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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes swollen urethra after childbirth?

Answered by
Dr. Jacqueline Brown


Practicing since :1996

Answered : 1425 Questions

Posted on Thu, 29 Oct 2015 in Women's Health
Question: I gave birth to my first child 6 weeks ago. I noticed
today when I looked at my vagina for the first time with a mirror that my urethra is swollen. Everything else looks pretty much the same. I've noticed if my underwear rubs it at all it's a tad uncomfortable, but nothing major. No other symptoms. I urinate fine with no burning, no weird discharge or odor, just swollen. No incontinence. Is that normal with child birth and does it go away?
Answered by Dr. Jacqueline Brown 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
The size and shape of your perineum can change after childbirth

Detailed Answer:
Hello, and I hope I can help you today.

Your vulva and vagina swell even before delivery because of hormonal changes, and if you delivered vaginally, it takes a minimum of 6 weeks for the swelling to go down, especially if you had any sutures.

So most of the basic healing takes place by 6 weeks, but you may not feel completely back to normal especially if you breastfeed. The hormones of lactation make your vagina dry and it can feel irritated.

As long as you have no problems with incontinence, I would wait until 3 months after delivery to reassess yourself and I am sure the area will have resumed a normal appearance by then. Applying petroleum jelly to the area to lubricate it will help decrease irritation.

I hope I was able to answer your question today and that my advice was helpful.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need anything further

And best wishes with your new baby,

Dr. Brown
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D
Follow up: Dr. Jacqueline Brown 17 minutes later
They did use a catheter to drain my urine multiple times as I had an epidural and was in labor for almost 30 hours. I'm sure that could be the cause as well?
Answered by Dr. Jacqueline Brown 12 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Yes certainly both can be a factor

Detailed Answer:
Hello again,

Well certainly after a labor like that it is understandable that it might take a bit of extra time for your perineum to recover. The swelling of your urethra was not caused by the catheterization, but your urethra was swollen from the pressure of the head so you couldn't void (even with the epidural) which is why you needed to be catheterized in the first place.

Fortunately you do not have any problems with continence, so I am
sure the area is healing well. I'm sure things will look closer to normal in another month or two, and what you are experiencing is especially common in women having their first delivery and a long labor.

I hope this information was reassuring and that my answer was helpful.

Best wishes again,
Dr. Brown

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Yogesh D

The User accepted the expert's answer

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