Incontinence is no laughing matter, and you might not like the thought of facing surgery to fix it.
If you’re suffering from stress urinary incontinence, or SUI, you have options for treatment besides an operation.
Continence is your ability to control your bladder and bowel, so incontinence is the involuntary loss of that control. Urinary incontinence is the loss of urine from the bladder.1
There are different types of urinary incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence happens when you leak urine during physical movement or activity. Movement like running or heavy lifting, or an action like coughing, laughing or sneezing, puts pressure or stress on your bladder. That’s why the urine leak is called stress incontinence.2
Stress incontinence is much more common in women than in men.2
The other forms of incontinence are urgency incontinence and overactive bladder, which is when your bladder muscle contracts and creates a sudden urge to urinate before you can get to the bathroom.2
With stress incontinence, you can leak during any activity that puts pressure on your bladder. It’s particularly common when your bladder is full.2
Non Surgical SUI Treatments
Stress incontinence can be treated by surgery, which is designed to support the neck of your bladder. One example is the sling procedure—the most common procedure performed in women with SUI—in which a surgeon creates a sling or hammock that supports the urethra. Slings can be made with your own tissue, synthetic material or mesh, or animal or donor tissue.3
But there are also non-surgical SUI treatments. Each treatment can be tailored to suit you and the function of your bladder and urethral sphincter. Women with milder forms of SUI may find that these management options are all they need to improve their symptoms.4
Here are some non-surgical SUI treatments:
Weight loss: If you are overweight, weight loss has been shown to significantly reduce stress urinary incontinence.4
Correcting problems that cause chronic constipation and coughing: both of which cause leaks.4
Quit smoking: this can lead to a severe chronic cough, which can aggravate the symptoms of stress incontinence.3
Pelvic floor muscle exercises and pelvic floor physical therapy: performing exercises like Kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter can help. A physical therapist can provide guidance on the proper way to do the exercises, and accompany them with other therapy like biofeedback.3
Pelvic floor muscles can be trained using the INNOVO Urinary Incontinence Kit. The shorts and controller will help you perform Kegel exercises properly, in short 30-minute sessions. Your pelvic floor is strengthened and you can say goodbye to annoying leaks.
Continence devices: which are fitted and worn internally to help control leakage. A vaginal pessary helps support your bladder base to prevent urine leakage during activity, while a urethral insert is a small tampon-like device inserted into the urethra that acts as a barrier to prevent leakage.3 Some devices such as a pessary can be worn continuously, while the other devices can be inserted and used just while you’re exercising.4
Use of continence aids: such as pads, to give you added confidence.4
Bladder training: having a regular schedule to go to the bathroom might help reduce the number or severity of urge incontinence episodes.3
Avoid foods and beverages that can irritate your bladder: you’ll learn—or may already know—what these are, but examples are caffeine and carbonated beverages. Some food or drink can make you urinate and leak more frequently.3
There are steps you can take to minimize SUI without resorting to surgery.
See a Doctor
Having urinary incontinence can negatively impact your life. Don’t suffer in silence. Use our Physician Finder to find a doctor near you with expertise in women’s health, who can provide advice on non surgical SUI treatments.