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Stress Urinary Incontinence

You’ve heard this statement before, “I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee”.  Unfortunately, there is some truth to this statement. Men and woman, although mostly women, experience Stress Urinary Incontinence-which is when your bladder leaks urine unexpectedly during a physical activity. There are several causes for this issue and the good news is that it can safely be addressed and possibly cured.

 

How Do You Know if You Have Stress Urinary Incontinence?

If you experience urine loss while laughing, coughing, running, during sexual activities, exercising or lifting heavy objects, on a regular basis, then you might have Stress Urinary Incontinence.

 

How Does Leaking Happen?

Stress Urinary IncontinenceOur bladders can hold well over two cups of urine. Keeping control of your urine flow is a job managed by your sphincter and detrusor muscles. The detrusor muscle is the muscle of the bladder wall, which needs to stay relaxed so that the bladder can expand appropriately.  The sphincter is the muscle that surrounds your urethra and squeezes it to keep urine from leaking out.

During stress urinary incontinence, the sphincter pelvic muscles become weak and don’t do their job well. The sphincter fails at stopping the urine flow when pressure is placed on your abdomen through physical activity.

 

Causes for Stress Urinary Incontinence

The most common cause in women is childbirth followed by injury to the urethra area, surgeries in the pelvic area or prostate issues for men. Medications, older age, smoking, hormone imbalance and obesity can also cause Stress Urinary Incontinence.

 

When to See Your Physician

Dr Elist's AdviceIf find yourself distressed during your day-to-day activities due to unexpected urine loss, then it is time to schedule an appointment with your physician. Some patients experience skin irritation due to skin being in direct contact with urine. Your physician might ask you to describe how often you are experiencing leaking, what are you doing when you leak, do you leak a few drops of urine or do you soak your clothing? Your doctor might also inquire about bowel leakage, your fluid intake and is your lifestyle being restricted by unexpected leaking.

 

Tests and Treatments for Stress Urinary Incontinence

Before your physician can diagnose you with Stress Urinary Incontinence, He/she might review your medical history, do a urinary stress test (have you cough to see what occurs), perform a physical exam of either the genital (men) or pelvic area (women).  Your doctor may also require a urinate sample to test for infection or other abnormalities

A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that women with Stress Urinary Incontinence, experienced a higher rate of success after one year of having midurethral sling surgery performed. Researchers compared midurethral-sling surgery versus physiotherapy using pelvic-floor muscle training such as Kegel exercises. This surgery is the most popular. Only your physician can make the best treatment suggestion based on your health history and needs. Your doctor might suggest the use of special devices, such as a vaginal pessary or urethral insert.

Your physician may explore behavior therapies, such as Kegel exercises, controlling your fluids or planning your bathroom trips.  He or she may discuss lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, quitting smoking or avoiding beverages that cause you to urinate often.

 

Living With Stress Urinary Incontinence

Does not have to be isolating.  Stay connected with family and friend and seek support if you do feel depression setting in. Be prepared! Stock up on supplies and carry incontinence pads and protective (and extra) undergarments in your car. Take care of your skin and exposure to wet skin–change clothing often when needed and consider using a barrier cream. Research your destinations and choose seating closer to bathrooms. Lastly, speak to physician if you are feeling stress, dramatic lifestyle changes or emotional impact regarding Stress Urinary Incontinence.