Caregiving During a Pandemic: Can COVID-19 Spread Through Urine?

We are at a point in the coronavirus pandemic where every American has been impacted in some way. With no clear end in sight, it is important that everyone looks at their circumstances and protects themselves and their families as best as they can. Personally Delivered works to provide caregivers all the products they need to offer the best care possible. It is vital that during the coronavirus pandemic caregivers take extra precautions as they are at a higher risk of infection than most people. There is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 because they need to come in close contact with the person they care for. Many caregivers are also curious if their risk level is higher due to contact they may have with the bodily secretions of the person they care for.

Be Prepared to Protect Yourself and Others

If you or someone you love is taking care of someone with fecal or urinary incontinence, it’s important to understand the steps to protect the caregiver and the person they are providing care for during these uncertain times. With new data coming out at a rapid rate, medical experts agree that the highest likelihood of COVID-19 transmission remains through airborne droplets via coughing, sneezing, or breathing. Most experts agree that transmission risk is low through urine or the stool but it is still something that should be avoided. In addition to the purchase of typical incontinence supplies, it is important to be stocked up with disposable gloves, which can be changed after each contact with a vulnerable person.

Pay Attention to Mental Health

In addition to caring for the physical needs of a person with incontinence during the pandemic, it’s vital that caregivers pay close attention to the mental health of a vulnerable person. A person who knows they are at a higher risk is more likely to experience anxiety and fear throughout the pandemic. The best thing a person can do is keep the lines of communication open and ensure that the person always has all the incontinence supplies they should need readily available.

Watch Stress Levels Associated With Incontinence

Additional stress can lead to more severe issues with incontinence. Many people with overactive bladder syndrome also suffer from some form of anxiety. It is pivotal that caregivers take the mental health of the person they care for as seriously as the physical. Ultimately, the most important thing a caregiver can do for the person they care for is to ensure that they are taking every precaution to avoid infection in their own lives. Once a person takes care of themselves, they can work on providing the best care possible to others.

If you are a caregiver and have any questions related to the incontinence supplies we offer to help protect you and the person you are providing care for during these uncertain times, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to help.

We care about you, your safety, and your health during this questionable and concerning time. That is why we make it easy for you to shop online with us and avoid the stores. Make sure you check out our Automatic Delivery Program and never worry about running out of your home delivery medical supplies again!

The Connection Between C-Sections and Urinary Incontinence

Finding out you’re pregnant can be a time that is full of excitement and joy! However, sometimes there may be some topics of concern that may come up along your journey. You might have a pre-existing health condition or a problem arises and your doctor may feel that having a traditional vaginal birth may be too risky. Some serious thoughts and conversations might lie ahead and the topic of delivering your child via c-section could be the safest choice.

What is a C-Section and When is it Needed?

What is a c-section?

Cesarean birth, which is often referred to as a c-section, is a surgical procedure performed by a doctor to deliver a newborn through an incision that is made in the abdomen and uterus. It may be a safer option rather than vaginal birth if the goal is to protect the newborn’s health or if the mother has a medical condition that can affect the pregnancy. A c-section can be either scheduled to coincide with the planned due date or it can be an emergency if the mother or baby’s health is in immediate danger.

What are some medical reasons a c-section may be needed?

A c-section may be the best course of action to take due to potential complications that can make vaginal birth unsafe for the mother and/or her baby. A c-section can be necessary for any of the following reasons:

  • The baby is too large for a vaginal birth. A very large baby sometimes simply cannot fit through the vaginal opening without causing significant damage.
  • The baby is either sideways or breech (feet first instead of head first) in the womb. The position of the baby in this way can be dangerous as there is a risk that oxygen supply through the umbilical cord could be cut off if the baby gets stuck during delivery.
  • The mother has a medical condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes. High blood pressure can be risky during pregnancy due to the stress that is put on the heart. When there is a high amount of sugar in the blood, as with diabetes, nerves and blood vessels can be damaged. Both of these medical conditions can make a c-section more favorable for the safety of the mother and her baby.
  • If the mother has had a previous c-section, she is at a greater risk for complications during childbirth. There can be scar tissue buildup after each c-section making another incision more difficult and risk damage to the bladder or bowel.
  • The mother might have an infection that could potentially be passed on to the baby during vaginal birth. As a safety precaution, a c-section would be a better choice in this case.
  • When there are multiple babies in the womb, a c-section is a wise decision so that no harm is done to either the babies or the mother.

