Stress incontinence (SUI), also known as Urge Incontinence, is a medical term that refers to the accidental leakage of urine under physically “stressful” situations. This means leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, drive over large speed bumps, jump rope, run, bend over to tie your shoes, or do the down-ward dog yoga pose — not necessarily when you have a spat with your husband or your taxes are overdue.
What is a stress urinary incontinence?
To obtain an accurate diagnosis, and to learn what factors may be causing stress incontinence, you will need to see a gynecologist, a urologist, or a physician with training in both areas—a urogynecologist. The doctor may ask you to perform several maneuvers and to place yourself in different positions to help her or him determine if anatomical changes may be contributing to your condition. Stress incontinence is often attributed to a dropped or fallen bladder, and sometimes additionally to hormonal changes.
Stress incontinence, too, may be able to be treated. For some women, bladder retraining, may be helpful. Continued dribbling or wetness can lead to soreness of the vaginal tissues surrounding the urethral opening. This is especially true if you suffer from vaginal dryness or vulvodynia. You may find that in addition to wearing a pad, using a barrier cream, such as the original Eucerin brand cream, may prevent discomfort from developing. Avoid using ointments that contain zinc oxide, which can be drying.
diet & lifestyle
If you're overweight — your body mass index (BMI) is 25 or higher — losing excess pounds can help reduce the overall pressure on your bladder and pelvic floor muscles. Moderate weight loss may markedly improve stress incontinence.
Inflammation can play a very big role in creating the conditions that produce stress incontinence. This is only one of several reasons why younger women may experience stress incontinence, even though many people associate this disorder with aging.
You may find that following an anti-inflammatory diet, avoiding your specific food allergens, getting the correct balance of essential fatty acids, and getting moderate exercise will dramatically reduce your stress incontinence.
modify fluid intake
Your doctor may recommend how much and when you should consume fluids during the day and evening. However, don't limit what you drink so much that you become dehydrated.
Your doctor may also suggest that you avoid caffeinated, carbonated and alcoholic beverages, which may irritate and affect bladder function in some people. If you find that using fluid schedules and avoiding certain beverages significantly improve leakage, you'll have to decide whether making these changes in your diet are worth it.
Another tip is to avoid some specific relaxing herbs, such
as chamomile, which can actually increase incontinence and dribbling. While an excellent herb for the bladder, chamomile is best used for urinary hesitancy, spasms, and pelvic floor dysfunction, not incontinence.
A really skilled physical therapist may be a huge help in your individual situation. Kegel exercises are recommended for women who have problems with incontinence due to weakened muscles related to age or childbirth; a physical therapist can assess your muscle strength and help you develop a strengthening program with specific exercises tailored to your body.
You can experiment with locating the correct pelvic floor muscles by trying to stop and start the flow of urine, and by squeezing around your partner’s penis or finger during sexual activity. Squeeze gently and rhythmically, and relax completely between each contraction. In addition to helping control stress incontinence, strengthening these pelvic muscles may result in a more satisfying sexual experience over time.
Start slowly, and gradually increase the number of repetitions.
Kegel exercises, done correctly, improve blood flow to the pelvic area and strengthen the specific muscles that support the pelvic floor. Studies have shown that three-quarters of women who do Kegel exercises correctly can overcome their stress incontinence. If doing Kegel exercises causes you any pain, stop. Pain during these exercises is not normal. Discuss your findings with a physical therapist who specializes in women’s health issues.