Women who deliver children through natural childbirth are far more likely to experience urinary incontinence later in life than those who have a cesarean section, according to new research by Swedish scientists.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, was based on an analysis of more than 6,100 women who gave birth between 1985 and 1988.
In tracking the health of the women in 2008, researchers found urinary incontinence was considerably higher among those who had a vaginal delivery (40.3 percent) than those who delivered by C-section (28.8 percent).
In addition, the study also women who had vaginal deliveries were three times as likely to have incontinence for more than a decade and obese women in both groups were more prone to urinary problems.
"In conclusion, the risk of developing urinary incontinence was higher 20 years after a vaginal delivery compared to a cesarean section,” said Maria Gyhagen, a co-author of the study. "There are many factors affecting urinary incontinence but obesity and aging as well as obstetric trauma during childbirth are known to be three of the most important risk factors."
Incontinence is a common condition affecting adult women of all ages and can have a negative influence on quality of life.