By Dr B Radhika
Senior Consultant Gynecologist & Obstetrician,
Laparoscopic Surgeon, Infertility Specialist
MBBS, MD (Obstetrics & Gynaecology)
Published on: 25/06/2022


Home | Articles | Stress Incontinence: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Many people are afraid of laughing, coughing or lifting any heavy object, just because it can make them pee. Though, people hesistate to talk about this condition, it happens and is recognised as a medical condition that can be treated.

Urinating 4 to 10 times a day is considered healthy and we pee to get rid of excess water and waste. However, sudden uncontrolled urination during any activity or movement might be embarrassing, and this can be a sign of stress incontinence!

Urinary incontinence is the unintentional flow of urine whereas stress incontinence happens when any physical activity or movements, such as laughing, coughing, running, heavy lifting, or sneezing puts stress (pressure) on the bladder, causing urine leakage. It should be noted that stress incontinence is not related to psychological stress.

stress-incontinence-overview

Now the question is, what causes people to suffer from stress incontinence?

When the muscles that control urine release and the other tissues that support the urethra weaken, then stress incontinence occurs.

Usually, the valve-like muscles in the urethra, the short tube that transports urine out of the body, remains closed as the bladder swells, preventing urine leakage until people reach a bathroom. When those muscles weaken, anything that puts pressure on the pelvic and abdominal muscles, for example, sneezing, leaning over, lifting, or laughing hard might presses the bladder and cause urine leakage. A weak pelvic floor muscles can also be a contributing factor.

The pelvic floor muscles may weaken because of:

  • Childbirth: In women, nerve or tissue damage during childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles or sphincter, causing stress incontinence after delivery or years later.
  • Prostate surgery: In men, the surgical removal of the prostate gland to treat prostate cancer might weaken the sphincter and cause stress incontinence.

Other factors that may worsen stress incontinence are chronic coughing and obesity.

Now, can stress incontinence be cured?

Yes, stress incontinence can be cured with simple lifestyle changes and medical treatment. To treat incontinence, the health care provider may recommend a combination of treatments. If any underlying cause, such as a urinary tract infection, is found, patients will be treated for the condition as well.

Let’s know how stress incontinence is treated?

Some therapies may help to eliminate or reduce stress incontinence. The doctor may recommend the following therapies:

  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises: These exercises can help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter.
  • Fluid consumption: Carbonated, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages should be avoided because they may affect bladder function in some persons.
  • Bladder training: The healthcare provider might recommend a schedule for toileting if you have mixed incontinence. More frequent emptying of the bladder may reduce the severity of incontinence.

Can lifestyle changes help to deal with stress incontinence?

Yes, changing lifestyle can help to cure stress incontinence. Here are some healthy lifestyle practices that can ease symptoms of stress incontinence. These include:

  • Losing excess weight
  • Consume a healthy diet
  • Limit the intake of alcohol
  • Follow a fiber-rich diet plan
  • Reduce caffeine intake.

Follow the stated lifestyle changes for a complete cure of stress incontinence. These tips would help to also reduce other health complications.

Urogynecologists at Medicover Hospitals offer specialised care to female patients of all ages who have urinary tract disorders. Our experienced urologists also provide treatment for urinary or stress incontinence in men and women of all ages.

Don’t shy!
Choose the right treatment with us.

Reference link:

  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022534717426115
  • https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmcp0707023
  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/nau.20844
  • https://europepmc.org/article/med/1579319
  • https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMcp1914037