Stress urinary incontinence: A common problem you don’t have to live with

“Don’t make me laugh!”

“Aaa-choo! “Excuse me for a moment.”

“Jogging? Not really my thing.”

Does this sound familiar? If you find yourself always on edge in fear of laughing, coughing, jumping or sneezing because it will cause urinary leakage, you are far from alone. This type of urinary issue, which is called stress urinary incontinence, is not at all uncommon, especially among women who have given birth and women who have gone through or are going through menopause. Still, knowing you are in good company with a big crowd of women doesn’t make dealing with stress urinary incontinence any easier or less embarrassing. Fortunately, there are treatment options and tips that can help you fight back and learn to laugh again.

What causes stress urinary incontinence?

Stress urinary incontinence occurs when any physical movement puts added pressure on the bladder. This type of urinary incontinence most commonly happens during coughing, laughing, sneezing or during physical exertion of some kind such as running, lifting a child or regular exercise. If the bladder is not adequately supported by other structures in each of these situations, the pressure can overcome your pelvic floor’s ability to control urination and you will experience urinary leakage or even involuntary urination.

The muscles, ligaments and tissues that support pelvic organs like the bladder and the urethra require a certain amount of tension and strength to hold everything in place so systems can function correctly. When that support system is weakened, the bladder is more vulnerable to pressure from the abdominal and pelvic muscles. When those muscles contract, systems shift, putting pressure on the bladder and causing stress urinary incontinence.

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Who is at risk for stress urinary incontinence?

Many life events and physical conditions can contribute to the lax or weakened pelvic structures that lead to stress incontinence. Women who have gone through pregnancy, and particularly vaginal childbirth, find that while some parts snap back with time and effort, others are more stubborn and do not return to a pre-pregnancy state. Pregnancy and childbirth often stretch, strain and damage the muscles and ligaments of the pelvic area leaving the bladder without adequate support.

Hormonal fluctuations, including those associated with menopause, can also take a toll on pelvic integrity. A drop in estrogen slows the growth on new supporting tissues around the vagina. The vaginal structure is vital in lifting and supporting the bladder and urethra so they can function correctly. Thinning vaginal walls mean less support, which can lead to an inability to control urinary urges and to keep it all together when the pressure is on.

Treating stress urinary incontinence

Embarrassing as it might be, the situation is far from hopeless. Several treatment options can dramatically improve stress urinary incontinence symptoms such as:

  • Strengthening the pelvic floor through exercise, such as Kegels
  • Adjusting diet and fluid consumption
  • Bladder training – urinating on a set schedule rather than waiting for the urge to urinate
  • Using devices such as a vaginal pessary or urethral inserts
  • Surgical solutions
  • Minimally invasive vaginal rejuvenation treatment

Laser vaginal rejuvenation works by resurfacing the damaged tissues of the vaginal walls and replacing them with new tissue that is bulkier and stronger to offer better support to the bladder and aid in controlling urination and stress incontinence.

At Integrative Wellness, we want you to feel free to laugh, jump, lift and run when you want to without fear of urinary leakage. We can help you determine what is causing your stress urinary incontinence now and help you explore your choices, whether that includes vaginal rejuvenation, physical therapies or surgical options.

Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s normal, and there is no reason to live with the stress of stress urinary incontinence. Call us today for your consultation! Start living without worry.