Women's Health Matters

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How do I find a health-care provider in my area who has experience treating incontinence?
The Canadian Continence Foundation maintains a list of specialists (including nurse continence advisors, physiotherapists, urogynecologists and urologists) across Canada. Click here for information about treatment in your area, or for more information about incontinence, use their e-mail help service.

Will I become incontinent after a hysterectomy?
Not necessarily, but a hysterectomy can increase your risk of developing urinary incontinence.

Some women who have vaginal hysterectomies for uterine prolapse will develop stress urinary incontinence. This usually occurs because the prolapse masks the presence of stress incontinence, which tends to be revealed after the hysterectomy. Preoperative investigation may prevent this. Another problem is that the factors that caused the uterus to fall, such as weak pelvic floor muscles, can also contribute to stress incontinence.

Researchers have found that five percent of women who undergo a radical hysterectomy (removal of uterus, upper vagina and part of the bladder) will develop urinary incontinence as a result of overflow. This is thought to be a result of damage to nerves and scar tissue after surgery.

One way to reduce your risk of becoming incontinent is to practise Kegel exercises before and after your surgery, to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor muscles.

Can I change my diet to help my urinary incontinence?
Many people with urinary incontinence find that certain foods and beverages aggravate their incontinence. Avoiding foods and drinks that irritate your bladder may reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Foods that can irritate your bladder include: caffeinated beverages (like coffee and tea), alcoholic beverages, milk and milk products, acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, spicy foods, chocolate, sugar and artificial sweeteners.


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  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital