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Urinary Incontinence Is No Laughing Matter

December 10, 2019

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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