Stress Urinary Incontinence in Females
Urinary stress incontinence refers to the accidental or involuntary release of urine during an activity which causes pressure on the abdomen and bladder. Although it can occur at any age, there is a higher chance of developing urinary stress incontinence as you age, and especially for females, with increased numbers of pregnancies. As the most common type of urinary incontinence in women, this particular type of incontinence differs from other types in that it is caused by a physical stressor. Physical exertion or activities which could put pressure on the bladder, such as: laughing, coughing, sneezing, exercise, or lifting heavy objects could all cause urinary leakage.
As you age, when the pelvic muscles which support the bladder and control the release of urine become weak, urinary incontinence is typically experienced. Other factors which can contribute to incontinence are childbirth, as well as prior injury to the pelvic area and/or urethra. Certain drinks and foods can also exacerbate urinary leakage due to incontinence. Caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and spicy foods can all increase the urinary frequency and, in turn, lead to a greater risk of urinary leakage. Certain medical conditions and factors can also play a significant role in urinary incontinence. Factors such as prior urinary tract infections, diabetes, obesity, and certain medications can all worsen incontinence.
Although common amongst women, many women do not seek treatment for urinary stress incontinence. Perhaps due to embarrassment, many women do not seek treatment until their symptoms worsen. If you or someone you know is experiencing urinary stress incontinence, speak with your doctor today about possible causes and treatments. Diagnosing the cause is key in determining the right course of treatment. From medications, to exercises to surgery, there are many treatments available. Which one is right for you will depend on the extent of your symptoms and underlying cause. With an open and honest dialog with your doctor, you can both reach the appropriate treatment.