Does a Hysterectomy Cause Incontinence?
Jessica Lubahn 8 min read
Are you experiencing bladder leakage after having a hysterectomy?
Having a leaking bladder after a hysterectomy is a difficult and often embarrassing experience that can leave you feeling helpless.
While it might seem like this is simply a fact of life, it doesn't have to be that way.
Thankfully, there is a solution.
In this article, you will learn about the connection between hysterectomies and urinary incontinence, as well as how to prevent unpredictable leakage.
Table of Contents
- Hysterectomy and Urinary Incontinence: Are They Related?
- How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated After a Hysterectomy?
- 5 Ways to Minimize Urine Leakage After a Hysterectomy
- Non-Invasive Incontinence Products to Help Contain Leakage
- Are You Experiencing Post-Hysterectomy Bladder Problems? ONDRwear Can Help Prevent Embarrassing Incontinence Leaks
Hysterectomy and Urinary Incontinence: Are They Related?
Many women who have had a hysterectomy experience bladder leakage. Typically, women experience post-hysterectomy incontinence months or even years after their procedure.
But are hysterectomy and incontinence related?
The relationship between urinary incontinence and hysterectomy has been studied for decades now.
Findings from two studies show:
- Although it is not usually an immediate issue, women are more likely to experience incontinence later in life, years after having a hysterectomy.
- Hysterectomy surgery increases women’s risk of developing urinary incontinence in subsequent years.
Women are two times more likely to experience urinary incontinence after a hysterectomy.
Therefore, doctors need to discuss the increased risks of urinary incontinence and possible treatment before having a hysterectomy.
How Can a Hysterectomy Cause Urinary Incontinence?
A hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, may cause urinary incontinence.
There are a few reasons this might happen:
- After the uterus is removed, the bladder may no longer hold as much urine.
- Leakage of urine may be related to stress and urge incontinence — like when you exercise or need to go to the bathroom.
- The nerves that control bladder function may be damaged, which can cause problems with urination, including leakage.
If you have a hysterectomy, your bladder could become overactive because the muscles and ligaments that help hold in urine are weakened, damaged, or removed.
Are you experiencing urinary incontinence after a hysterectomy?
If so, ONDRwear can help.
There isn't any definitive research on how hysterectomies can cause incontinence.
However, most theories are related to stress and urge incontinence.
Stress incontinence happens because of pressure on the pelvic floor, causing loss of bladder control function.
If you have a hysterectomy, you may have trouble controlling your bladder because the ...
- Connective tissues
- Muscles; and
... of your pelvic floor that help hold in urine are weakened, damaged, or removed.
You may experience leakage under pressure, such as when you:
Urge incontinence is the sudden urge to urinate without being able to suppress it and hold it in.
Similar to what is experienced with stress incontinence, the …
- Tissues; and
... from the pelvic floor are weakened.
Sometimes there even can be nerve damage to the bladder from hysterectomy because of its proximity to the uterus, which also affects bladder control.
How Is Urinary Incontinence Treated After a Hysterectomy?
Urinary incontinence after a hysterectomy can be treated in a variety of ways, but the most common treatments are with surgery and/or physical therapy.
Physical therapy may help improve bladder control and muscle strength.
5 Ways to Minimize Urine Leakage After a Hysterectomy
Routine bladder control can be a difficult feat for many women after a hysterectomy, but there are things you can do to minimize leaking.
If you're experiencing urine leakage after a hysterectomy, take these steps to minimize the problem.
Make life easier on yourself by preventing accidents and embarrassing leaks.
#1: Visit a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist
If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, there is a good chance that your pelvic floor muscles may not function properly.
A pelvic floor physical therapist can help you restore function to these muscles, which may help improve your urinary control.
Some benefits of working with a physical therapist include:
- Learning exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles on your own
- Practicing the relaxation of your pelvic floor muscles to maintain bladder control; and
- Dealing with stress and anxiety that may contribute to urinary leakage
Rehabilitation of the pelvic floor muscles has been shown to decrease the risk of future urinary tract infections, which is another benefit of visiting a physical therapist.
