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Stress incontinence - can it be cured?

(38 Posts)
BetaMummy Thu 06-May-10 17:15:16

I've recently taken up running and I've discovered my pelvic floor is completely knackered!

I realise I'm going to have to start doing some serious pelvic floor exercising, but I'm very doubtful that it will be enough. What I would really like to know is whether anyone has gone from being very stress-incontinent to OK and if so, exactly what exercises did you do to achieve it?

To give you an idea of how bad it is, I made the mistake of running with a not completely empty bladder and I was saturated blush (luckily, it was dark and I was in black or I would have been mortified). I now make sure I don't have a drink for 2 hours before a run and I still have to wear a night-time sanitary towel - not good from a hydration perspective and not nice feeling like a "tenor lady".

yummumto3girls Thu 06-May-10 22:19:24

I think you need to go to your GP and ask for a referral to hospital. I had problems after second DC, though not as bad as you. I ended up having a pelvic floor repair (like a sling that lifts everything back up again ) I have never looked back since, although the assessment process was utterly humiliating I would do it again for quality of life!

werewolf Thu 06-May-10 22:22:01

I was told to stop drinking brown drinks. Apparently that helps.

SoMuchToBits Thu 06-May-10 22:26:27

I had a trans-obturator tape operation about a year and a bit ago - it is very quick (done as day surgery) and has been very successful.

You should ask your GP to be referred to the gynaecologist to be assessed for this.

purplepeony Fri 07-May-10 08:43:41

I had a repair after DC2 and when I tried running years later I didn't feel good. Didn't leak, but felt "saggy" so took myself off to gynae and physio- both of whom said running is bad for pelvic floor and not to do it.

BetaMummy Fri 07-May-10 14:49:29

Thanks for the replies. I was hoping someone would say they'd been in my situation and sorted themselves out but it seems like it's more serious than I thought. I'd better brace myself for an unpleasant trip to the doctors then...

SoMuchToBits Fri 07-May-10 20:30:38

BetaMummy - trip to doctors wasn't that unpleasant. The investigations I had done were slightly embarrassing, but not painful. Operation was fairly minor, a bit sore afterwards for a week or so, but the results were well worth it!

DeirdreB Fri 07-May-10 22:57:53

Thanks for posting - I've been lurking!! Shame there's no easy fix.....

DeirdreB Fri 07-May-10 22:59:14

PS: tena lady products more suitable.

purplepeony Sat 08-May-10 07:59:44

Don't be embarrassed over seeing the dr- this is a VERY common problem in women- something like 1:3, but many people don't own up to it.

You need the right advice whether that is to do PF exercises, or surgery or both.

cocolepew Sat 08-May-10 08:25:01

I agree with using tena lady or Boots own make. I had TVT repair too. I can sneeze without crossing my legs now grin

MamaMtundu Wed 12-May-10 20:27:57

I watch all threads on TVT with interest. I was booked in to have one about 2 years back now, and then panicked and backed out at the last minute. I scared myself sh**less by reading far too many scare stories of women (mainly in the USA) who had had problems with the tape migrating thru their tissue and cutting thru vaginal wall etc.

So, it is good to hear that women on here are having succussful proceedures and are happy with the results. Now my youngest is leaving the toddler phase I am again considering re-visiting the idea of TVT. I wish I wasn't such a wimp with all thing medical/intervention.

As well as referral to gynaecology/urology my GP also sent me off to physio. They can check you are doing PF exercises right and it is def worth giving this a go, but doesn't work for everyone, even if you have trained up to doing super duper off the scale power squeezes. (yes they can test that!!)

The physio did recommend a stress incontinence device to me that is inserted vaginally and supports the neck of the bladder thru the vaginal wall. Using this enables me to go for a jog without wearing pads or leaking. For that it is brilliant. But I don't really want to wear one everyday and would love to be able to cough or sneeze or dash after my kids in day to day life without leaking. Inco device is also not available on nhs, so as they are one-use only disposables it gets pricey. Called Contrelle Activgard, so might be worth trying so that you can still go for runs while you work out what to do next. hth

MamaMtundu Wed 12-May-10 20:47:48

Also, question for SoMuchToBits and cocolepew. do either of you run? if so how does it feel after TVT/TOT op? Do you feel any irritation/discomfort/awareness of the propelyne tape?

purplepeony you don't say what sort of repair you had? I'm just interested/wondering if your physio and gynae 's comments about not running were directly linked to that or directed at all mums? I know running is high impact for all sorts of things like pelvic floor/ hips/ knees .... but if you love it,(I do) it's a shame to have to stop

HinnyPet Wed 12-May-10 21:49:46

I had two huge babies, over 10lbs each so think I'm a bit "affected" by bladder weakness!

