What is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)?

What are the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence?

The amount of urine that leaks can vary. You may leak just a few drops at a time, or you may leak a large amount—like an involuntary flow of urine. Unfortunately, this can happen in life’s most candid moments, like when you’re laughing, sneezing, coughing, or jumping.

 

Other activities that may contribute to stress urinary incontinence are: 

  • lifting things

  • running

  • cycling

  • yelling or projecting your voice 

  • engaging in sexual intercourse

So, what causes stress urinary incontinence?

Pregnancy and childbirth are the most common causes of SUI. And when you think about it, that makes sense, considering the extra load that pregnancy places on the pelvic floor and organs. The stretching and possible tearing that occurs during childbirth certainly doesn’t help either... 

 

Sometimes, SUI has nothing to do with pregnancy or childbirth though. If there is something that interrupts the ability of your bladder (and/or pelvic floor) to work in a cohesive way, SUI can happen. 

 

This can include things such as:

  • abdominal surgeries

  • changes in weight or activity level

  • participation in high intensity or impact sports

  • stress 

  • hormonal changes from aging or breastfeeding 

  • other medical diagnoses

 

Living with SUI can have a major impact on different aspects of your life. It can affect your emotional and mental health, your sexual functioning, your exercise routine, and how you socialize with friends. Sometimes just the fear of leaking can cause you to worry and even avoid activities in the first place. 

So, this brings us to the million-dollar question:

Does stress urinary incontinence go away?

The good news is, yes, in most cases it can be resolved or at the least significantly improved. 

 

It’s important to keep in mind that stress urinary incontinence is very common. In fact, up to 50% of women report experiencing stress urinary incontinence after pregnancy and childbirth.

How is stress urinary incontinence treated?

A quick Google search for treating SUI will probably leave you feeling overwhelmed with information... You may see treatment options such as workout programs, pelvic floor exercises, pelvic floor physical therapy, lifestyle changes, nutritional modifications, surgeries, hormone treatments, electronic feedback devices, and even vaginal weights!

 

So, where do you start? First, by identifying and understanding what life event triggered your pelvic floor to stray from its normal functioning. But remember, it may be more than one thing… And it's not always just the pelvic floor!

Overwhelming?

Totally. 

Out of all these treatment options, what approach should you choose and why?

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Stress urinary incontinence is the unintentional leakage of urine when stress or pressure is placed on the bladder or body.

 

And whether you’re just wanting to just know the stress incontinence definition, or hoping to learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments, major props to you for taking this step to understand more about the condition. Learning more can help you think through how it impacts your life and what you can do about it.

Well, identifying the source of the issue is the most important step to understanding it. Like most things in life that are off balance, tackling the root cause will give you the clarity you need to adequately address it. Once you’ve identified the source, you can choose the approach that is best suited for you.

 

 

For stress urinary incontinence, we know that even if leaks happen from the pelvic floor, other parts of your body’s system are involved. These other systems need to be worked on as well to maximize the chances of sustained improvement. Here are a couple examples of what we mean:

 

  • Your breath: Having the right breathing technique can reduce unnecessary downward pressure on the pelvic floor, which can help prevent stress incontinence.

 

  • Your abdominal muscles: Keeping your abs fit will help keep the rest of your body stable. You may have heard this concept in other places like yoga or Pilates. The same holds true here in stress incontinence treatment—your core can help keep you strong and prevent unnecessary leakage. 

 

Knowledge and self-awareness of how the pelvic floor works with the rest of the body are critical for long-term results. That is, taking an active role in learning about the condition and how it relates to your body are keys to success.

This is all to say that, for long-term results, we got you!

 

The goal of the HappySneeze Program is to rebuild your brain’s relationship with your pelvic floor, so it works for you in a subconscious and automatic way. We do this through building foundational knowledge so that you become the expert on your body and YOUR pelvic floor. Then, through investigation and observation (and of course, practice), you become an expert in efficiently coordinating and controlling YOUR pelvic floor while staying dry through all the pressures and stressors of life.

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