Hello, my name is Gregory. When I was a young lad, I had to enter the health care world in an unexpected way. I developed a serious disease out of the blue that took doctors by surprise. I went through so many different testing procedures before my doctors could diagnose the rare disease. Everyone around me reeled as they tried to understand the purpose and process of the diagnostic tests. I hope to help others understand these important tests better through this website. Please come by often to learn all you need to know about medical diagnostics and working closely with health care professionals.
Once reserved only for the most complicated birth, cesarean sections (or c-sections) are now becoming much more commonplace, with nearly one in three new mothers undergoing this procedure. While a c-section can provide some advantages over vaginal birth in certain situations, it can also pose some complications you may not have expected -- after all, moving (and sometimes even briefly removing) some of your digestive and reproductive organs is often necessary in order for the obstetrician to access your uterus, and these organs don't always go back quietly. Read on to learn more about some of the urological and digestive issues that may be plaguing you after your c-section, as well as some steps you can take to promote quicker healing.
Inability to urinate
Although many new moms have come to expect a bit of minor incontinence as their pelvic muscles reconnect and the pelvic floor strengthens, some find themselves dealing with the opposite problem -- an inability to urinate without assistance. This can sometimes be simply due to the shock of having your bladder poked and prodded at from the inside, or in other cases you may have suffered temporary damage to the nerves and muscles that control your urine flow.
If, despite your most valiant efforts, you aren't able to pass urine on your own after your catheter is removed and your epidural wears off, you may need to be recatheterized temporarily to give your bladder time to heal. Your doctor will be able to examine you to ensure there aren't any other physical impediments to urination (like a piece of tissue caught in your urethra or a blood clot blocking the entrance to your bladder) before making the recommendation to re-insert a catheter.
In most cases, you'll be able to change your catheter yourself (or with some help from a spouse or partner), so needing urinary help a bit longer than some other new moms shouldn't require you to stay in the hospital -- instead, you'll be able to recover and recuperate in the privacy of your own home using urological supplies. Your health insurance plan will often cover the cost of disposable catheters for at-home use for a period of time after your c-section.
Inability to pass gas or have a bowel movement
After you've had a c-section, you may be instructed that you need to pass gas before you're permitted to eat -- this ensures that your digestive system is still operating well at both ends. Unfortunately, the amount of gas introduced into your abdominal cavity during any type of surgery combined with the rush of hormones that can often cause your bowels to seal shut for a few days can lead to a perfect storm of digestive troubles. Compounding these issues is the fact that many of the typical methods to relieve gas pain and pressure (like bicycling your legs or drawing them up to your chest) are all but impossible while you're dealing with a painful pelvic incision.
Fortunately, in many cases, these issues can be resolved with a brief regimen of over-the-counter stool softeners and gas relievers. The active ingredient in gas relief medication helps break down large gas bubbles into smaller ones that are more easily passed through the intestines, providing you with relief within just a few hours of your first dose. And although you may already be dreading your first post-c-section bowel movement, stool softeners (not laxatives) can make the process as quick and pain-free as possible.
Often, it's best to proactively begin taking stool softeners and gas relief medication as soon as you begin noticing any digestive disturbances -- the quicker these medications begin working in your system, the less likely you are to wind up with severe stomach distention from excess gas or backed-up waste. And because many new moms are prescribed opiate-based painkillers (which tend to cause constipation) during c-section recovery, treating any potential constipation before it begins in earnest can speed your recovery even further.