Leaking urine is no laughing matter, although if you suffer from stress urinary incontinence, you often leak urine when you laugh.
Stress urinary incontinence—or SUI as it’s commonly called—is a condition whereby urine accidentally leaks when you exert pressure on your bladder. That can happen by coughing, sneezing, laughing, running, exercising or lifting something heavy.1
If you have SUI, what are your options? Are there interim treatments for SUI that can relieve this problem and get you back to your active lifestyle?
Stress incontinence is one type of urinary incontinence, different from urge incontinence or overactive bladder. Stress incontinence has an impact on health and well-being, as those with SUI may feel embarrassed, may limit work and social life, and might choose isolation over the anxiety of finding a bathroom or leaking in public.2
Stress incontinence is much more common in women than in men.2 Current evidence indicates that SUI affects 4% to 14% of younger women and 12% to 35% of older women. Since risk factors like aging, obesity, and smoking are on the increase among women, which may mean an increase in women with SUI in the United States.3
As well, many women with SUI don’t see a health care provider about this condition. Some women don’t think it’s serious, they feel embarrassed about it, or they are fearful about needing surgery.3 There are less-invasive interim treatments for SUI before resorting to surgery.
Interim Treatments for SUI
Don’t assume you need surgery for your SUI. There are interim treatments, and even less invasive surgery options, that can help manage and treat SUI and its symptoms.
Let’s look at a sample of treatments for SUI.
1. Lifestyle changes that address the cause or risk factors:4
- Weight loss in women who are overweight, which can reduce stress urinary incontinence as well as symptoms of an overactive bladder.
- Correcting problems that cause chronic constipation and coughing.
- Cutting out smoking.
- Use of continence aids or pads.
2. Pelvic floor muscle physiotherapy, which can strengthen the pelvic floor, the muscles that support the pelvic organs:5
- You may have heard of pelvic floor muscle exercises known as Kegels. It’s important that you’re contracting the correct muscles, however, which is why a session with a pelvic floor physiotherapist can help develop a program just for you.
- Two different types of exercises can be done to strengthen the different types of muscle fibers in the pelvic floor.
3. Use of a pessary:6
- This is a removable device that is inserted into the vagina against the vaginal wall and urethra.
- It supports the neck of the bladder and helps reposition the urethra to reduce SUI.
If these interim treatments aren’t effective, you may have to work with your doctor on a different treatment plan. Alternatives to surgery may be helpful, or you may need to look at surgical options like insertion of mesh in the form of a “sling” to support the urethra or bladder neck and correct SUI.6
See a Doctor
Don’t suffer in silence due to your incontinence concerns. Use our Physician Finder to find a doctor near you with expertise in women’s health. Enquire about interim treatments for SUI so you can get back to an active and happy lifestyle.