications that can decrease overactivity in the bladder and bowel.
- Rectal irrigation, this enables the lower part of the bowel to be emptied and so prevents leakage, see links below.
- Surgery to increase resistance against leakage; this can be in the form of injectable bulking agents, slings and sphincter repair.
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