Middle aged man and woman laughing over stress incontinence, perhaps?

HEAL

Don't suffer in silence with urinary incontinence

  • Stress urinary incontinence affects 1 in 3 women over the age of 45.
  • Causes of stress incontinence include pregnancy and childbirth, chronic constipation, aging, smoking, obesity and chronic coughing. Genetics may also increase your risk.

“I laughed so hard, tears ran down my legs.”

This humorous saying really isn’t funny. A normal part of getting older does not automatically include leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, run, jump, bend and lift. Stress urinary incontinence, while common, is not normal. It occurs when pressure inside your belly increases and your urethra (the tube you pee out of) can’t squeeze hard enough to stop urine from leaking.

Stress incontinence can keep you from doing the things you want to do like exercising, playing with your kids or grandkids, or avoiding social situations because you fear you’ll end up wetting your pants. Avoiding things you want to do because you’re afraid of peeing your pants is a terrible way to live. The good news is you don’t have to “just live with it.”

Several treatment options are available for stress urinary incontinence

Treatment for stress urinary incontinence depends on your individual goals and physical needs. Conservative treatment options can include:

  • losing weight
  • quitting smoking
  • treating constipation
  • doing pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises
  • being treated with physical therapy.

If these treatment options don’t work or you’re looking for more aggressive treatment for stress incontinence, I may recommend a:

  • vaginal insert or pessary – a soft, flexible device is placed in your vagina to prevent leaking urine by providing resistance for the urethra tube when you are active, cough, laugh, sneeze, etc.
  • urethral bulking – injections into your urethra tube that help provide more resistance to prevent leaking.
  • midurethral slings – is a same day, minimally invasive surgery that places a small strip of polypropylene mesh under the urethra tube to prevent leaking urine with activities (This mesh is not the same transvaginal mesh which was recently not approved by the FDA and was pulled off the market).
  • fascial sling – in this surgery, a strip of tissue is taken from your stomach and acts as a sling or hammock around your bladder neck and urethra.
  • Burch procedure – this surgery may help you if your bladder or urethra has fallen out of its normal position. Sutures suspend the neck of your bladder from nearby ligaments.

There’s no need to suffer in silence. If stress incontinence is putting a crimp in your quality of life, keeping you from doing what you want to do, there is medical help available.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Share this article

MORE LIKE THIS

Girls’ night in

Continue reading

EMPOWER YOURSELF


Get fun, inspiring, provider-reviewed articles sent to your inbox.

Sign up for our email newsletter