What is stress incontinence in women?

Jump To

Stress incontinence: Overview

Stress incontinence is the accidental release of urine caused by activities that put pressure on your bladder. It may happen most often when you sneeze, cough, laugh, jog, or lift something heavy. It usually doesn't cause major health problems. But it can be embarrassing and interfere with your life.

Treatment can cure or improve your symptoms.

How is surgery used to treat stress incontinence in women?

There are different kinds of surgeries to help with stress incontinence. They are done to support or lift the urethra or the bladder. This makes it less likely for you to leak urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or exercise.

Types of surgeries include:

  • Urethral sling. A sling is placed under the urethra. The sling helps support the urethra. The sling can be placed through small cuts in your belly or upper thigh. Or it may be done through one larger cut in your lower belly.
  • Urethral bulking. Material is injected around the urethra. This is done to build up the thickness of the wall of the urethra so it seals tightly when you hold back urine.
  • Retropubic suspension. The sagging bladder and urethra are attached to the pubic bone or to strong ligaments in the pelvis. This returns the bladder and urethra to their normal position. This can be done through small cuts in your belly. Or it may be done through one larger cut in your lower belly.

Surgery can be very effective, but it has risks. When deciding whether to have surgery, talk about the risks and benefits with your doctor.

What is stress incontinence in women?

Stress urinary incontinence (stress incontinence) is the leaking of urine when you do something that puts pressure on your bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). It can happen when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or exercise. Stress incontinence is the most common type of urinary incontinence in women.

What causes stress incontinence in women?

Stress incontinence can be caused by childbirth, weight gain, or other conditions that weaken the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles support the urethra. When these muscles are weak, the urethra drops down when there is abdominal pressure from laughing, coughing, or another reason. This allows urine to leak out.

Female Urinary Stress Incontinence

Female urinary stress incontinence

Increased pressure on the bladder caused by sneezing, coughing, laughing, or straining can force urine past the neck of the bladder and out through the urethra.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.