A new study confirms that women who have incontinence during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have the problem after giving birth as well. The good news, researchers say, is that there are ways for women to reduce their risk.
In a study of more than 1,100 first-time mothers, Spanish researchers found that 39% reported urinary incontinence, or urine leakage, at some point during pregnancy. Another 10% said they had anal incontinence, which included uncontrolled passage of gas or stool.
These women were more likely than those without incontinence during pregnancy to have symptoms seven weeks after giving birth.
Overall, 16% of women in the study had urinary incontinence seven weeks after giving birth, while 7% had anal incontinence.
The risks for women who have had these problems during pregnancy were three and six times greater, respectively, compared with women who had remained continent during pregnancy.
The study, reported in the journal Obstetrics & Gynaecology, also confirmed that vaginal childbirth carries greater risks compared with caesarean section. Women who had a vaginal delivery were three times more likely than those who had a C-section to have urinary or anal incontinence after childbirth.
Of 692 women who had a vaginal delivery and responded to questionnaires seven weeks after childbirth, 139 reported symptoms of urinary incontinence and 57 reported anal incontinence.
The findings confirm vaginal delivery and incontinence during pregnancy as risk factors for post-childbirth incontinence, lead researcher Maite Solans-Domenech, of the Catalan Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Research in Barcelona, told Reuters Health in an email.
But they also highlight potential ways to reduce the risk, according to Solans-Domenech.
For example, studies have tied excess weight gain to an increased risk of incontinence during pregnancy (in this study, it was linked to anal incontinence only). So gaining only the recommended number of pregnancy pounds may help prevent incontinence both during and after pregnancy.
In addition, exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, known as Kegel exercises, have been shown to lower the risk of pregnancy-related incontinence, Solans-Domenech noted.
As for the mode of delivery, C-sections cannot be considered solely to prevent incontinence, Solans-Domenech said.
However, she added, in cases where a woman already has risk factors for post-childbirth incontinence – such as being older than 35 or having a family history of incontinence — doctors might want to avoid using forceps or other instruments during vaginal delivery, or doing an episiotomy — an incision made to enlarge the vaginal opening during delivery.
Past studies have linked instrument-assisted deliveries, particularly in conjunction with episiotomy, to an increased risk of incontinence, Solans-Domenech and her colleagues point out.
Because the current study followed-up with women only seven weeks after they gave birth, it is unclear how many women had long-term symptoms. Past research has suggested that for most women, incontinence goes away within a few months of giving birth, though for some it may become a persistent problem.
Treatments for persistent incontinence include Kegel exercises, behavioural changes (like scheduled bathroom trips), medications and, in more severe cases, surgery.
Medtronic has published data from a clinical study which demonstrates the efficacy of its new treatment for faecal incontinence.
The company’s InterStim Therapy was tested among 120 sufferers of the condition who had previously failed to respond to other treatment options, with the Medtronic implant helping to achieve a reduction in incontinence episodes.
This device functions by applying mild electrical stimulation to the sacral nerves controlling the bladder, sphincter and pelvic floor muscles, with the aim of delivering perfect continence.
Medtronic senior vice-president and neuromodulation president Tom Tefft stated that the studies show the product’s efficacy in meeting a pressing clinical need.
He said: “InterStim Therapy has a significant impact on quality of life when few other treatment options exist.”
Earlier this month, the company was granted a recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration’s circulatory system devices panel for a new pacemaker optimised for safe use with MRI scanners.
There are many possible factors that could lead to incontinence, childbirth, bowl cancer surgery radiotherapy damage or a serious injury caused by a motor accident, and many could end up needing a colostomy bag. A colostomy bag is used in the worst cases of urinary or faecal incontinence when patients have no control what so ever of their bowel and sphincter muscles.
Up until now, patients requiring a colostomy bag were doomed to live it for the rest of their lives, but a revolutionary new surgical procedure can give back patients control over their bowel and sphincter muscles eliminating the need of the colostomy bag.
In a touching interview with Carol Davies from the Daily Mail, 55-year-old Ged Galvin, a project manager from Barnsley, Yorkshire who was one of the first UK patients to go through such operation. Ged was recovering from a motorbike accident that nearly cost him his life, when he was told by his surgeon he would have to live his colostomy bag for the rest of his life and this contributed to the end of his 30 year marriage.
But Ged didn’t give up and sought help from Professor Norman Williams, who agreed to operate on Ged using a procedure he’d pioneered ten years earlier, taking a muscle from Ged’s inner thigh – with its nerve and blood supply intact – and wrapping it around the anus to support the sphincter (the muscle that controls waste leaving the body).
The nerve leading to the implanted muscle would then receive and electrode which would be attached to a pacemaker in Ged’s abdomen. Once activated by a remote control, the pacemaker would send an electric impulse to the electrode to keep the sphincter closed; switching it off would make the sphincter open.
Cutting a long story short the operation was a success and Mr. Galvin was able to regain control of his lower body muscles and most importantly of his life.
Full Story here.
A new product developed and recently introduced in the American market promises to deal with mild faecal incontinence in a discreet and hygienic way. With a unique butterfly shape this incontinence product fit into place without the need of tape, pins or other fastening devices.
This innovative incontinence product is described as an anal leak pad, highly absorbent (up to 10 ml leakage per pad) of mild faecal leakage and perspiration, it is a soft, smooth and latex free.
These pads act as breathable moisture that helps contain leakage, keeping sensitive skin drier and at the same time reducing irritation. With its compact size of 3-1/2 x 5 inches open (fold to use) these pads are easy to carry and use when needed.
Designed for active lifestyle these faecal incontinence pads are disposable, biodegradable and flushable making it easy to change and dispose it in the privacy of a restroom, making it a simple and easy to use solution for people living with Faecal Incontinence.
Name: B-SURE® Anal Leakage Pads
Available in Boxes of 24