Stress Incontinence Treatment

Stop Stressing About Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence is a form of urinary incontinence that makes it hard to stop the flow of urine when pressure is placed on the bladder. This issue can cause sufferers to feel embarrassed, limit social activity, and it may also affect a person’s romantic life.

Stress Incontinence Symptoms

Most patients with stress incontinence tend to lose bladder control during physical activity. In some cases, however, bladder leakage can occur from pressure applied to the bladder while in a sitting or standing position. Most commonly, leakage occurs when:

  • Exercising or doing heavy lifting. This can include walking, running, jumping, etc.
  • Laughing. Laughing can cause muscles to contract and for a person’s weight to shift, which may put pressure on the bladder.
  • Sneezing. The sudden and forceful body movements caused by sneezing may cause a person with stress incontinence to leak urine.
  • Sexual Intercourse. Engaging in sexual intercourse can cause pressure against the abdomen.

Causes of Stress Incontinence

Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from stress incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles that support the bladder and control the release of urine begin to weaken. Women are twice as likely to suffer from stress incontinence than men. In most cases, this is because of childbirth. During some births, muscle and tissue damage can occur to the pelvic floor. The most common factor that leads to stress incontinence in men is prostate surgery. If the prostate gland is removed, the tissue that wraps around the urethra may be weakened.

Testing for Urge Incontinence

For most cases of stress incontinence, the issue is fairly easy to diagnose and may not require any tests. But, some tests may be taken to pinpoint the cause of incontinence if mixed symptoms are experienced. These tests include:

  • Urine Volume Test. After urinating, the doctor will determine the amount of leftover urine in the bladder. 
  • Bladder Pressure Test. The doctor will slowly fill the bladder with warm water and use a pressure sensor to measure changes in the patient’s bladder pressure. 
  • Bladder Examination. A cystoscope, a small device that can provide images to the doctor, will be inserted into the bladder so that the physician can examine the bladder and urethra.

Stress Incontinence Treatment

The first steps to treating stress urinary incontinence are often behavior therapies such as pelvic floor muscle exercises, dietary adjustments, lifestyle changes, and bladder training. There aren’t currently any approved medications to treat stress incontinence. 

Devices

  • Pessary. A ring is placed on each side of the urethra that helps support the bladder.  
  • Urethral Inserts. A disposable device is worn at various times throughout the day to act as a barrier against leakage. It is mostly recommended for what a patient is going to be performing physical activity. 

Surgery

Surgery intervention to treat stress incontinence is typically the last resort when behavior therapies and devices don’t provide adequate relief from symptoms. The goal of the surgery will be to provide the bladder and urethral muscles with adequate support.