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What if you could reduce leaking? How would your life change?

Postpartum leaking can cause much embarrassment and frustration in a busy momma. And although you may have leaking, I”m here to tell you it’s O.K. And it could change.

⇒What you want to learn is which activities increase your leaking and which ones do not.

You are unique and your strength is different than anyone else. When you find the activities that increase your leaking, avoid them for now.  Work on the correct muscles and relaxation techniques and then try that activity again at a later date.  With time, you will build strength.

Keep in mind, there are many unavoidable activities you may experience, such as coughing or holding your breath that will increase your risk of leaking. 

I know the feeling, so let’s be honest for a minute.

When does your leaking occur? Is it during running? Do you leak when you yell at your kids? or does it happen when you get fatigued?

This all can change.  We need to re-train your body for the event in which leaking occurs.

Running & Leaking

You’re going for a run and all of a sudden you feel it, you’re leaking again.  You can’t believe it.  But wait one moment.  What was happening in your run to cause the leaking?

Does it happen just when you reach the hill?

Did you think of something that caused you to stress?

Did your pelvic floor fatigue and you’re tired?

These are all reasons why you may experiencing leaking.

Your pelvic floor, the muscles that hold up your bladder, are part of a pressure system that runs from your the top of your mouth to your pelvis called your intra-abdominal pressure (IAP).

When one part of this system is compromised, say in childbirth when your pelvic floor may weaken, then the whole system is affected.

Women who have had a C-section, large tears and episiotomies have in an increasing pressure because the pressure system has been cut into.  Therefore, you may need more breath training then a friend who did not have these experiences. ¹

Similar, when you cough in excess, sneeze, run, or jump you increase the pressure and when the muscles are not activating correctly, the pressure moves out of the system; as in leaking.

Here are some reasons you may be experiencing leaking

  • your pelvic floor muscles are weak/long
  • your pelvic floor muscles are short
  • caffeine and your diet may be causing inflammation and constipation
  • you may be in a high-stress response all day long
  • you may have had surgery that has compromised your pelvic floor/bladder area {C-section, episiotomy, or a large tear}
  • your exercise routine may be too intense for you right now
  • you’re overweight and it’s too much pressure downward
  • you have a forward head
  • your upper back is stiff
  • you’ve had a cold and have coughed for days
  • your sleep
  • your posture is poor
  • you are carrying two kids and groceries all at once!

Movements that increase your IAP and may cause leaking²

From most pressure to least.

  • Seated holding your breath
  • Coughing
  • Lying down holding your breath
  • Jumping

Also, can you carry heavy things differently? Carrying stuff on your back {like your baby or a backpack} have been proven to reduce the amount of pressure you experience through your pelvic floor. ²

But, maybe it’s not the pressure we need to blame, but the effectiveness of your abdominals and pelvic floor to activate during these times of pressure.

You may be able to overcome leaking with a well-rounded wellness plan.

Try these 5 Steps to Reduce Leaking

#1 Reduce Constipation

  • The pressure of constipation {and even excessive coughing} weakens the pelvic floor and decreases its ability to hold in urine. Try these tips to reduce constipation.
      • Increase your daily water consumption – up to 8 Glasses/day

     

      • Avoid caffeinated beverages (as they can lead to dehydration)

     

      • Increase adequate dietary fiber – 20-35g/day (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans)

     

      • Minimizing consumption of constipating foods (like ice cream, meats, cheese and high-fat foods)

     

      • Walk 30 minutes a day

     

      • Use the bathroom at the first urge to eliminate

     

      • Use the toilet at a consistent time every day

     

      • Try Hara massage; massage your abdominals in a clockwise direction (this can be hard after the first couple of months)

     

    • Add Flaxseed to your diet: Grind a cup of flaxseed and store in the refrigerator. 
      • Take 1 tbs. of ground flaxseed and add to your food daily.

#2 Engage & Stretch Your Pelvic Floor

In a woman’s body, the pelvic floor muscles surround the urethra, vaginal opening, and anus. In addition to keeping the pelvic organs in place and the pelvic bones stable, the pelvic floor muscles are also responsible for:

    • The pleasurable muscle contractions felt in the genitals during orgasm. Orgasms feel bigger and stronger when the pelvic floor muscles are strong.

 

    • Comfortable vaginal penetration. The flexibility of the pelvic floor muscles is important for comfortable penetration.

 

    • Keeping urine inside the bladder at moments of unexpected belly pressure (laughing, coughing, lifting, sneezing, jumping).

 

  • Keeping stool inside the rectum until you consciously relax your pelvic floor to allow it to pass.

#3 Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is a deeper breath with increased coastal expansion and it allows the abdominals to relax.  Think of breathing side by side like a bellow.  It regulates the pressure in the abdominal cavity and releases tension and tightness in the pelvic floor. 

Women say they feel tense or tight in their core and pelvic floor when they have incontinence. The diaphragmatic breathing releases this tension.

To do:

    1. Begin by sitting on a hard chair or bench and pull your “flesh away” so you feel your sitz bones.  If you are on the floor sit high on blocks or a firm cushion.

 

    1. Inhale-Envision the diaphragm moving downward, the abdomen contents are displaced outwards and the pelvic floor bulges slightly.

 

  1. Practice 3 ways: put both hands on your ribs and breathe into your hands 3-4x, place hands on your belly and allow it to push into your hands 3-4x, and last place hands on your collarbone and feel your breathe rise above your heart.

#4 Reduce Your Stress

As your bladder fills up it sends nerve messages to the brain to tell it when to empty your bladder.  When we “go to the bathroom, just in case”, we are actually decreasing the size of urine our bladder can hold therefore making the problem worse.  By relaxing your nervous system, you can change the response your brain triggers when your bladder is full.

Reducing stress is a multi-dimensional healing process.  Some steps you can take today are:

  • Incorporate meditation as often as possible to change your stress response
  • Drink caffeine-free teas
  • Add adaptogens to your diet
  • Exercise daily
  • Journal

#5 Try Homeopathy

Homeopathy is safe, gentle and affordable and can be used with children and adults alike.  The key to homeopathy is finding the right remedy for your specific symptoms. The theory “like cures like” implies you are seeking the specific remedy for your unique symptoms.   Read about the remedies here.

In conclusion

Breath holding, constipation, and your stress response increase your risk of leaking.  Notice when you do leak, {Is it when you yell at your kids? Is it when you are tired or carrying too many groceries up the steps?} and can you change that event to reduce the amount of leaking you experience.

Do you have any questions about leaking? Comment below or send me an email [email protected]

xoxo

Tara


References

¹ Clint, Susan; The Whole Body Connect

² IAP with Functional Activities. Egger, et al. Reproducibility of Intra Abdominal Pressure Measured During Physical Activities Via a Wireless Vaginal Transducer. Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg 2015;00: 1

²  Lift and carry conditions; Int Urogynecol J (2015)

 

Are you suffering from postpartum leaking? In this blog post, I cover why this may be happening and the steps you can take to stop it.
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