What is Stress Urinary Incontinence?
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is a term that describes involuntary leakage of urine during activities that increase pressure in the abdomen such as coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercise. Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles and other tissues that support the bladder (pelvic floor muscles) and the muscles that regulate the release of urine (urinary sphincter) weaken.
What are the risk factors for SUI?
Age. Physical changes associated with aging, such as the weakening of muscles, may make you more susceptible to stress incontinence.
Type of childbirth delivery. Women who've had a vaginal delivery are more likely to develop urinary incontinence than women who've delivered via a cesarean section. Women who've had a forceps delivery to more rapidly deliver a healthy baby may also have a greater risk of stress incontinence.
Body weight. People who are overweight or obese have a much higher risk of stress incontinence. Excess weight increases pressure on the abdominal and pelvic organs.
Previous pelvic surgery. Hysterectomy in women can alter the function and support of the bladder and urethra, making it much more likely for a person to develop stress incontinence.
Illnesses that cause chronic coughing or sneezing
Smoking, which can cause frequent coughing
High-impact activities, such as running and jumping, over many years
What are the complications of SUI?
Personal distress. If you experience stress incontinence with your daily activities, you may feel embarrassed and distressed by the condition. It can disrupt your work, social activities, relationships and even your sex life. Some people are embarrassed that they need pads or incontinence garments.
Mixed urinary incontinence. It means that you have both stress incontinence and urge incontinence — the loss of urine resulting from an involuntary contraction of bladder muscles (overactive bladder).
Skin rash or irritation. Skin that is constantly in contact with urine is likely to be irritated or sore and can break down. This happens with severe incontinence if you don't take precautions, such as using moisture barriers or incontinence pads.
What is the treatment of SUI?
Pelvic floor muscle exercises. Called Kegel exercises, these movements strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter.
Fluid consumption. Your doctor might recommend the amount and timing of fluids you consume during the day and evening. However, don't limit what you drink so much that you become dehydrated. avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages
Healthy lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, losing excess weight or treating a chronic cough will lessen your risk of stress incontinence as well as improve your symptoms.
Bladder training. Your doctor might recommend a schedule for toileting (bladder training) if you have mixed incontinence. More frequent voiding of the bladder may reduce the number or severity of urge incontinence episodes.
Medications - There are no approved medications to specifically treat stress incontinence in the United States. The antidepressant duloxetine (Cymbalta) is used for the treatment of stress incontinence in Europe, however symptoms quickly return when the drug is stopped. Nausea is the most common side effect that makes people stop taking the medication.
Devices - Certain devices designed for women may help control stress incontinence, like a specialized urinary incontinence Vaginal pessary or Urethral inserts.
Surgery - Surgical interventions to treat stress incontinence are designed to improve closure of the sphincter or support the bladder neck.