Well I've just been for bladder tests today so I can get TVT tape. Had previously had Physio which was okay, now I can go to gym a bit and not leak but I certainly can't run, sneeze or cough.

Tests were okay, you have to be cheerful when there's a tube up your wee-wee hole and a tube up your fanjo and when they pump you full of cold saline it does feel odd!! You then have to wee in a commode to check your volume's all computerised too.

Hope to get appt for TVT in August....

purplepeony Thu 13-May-10 14:44:02


I had an anterior and posterior repair- not TVT. it was mainly anterior for prolasped bladder and they also shortened the ligaments to my uterus to hitch it up a bit.

I was told by the physio and gynae that running puts a lot of strain on the pelvic floor, due to the "crash factor" as you land.

I was told that my pelvic floor was not strong anyway as I had had prolapse, so not to risk making anything worse.

I don't know why I had problems- I had done all my PF exercises before the birth but my DS arrived very quickly- first labour under 3 hrs start to finish, but it wasn't until after the birth of my DD 2 years later that things didn't feel right.

I suggest you make an appt with a physio with expertise in bladder/women's problems and see what they suggest.

MamaMtundu Mon 17-May-10 11:06:22

thanks for your reply purplepeony. it's def something that I'm going to have to look into again.

ladylush Mon 17-May-10 11:11:11

Started running 7 weeks ago and same thing happened to me the first couple of times but it is ok now so I think my bladder must be getting stronger. I go to the loo just before I start running - and I wear a pad just in case.

golfgirl79 Sat 05-Jun-10 13:03:21

MamaMtundu - SNAP! i am sure i read the same website (usa based) with all the horror stories... it completely steered me away from the idea of having surgery to fix my stress incontinence... those stories were horrific... but my physio and other people told me to stop reading things on the internet, lol....

my physio told me to read proper clinical trials etc, not what any tom, dick or harry can write on the internet... plus i suppose you always get people saying negative things, there most likely isn't going to be a website devoted to how so many women just loved their TVT operation, if you know what i mean...?

to the girls who have had tvt surgery... you have given me so much hope... i am only 30 years old and have 2 kids, youngest being nearly 5 months old... i have SEVERE stress incontinence which occurs every time i walk, stand up etc, my bladder just empties... i had a cystoscopy and it was revealed that my bladder neck was open, i am trying all the physio and am told i need to wait at least a year before considering surgery, to give my body a chance to recover and my pelvic floor to rehabilitate...

my questions for the girls who have had tvt surgery are:

how long did you wait after childbirth to have the sugery?
how old are you?
out of ten, what would you rate the surgery in curing your incontinence/giving your quality of life back?

i am worried about having the surgery because i am quite young, i have been warned the surgery might only last 5 years and then my symptoms could come back, and with each subsequent surgery the success diminishes... i am worried i am going to have used up all my treatment options, get to 40 years old and have no where to go... does that make sense? i am hoping that in the next 10 years they come up with a great cure/treatment... i have read a bit about stem cell treatment which has literally worked miracles.... i hope this sort of treatment is available soon...

any help you could give me would be so much appreciated, i don't know anyone and haven't found anyone online who has had the surgery before, so i am so excited to get some first hand feedback.... my uro-gynae has warned me it is not 100% and there is always the chance it won't work... he is a good surgeon but i suppose being realistic... i honestly don't know what i would do if it doesn't work... i can't imagine living life like this but i suppose people put up with much worse..

ps i am in australia by the way...

thanking you in advance for your help/advice

MigGril Sat 05-Jun-10 21:02:29

Hi BetaMummy,

I found I had this problem last year when I started running. didn't have problems at any other time just running, hence didn't realise I had a problem untill then.

Tripe to GP's and a refural to physio and things got a lot better just through the right excersies. So you may not need surgary at all.

