Stress Incontinence: The Causes and What You Can Do for Treatment
Having accidental leaks when you sneeze, cough or laugh is referred to as stress incontinence. Although this condition is more common for women to have, there are also men who suffer from it. Based on statistics, there is one in a group of three women who develop this kind of incontinence. It happens at any age but women in the ages of 35 to 60 have a bigger risk for having stress incontinence. When you’re suffering from this condition, you need to get more information about it so that you can find the appropriate treatment quickly.
The Way a Normal Urinary System Works
The urinary system is made up of a myriad of organs namely, the kidneys, the bladder, the urethra and the sphincter. The kidney works with producing urine and this is collected in the bladder. Through certain nerves and contractions, a person will feel the urge to void when the bladder is full and the sphincter opens up to release urine.
If you have stress incontinence, it’s most usually sphincter that malfunctions. Any kind of pressure on the abdomen leads to the sphincter being opened and then you urine leakage happens. If this happens all too frequently for you, you have stress incontinence.
When Stress Incontinence Manifests Itself
- Sneezing, coughing, laughing
- Lifting and bending where you put pressure on your bladder
- Jumping exercises
*For the more severe cases, simple tasks like walking, standing up from a chair and getting out of bed can cause urine leakage.
*For women, stress incontinence get worse in the week before your menstrual period. This happens because of hormones being released by your body affecting pelvic floor muscles. (These are the muscles that support urinary system organs like the urethra and the bladder.)
Things that Weaken the Pelvic Floor Muscles
- Obesity. Dealing with excess fat, you’ll have a lot of pressure on your abdomen. Pressure on the abdomen translates into pressure for your pelvic floor. It’s easier the sphincter to open up in unlikely times, thus stress incontinence.
- Pregnancy. The same way that there’s extra pressure on the pelvic floor with excess fat, carrying a child can stress the pelvic floor. Besides this, the relaxing hormone is also released which works to soften the pelvic floor muscles in preparation for child birth. Statistically, 50% of pregnant women suffer from stress incontinence.
- Childbirth. When the child is already delivered through vaginal delivery, the nerves that are attached to the pelvic floor get bruised and stretched. This means they wouldn’t respond as well and that leads to urinary incontinence.
- Hysterectomy. In this surgical procedure where the uterus is removed, damage can occur with the pelvic floor leading to stress incontinence.
- Menopause. After menopause, a woman has lower levels of estrogen. This affects the pelvic muscles in that pressure the muscles exert on the urethra will be weaker. Leaks and stress incontinence become more frequent. It can also be a problem with the urethra wherein it’s less elastic and wouldn’t close completely.
- Smoking. If you’re a smoker and have been for a pretty long time now, you might be suffering from chronic cough. If you cough too much, you’ll be putting unnecessary pressure on the pelvic floor which makes stress incontinence possible.
- Medication. There are a handful of drugs that affect the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. If you take medications for high blood pressure or take antidepressants, these all affect your pelvic muscles for being looser where you can have problems with stress incontinence.
The Treatments for Stress Incontinence
Management for problems with urinary incontinence consists of non drug methods like making a simple lifestyle change. If you’re a smoker, quitting smoking will help in stopping urine leakage. You can also do pelvic floor exercises for regaining strength for your muscles. As for medicines, drugs like duloxetine hydrochloride has been found to reduce frequency for urine leakage in women. If these methods don’t work for you, your family practitioner can recommend surgical procedures like collagen injections, bladder neck suspension, tension free vaginal tape or artificial urinary sphincter implants.
For whatever caused your stress incontinence, you can find relief in the treatment methods mentioned above.