#2: Make Lifestyle Changes
Some women may experience occasional urinary leakage after a hysterectomy, while others may experience more significant problems.
If you want to lower your risk, you can take control over things in your life that can lead to urinary leakage, such as:
- Diet - You may have to go to the bathroom more if you eat certain types of foods (e.g., spicy food, caffeinated drinks, citrus fruits, alcohol, tomato-based products, chocolate, and diuretics).
- Smoking - Can lead to "smoker’s cough", which weakens the pelvic floor and causes urinary leaks.
- Weight - Can put extra stress on the abdomen, which bears down on the pelvic floor and can weaken it.
It is important to discuss your lifestyle with your doctor to see if any changes may be necessary to prevent incontinence.
#3: Injectable Implants
Injectable implants are a popular treatment for urinary incontinence.
This is a minimally invasive medical treatment that injects bulking agents, like...
- Saline solution; or
- Silicone gel
... into the walls of the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder outside the body).
The option of injectable implants to minimize urinary leakage is based on personal factors, including:
- The severity of the urinary leakage problem; and
- The patient's overall health
Injectable implants can help to tighten the urethra to increase the resistance to urinary flow and increase continence.
Various prescription medications can help minimize urinary incontinence.
It is important to discuss the use of medications with your doctor, as each person responds differently to them.
Mayo Clinic lists the following medications as those prescribed to minimize urinary incontinence:
- Trospium relaxes the muscles of the bladder and urethra. It can treat both urge urinary incontinence and stress urinary incontinence.
- Oxybutynin (Oxytrol) treats bladder control problems, such as overactive bladder and urinary incontinence.
- Fesoterodine (Toviaz) helps with bladder control (i.e. spasms or the urge to urinate). It blocks certain receptors in the bladder so that your bladder muscles can relax.
- Tolterodine (Detrol) is used to treat overactive bladder symptoms such as loss of bladder control, urgency, and frequency.
- Darifenacin (Enablex) treats overactive bladder similarly to Oxybutynin, but typically with fewer side effects.
- Solifenacin (Vesicare) helps to improve bladder control. It is usually given as a tablet or liquid. Solifenacin is also used to treat overactive bladder.
Some people may experience decreased urinary urgency and frequency after taking these medications, while others may not experience any change.
Remember to only take medication as prescribed by your doctor, as this may help improve your urinary incontinence symptoms.
#5: Sling Operation
A sling operation is a surgery to place a sling made of mesh or tissue which lifts and supports the urethra and bladder.
The procedure helps minimize leaks and is typically used to treat women who have or have had:
- Uterine cancer
- Prolapse surgery; or
- Problems with other treatment methods
For a sling operation, the doctor will typically evaluate your medical history and examine your pelvic area.
A sling operation is usually done as an outpatient procedure, and most people require only minimal post-operative care.
Non-Invasive Incontinence Products to Help Contain Leakage
There are a variety of non-invasive products that can help contain leakage.
Some products, such as pads and briefs, are worn directly against the skin. Others, such as a bladder sling or an incontinence belt, are worn outside of the clothes.
Wearing items like these can make you feel self-conscious and uncomfortable.
If you want an attractive, luxurious, flattering, and feminine look...
ONDRwear is your best alternative to traditional pull-up underwear.
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Are You Experiencing Post-Hysterectomy Bladder Problems? ONDRwear Can Help Prevent Embarrassing Incontinence Leaks
Living with urinary incontinence can be a difficult and often embarrassing experience.
But your answer is here.
ONDRwear leak-proof underwear was designed for people who have had a hysterectomy and have bladder issues.
Our patented and stylish ONDRwear are:
- Odor-free; and
- Super absorbent
ONDRWear leak-proof underwear are comfortable and easy to use, so you won't want to leave the house without them.
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