If you laugh hard at a joke or something funny and you urinate a little, once or twice, you don’t need to worry. If you find that you leak urine frequently when you laugh, sneeze, cough, jog, or do other activities, it’s called stress urinary incontinence. It’s a common issue, especially among older women, but it is not normal, and can be treated.
There are two types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence. Urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder, is when you feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom and usually can’t make it there in time. Stress incontinence is the more common type of the two. Both men and women experience urinary incontinence, but women experience it twice as often as men. About 25 million Americans experience some form of urinary incontinence, with women accounting for about 80% of cases.
At Center for Women's Health, in Newport News and Hampton, Virginia, our team of medical experts can evaluate the cause of your urinary incontinence and develop an effective treatment plan so you can go back to living your life in comfort, free of embarrassment.
Urinary incontinence causes
People experience urinary incontinence for many reasons. It may be caused by the foods you eat and the beverages you drink, a medical condition, lifestyle, or life stage.
Carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages can contribute to high urine volume. Foods that are high in spice, sugar, or acid, such as citrus fruits, can also contribute to incontinence. Modifying your intake of these products can help curb incontinence. Other causes include:
- Being overweight
- Certain medicines
- Nerve damage caused by medical conditions such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis
- Urinary tract infections
Another common cause of incontinence is weak pelvic muscles. Pelvic muscles are the muscles that support your bladder, bowel, and uterus. They can weaken over time, especially with childbirth and menopause. If they are too weak to keep your bladder closed all the time, urine can leak out, especially when you exert pressure on your bladder through laughing, coughing, sneezing, or exercising.
Treatment options for stress incontinence
Fortunately, there are many ways to control incontinence. The medical experts at Women’s Health Care Center perform a comprehensive evaluation to determine your incontinence cause or causes. Depending on the underlying cause or causes, treatment options may include:
- Dietary modifications
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Vaginal pessary
- Pelvic sling
Do you experience embarrassing urinary leaks? You don’t have to live with urinary incontinence. Call Center for Women's Health, or send us a message for an evaluation and effective treatment plan.