From Incontinence to In-Control
Do you leak with laugh, cough, sneeze, or exercise? Urine leakage with these activities is known as stress urinary incontinence. Approximately 18 million women in the U.S. have incontinence. Break free from urine leakage that occurs with activity and take control of your pelvic floor.
Urinary incontinence is a medical condition that has significant negative effects on quality of life and may cause social stigma, financial hardship, and associated medical problems. Affected individuals often delay seeking treatment due to shame and embarrassment.
Stress incontinence is urine leakage caused by physical activity that places “stress” on the bladder and sphincter muscle. Physical changes resulting from smoking, pregnancy, childbirth, weight gain, chronic constipation, chronic coughing, and menopause often cause stress incontinence.
Stress incontinence occurs during periods of increased intra-abdominal pressure. Typically, patients report involuntary urine loss during coughing, laughing, and sneezing. Incontinence worsens during high-impact sports activities such as golf, tennis, or aerobics. These types of physical activity cause the abdominal muscles to suddenly place pressure on the bladder or cause too much movement of the urethra within the body.
In all cases, the sphincter muscle (which prevents urine being expelled from the bladder) needs to be healthy and strong to handle the increased pressure placed upon it. The problem may also be exacerbated if there is a weakness or defect of the sphincter muscle known as intrinsic sphincter deficiency. Stress incontinence is common in women and, in most cases, can be treated. Often times stress incontinence is accompanied by other types of incontinence, so it is important to determine what types exist.
Patients Suffering from Stress Incontinenece May Experience
- Leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, or laughing
- Frequent trips to the bathroom in order to avoid accidents
- Reluctance to exercise to avoid accidents
- Leakage upon rising from a chair
- Sleeping through the night but leaking when getting out of bed in the morning
Patients with urinary incontinence should undergo a basic evaluation that includes a history, physical examination, and urinalysis. Also crucial is a combination of a patient’s voiding diary, cotton-swab test, cough stress test, measurement of postvoid residual (PVR) urine volume, urodynamic studies and Additional information from cystoscopy may be needed in selected patients.