Can a C-Section Cause Incontinence?

Childbirth in itself causes strain and tears on a woman’s body. The uterus starts getting heavier as the infant grows and the surrounding structures begin to stretch and weaken. Some women think that having a c-section will prevent them from side effects of vaginal birth like urinary incontinence or fecal incontinence. However, studies have shown that having a c-section doesn’t protect women from suffering from urinary or fecal incontinence.

After the abdominal incision is made during a c-section, scar tissue is formed from collagen during the healing process. The collagen fibers of this scar tissue can extend deep into the layers below the skin and create bladder problems. Urinary incontinence can result when this scar tissue attaches to the wall of the bladder. After a woman gives birth, things begin to reduce back down in size, this scar tissue pulls on the bladder making her feel as though she needs to urinate more urgently (urge incontinence) or more often (overactive bladder).

How Long Does Urinary Incontinence from a C-Section Last?

Urinary incontinence from a c-section can take up to six months, or even longer for some women, to get their bladder functioning like normal again. There are several things that a woman can do to help the process along and get it back faster. In the interim, considering the use of incontinence products such as pads, liners, and protective underwear can help women get through the more difficult times.

How You Can Improve Urinary Incontinence Symptoms from a C-Section

Some of the ways a woman can treat urinary incontinence from a c-section to help her bladder get back to its normal function are:

Kegel Exercises

Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles after delivery is an important part of regaining bladder control. The stronger and more elastic these muscles are, the less stress or urge incontinence is experienced. Starting kegel exercises right after childbirth can greatly reduce urinary incontinence symptoms and get you on the path for normal bladder function sooner rather than later.

A Pessary Ring

A pessary ring is a small, soft, silicone vaginal ring that is inserted into the vagina. Women who can benefit from a pessary ring are those that have urinary incontinence that seems to be persistent. The pessary ring is placed inside the vagina to act as a “speed bump” for the urethra and left there throughout the day. Some women prefer to use a pessary ring only when they engage in activities, while others put it in place in the morning and remove it in the evening.

Electrical Stimulation Therapy

By sending mild electrical currents to the muscles in the pelvic floor that are involved in urination, these muscles then contract. By repeating this electrical stimulation pulse, the pelvic floor muscles begin to strengthen, producing a similar effect to what kegel exercises do. A doctor can perform this therapy or the patient can be given a unit to use in the privacy of their own home to help relive their urinary incontinence symptoms.

Sling Surgery

One of the most common surgeries for urinary incontinence is sling surgery. In this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon inserts a U- shaped, mesh sling that permanently lifts and supports the urethra like a hammock. This procedure is quick and important to note that it is also permanent, so women that choose this option should not consider any more pregnancies.

Lifestyle Changes

There are many lifestyle changes that can also help women with urinary incontinence to regain bladder control. Many of these might be good to try before choosing some of the more permanent options.

  • Remain at a healthy weight. Carrying around extra pounds can put pressure on the bladder and lead to urinary incontinence.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods tend to aggravate the bladder causing it to contract more often, making urine harder to control.
  • Stay hydrated. Try to drink the recommended 8 ounces of water each day. Avoiding water as a way to control the number of times you need to use the restroom can result in a urinary tract infection or dehydration. Both are not good for a healthy bladder.
  • Stop smoking. Nicotine causes bladder muscles to spasm and women who smoke also often have a chronic cough. Frequent coughing episodes lead to urinary incontinence because of the pressure continuously put on the bladder.
  • Pads, liners, and other incontinence products can help absorb leaks and help with urinary incontinence. There are so many options available to women that are concerned about discreetness and living a dignified lifestyle.

As you can see, there is a connection between c-sections and urinary incontinence but you don’t have to let your bladder control your life. There are many options available to treat urinary incontinence even if you feel that you have exhausted all other avenues.

For questions about any of the incontinence products we carry to help with urinary or fecal incontinence, give us a call. One of our Personally Delivered Product Experts is happy to help.