stress incontinence

What is stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is a type of bladder leakage or urinary incontinence that occurs with physical activity, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising.

This type of incontinence is often caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles, which are responsible for supporting the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) and preventing leaks.

Stress incontinence can affect men and women but is more common in women. 

does your bladder leak when you laugh?

what causes stress incontinence?

Stress incontinence can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Childbirth: Childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to stress incontinence.
  • Menopause: Menopause can cause a decrease in estrogen levels, which can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and lead to stress incontinence.
  • Obesity: Excess weight can put additional pressure on the bladder and weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to stress incontinence.
  • High impact exercise of weight lifting – while exercise and weight lifting are good for your over health and heart, it does increase the pressure and strain to the pelvic floor and can increase the risk of stress incontinence.

Treatment options include:

  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises: Also known as Kegel exercises, these exercises can help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to reduce stress incontinence. This can be done under the guidance of a pelvic floor physical therapist to better instruct you.
  • Incontinence pessary is a device made of plastic or silicone that is inserted into the vagina to provide support to the urethra to help reduce stress incontinence with activity.
  • Urethral Bulking with Bulkamid® is an injectable hydrogel filler, used for urethral bulking. Bulkamid® is injected into the tissue surrounding the urethra, The filler helps to provide support to the urethra, reducing stress incontinence. The procedure is quick and simple, can be done under local anesthesia only, and has very little down-time afterwards.
  • A mid-urethral sling is a surgical procedure used to treat stress incontinence. It is the gold-standard treatment for stress incontinence in vulva-owners. The procedure involves the placement of a supportive sling around the urethra to provide extra support. The sling can be made of synthetic mesh or your body’s own tissue. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Normal activity can occur the next day. Full activity including exercise and sexual activity have to be postponed for 6 weeks following surgery.

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