Good luck

mamamia4 Sun 13-May-12 23:16:33

Dear All,

I have been researching this of late and thought I would share my findings but obviously you need to check everything out for yourself.

Me: 46yrs, 4 kids, slim, fit, healthy. Pelvic Floor ruined after birth no.1. I'm not talking a little dribble on coughing sneezing etc, more like wet to ankles on running with a buggy to cross the road -that was a shock four months postnatally! I wear a thin pad everyday and a thick pad if I go running.

I have had all the urodynamic investigations, embarrassing but not painful.
Gyne told me I need a TVT repair, exercises would help but I would never be able to go with out a Tena pad as I was beyond being dry! Exercised for England but she was right, for me, not that much difference. BTW physios do not recommend lifting heavy weights or running for those with weak pelvic floors. Cycling, yoga, pilates more suitable.

For some women it just does not get any better and typically we suffer in silence and put off dealing with the problem. I have lived with this for 11 years and only now that no.4 at school have I got around to sorting myself out. I was alarmed to hear recently that SOME mesh repairs are now banned in the USA as they have been causing problems. By chance I heard a fantastic programme on Woman's Hour (BBC R4) discussing this:

I went to see the Gyne who spoke on the show, he has completely reassured me. There is a great deal of confusion surrounding mesh repairs, not all mesh tapes are the same, the majority of the ones causing the problems should never have been used and the Johnson & Johnson TVT is the only one to have in his opinion. Yes if you research thoroughly you will find that J&J were involved in the scandal surrounding the 'bad' tapes, they bought out a company that originally produced the 'bad' tape and were then caught in the huge law suit when the scandal unfolded. That tape is no longer on the market.

One of the most important questions to ask your surgeon is how many of these procedures do they perform. As with everything in life the more you do something the better you get at it and the less mistakes you make. I wouldn't let at surgeon near me that wasn't VERY experienced with fitting TVT. FYI: This surgeon fits TVT as a day case, most patients walk out of hospital are sore for a few days, no exercise for 6 weeks, and make a full recovery. Yes, there are risks, as with all procedures, you have to look at these and make up your own mind. I'm booking my TVT asap. After years of feeling utterly depressed and hopeless, I wish I'd got on and done it years ago. I will keep you posted. Research, research, research, good luck.

ronny2 Fri 01-Jun-12 11:06:19

I hope I can bring good news and hope to all you sufferers. I had twins 4 years ago, natural delivery and since then have not been able to run, jump, cough, sneeze......without unpleasant consequences. Even walking quickly to catch a train or bus was out of the question.
I am now 48 hours out of surgery after a TOT operation. Took me 2 years to pluck up the courage after reading so many horror stories about TVT. Why did I waste so much time suffering I ask myself now. I am already back on my feet, albeit a little achy but I think that is more from how they secure your legs during surgery than the operation itself. Whilst I havn't got to the stage where I can test our running yet, I have sneezed and coughed with no leakage whatsover, so I am optimistic about the further freedom it may give me. I will keep you posted once I feel confident all has healed and I can try out jogging etc.
Don't keep suffering.


run4it Fri 01-Jun-12 20:46:59

I had the same problem, post kids. gritted my teeth and went to dr and got referral - hospital decided I needed physio rather than surgery. I have a tendancy to be constipated, so got put on movicol/laxido, which I take every day now (if you are constipated you are likely to have stress incontinence apparently - analogy was trying to close your fist around an iron bar...(nice)). I also was advised to get a pelvitoner - plastic device, looks like a speculum, which you practice squeezing to strengthen your muscles. the combination of the two worked fabulously for me.

ahastings Tue 07-May-13 20:11:45

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

digerd Wed 08-May-13 07:25:02

I had problems after the menopause and my bladder had prolapsed through the Cervix slightly. The op suggested was only 50/50 chance of success, so said No. Instead I was given tablets called Oxybutynin which worked immediately, but does give you a dry mouth and can stop you sweating.

justkeeponsmiling Wed 08-May-13 13:11:54

I have the same problem, only became aware of it when I started running - cringe!!!

I don't mind going to the GP but would prefer to try on my own first. I've decided to try the Aquaflex pelvic weights as they had really good reviews. They should arrive any day now so will let you know how I get on!

MamaMtundu are you talking about the Incostress? I nearly ordered that one but in the end decided it sounded too good to be true.
Does it work for you???

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