Urinary Incontinence Is No Laughing Matter
By: Natalie Padveen, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
Do you sometimes leak when you laugh? If so, you are one of millions of adult women who suffer from stress urinary incontinence.
What is stress urinary incontinence?
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is a condition that causes urine to leak when coughing, laughing or sneezing. Leaks also can happen when walking, running or exercising, even lifting a heavy object.
What causes stress urinary incontinence?
Urinary incontinence is most often caused by pelvic floor disorders. Pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) are caused by weakening of the muscles or tissues of the pelvic floor and include urinary incontinence, among other symptoms. It happens whenever there is an increase in intra-abdominal pressure and the pelvic floor muscles are unable to withstand the force applied on them. Constipation is also a common cause.
Is there a cure for stress urinary incontinence?
See your gynecologist or other health care professional. They can evaluate you and recommend non-surgical treatments for stress urinary incontinence, which includes pelvic floor and core strengthening exercises, such as Pelacore and Kegel exercises. Studies have shown that core strengthening, in combination with pelvic floor strengthening, is the ideal way to strengthen the pelvic floor and reduce the incidence of stress incontinence – and sometimes even eliminate it completely.
Is there anything else I can do to prevent stress urinary incontinence and/or reduce leakage?
Maintaining a proper body weight is essential for all women, especially those with stress urinary incontinence. Even losing a small amount of excess weight may decrease urine leakage.
I don’t like to exercise. What medications are available to help treat urinary incontinence?
Unfortunately, there is no medication for this type of incontinence. There is another form of incontinence called “overactive bladder,” which can be treated with medication. Your physician can help diagnose your condition.
Are pelvic floor disorders dangerous?
Pelvic floor disorders are generally not dangerous, but they can be quite annoying.
Is there a surgical procedure to treat urinary incontinence?
Here are some of the different types of surgical procedures that can be used to treat urinary incontinence.
Slings. Slings can be made from your own tissue, or they are made from synthetic materials. These slings can be used to lift or provide support for the urethra. The synthetic midurethral sling is the most common type of sling used to correct SUI. This sling is a narrow strap made of synthetic mesh that is placed under the urethra.
Colposuspension. In colposuspension, stitches are placed on either the side of the bladder neck and attached to nearby supporting structures to lift the urethra and hold it in place.
If surgery is not an option for you or has not worked for your SUI, urethral bulking may help. In urethral bulking, a synthetic substance is injected into the tissues around the urethra. The substance acts to “plump up” and narrow the opening of the urethra, which may decrease leakage.
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