Stress Urinary Incontinence

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Reality Check: Do You Have Stress Urinary Incontinence?

I leak urine when I:

  • Cough
  • Sneeze
  • Laugh
  • Stand up
  • Get out of a car
  • Lift something heavy
  • Exercise
  • Have sex

If any of these apply, talk to a Healthcare Provider about Stress Urinary Incontinence. 

What are the symptoms of Stress Urinary Incontinence?

Stress Urinary Incontinence is the sudden, accidental loss of urine that occurs during normal, everyday activities. You may have SUI if you leak urine when you sneeze, cough or laugh, when you stand up, when you exercise, or when you lift items. SUI occurs when the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body, does not remain sealed until it is time to urinate.

What causes Stress Urinary Incontinence?

The most common cause of SUI is a weakening of muscles in the pelvic floor. When the pelvic floor is strong it supports the urethra, ensuring that it remains closed and in the correct position until it is time to urinate. When the muscles in the pelvic floor are weakened, there is insufficient support for the urethra. As a result, any increased pressure to the bladder, such as coughing, may cause the urethra to lose its seal and allow urine to escape. A weakened pelvic floor may be caused by:

  • Childbirth
  • Estrogen deficiency
  • Obesity
  • High-impact exercise
  • Chronic heavy lifting/straining
  • Surgery of the pelvic area

SUI may also be caused by deficient sphincter muscles in the urethra, which allows the urethra to open before you are ready to urinate.

How common is Stress Urinary Incontinence?

SUI is the most common type of urinary incontinence for women, accounting for up to 60% of diagnoses. Approximately 50% of all women have occasional urinary incontinence, and up to 10% have frequent incontinence.

How is Stress Urinary Incontinence treated?

A variety of treatments are available including pelvic muscle strengthening, medications and “sling” procedures. Bulking agents such as Macroplastique for Stress Urinary Incontinence provide a less-invasive alternative to surgery.

1. Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia

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