a sight often seen by people suffering from stress incontinence

What is Stress Incontinence?

Stress incontinence is a condition in which the bladder accidentally releases urine during a volatile event. You could suddenly sneeze or just jump over an obstacle to trigger it. For people with moderate to severe stress incontinence, the condition may be serious enough to wear adult diapers or seek medical attention. However, most cases of this condition tend to be minimally disruptive to everyday life.


Your bladder is supported by the pelvic floor muscles. When they weaken, the bladder is more prone to leakage into the urethra. To make matters worse, the urethra's sphincter could be weak as well. When a stressful event occurs, including coughing, sneezing or simply bending over, urine leaks out. More women than men see this issue, especially after childbirth. The lower abdomen goes through a great deal of stress during childbirth, weakening muscles and sphincters and consequently causing incontinence. Other stress incontinence causes include repetitive high-impact exercises, obesity, smoking, and other ailments causing chronic sneezing or coughing.


There are no other symptoms of stress incontinence except for urine leakage. It's often difficult to know when it will occur because it's not consistent. You may feel a slight relaxation in the urethra sphincter, allowing some urine to flow out. The immediate reaction is to contract the sphincter muscle. Although this reaction works for some people, other sufferers could have nerve damage that prevents a quick muscle reaction. 


Although stress incontinence is unavoidable for some people, there are coping mechanisms to employ. Maintaining a healthy weight is the best way to ward off possible urine problems, because your body doesn't have to support the extra weight on the pelvic floor muscles. You should also work those pelvic floor muscles out with a method known as Kegel exercises. To find these muscles, try to urinate and stop the flow midstream next time you visit the bathroom. With these muscles in mind, clench them for a few seconds and relax them again. Clench and relax several more times. This action is similar to working out the bicep or arm muscles. Contraction and expansion strengthens the pelvic floor muscles to stop some stress incontinence from becoming a regular occurrence.


For people with severe stress incontinence, surgery may be the only option. Doctors use several strategies to combat this issue. Installing an artificial sphincter is possible, or doctors could add a support to the urethra that's known as a sling. Most other treatment options are planned daily activities. You may need to schedule your drinking habits and bathroom times. Although these actions may impede daily activities, schedules can help sufferers avoid urination problems. By adding Kegel exercises and a healthy diet to viable treatment options, you have a strong defense against incontinence.

Last Updated: January 09, 2015