Stress Incontinence


Stress incontinence is one of the more commonly experienced conditions reported today. Urine escapes involuntarily when pressure is applied to the abdomen by some common actions such as sneezing, laughing, and coughing or even running and jumping. Stress incontinence can be very embarrassing and it is believed that a significant percentage of the population suffers from it, but can only be corrected if the disorder is reported to your physician.


What happens is that the kidneys collect liquid from our sweat glands, the eight glasses of water we should be drinking every day, and the other beverages we consume on a daily basis. Think of the kidney as a tap with a faulty washer that drips slowly but consistently sending a continuous stream of urine to the bladder. The bladder collects this urine and stores it until it has reached its capacity with the help of the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles help hold the urine in the bladder until it fills up like a water balloon and once it reaches close to the limit that it can store, you are alerted to visit the restroom to relieve the pressure that is built up. Your brain will then send the relevant signals to instruct your pelvic floor muscles to relax and contract the muscles surrounding the bladder to squeeze the urine out through the urethra. Once the pressure in the bladder has been released, the muscles return to their original state to repeat the cycle again.

Stress incontinence occurs when the tension held together by the muscles around the bladder and the pubococcygeus muscles (PC muscles) lose their rigidity while laughing, coughing or sneezing. This causes the urine to be released at a time when you are unprepared. This event happens at random times and without warning or notification and as a result can be damaging to a person’s image, if not corrected. The factors that contribute to this condition include the miracle of childbirth, obesity, embarking on the golden years and misuse of drugs that cause involuntary actions such as coughing.

Stress incontinence can be corrected by a number of options. However, subject to your gynecologist’s evaluation, a recommendation could be made to use kegel exercises to correct the weak pelvic floor muscles affected by Stress incontinence. If obesity is the issue, then a strict regimen of exercise along with a structured plan of kegel exercises could be prescribed to correct the problem. In more extreme circumstances, where prior recommendations have been tried, your physician may recommend surgery or medication to help correct the problem. The numbers of surgical procedures available for stress incontinence are many and depending on your particular circumstance, your physician will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each with you.

Both men and women suffer from stress incontinence but it more cases are reported by women. Men show signs of this disorder usually as they get older or have had a surgical procedure for their prostate such as prostatectomy or radiotherapy.

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