Ever wondered why pregnant women go to the bathroom so often? Have you laughed or coughed so hard you wet your pants?
Have you had to suddenly stop during exercise because of a sudden urge to wee? These are examples of stress incontinence.
What’s the story with stress incontinence?
The name is a little misleading because stress incontinence has nothing to do with mental stress, but physical stress in the form of pressure on the bladder, causing it to leak. Much like a balloon full of water – squash it, prod it or jump around with it and there’s a good chance the contents will spill out.
Different to overflow incontinence, stress incontinence is described as an uncontrollable leakage of urine during physical exertions such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise. Stress incontinence is the most common of the three different types of urinary incontinence. It is much more common in women than men because female life events such as pregnancy and menopause can kick off stress incontinence.
Stress incontinence explained
Stress incontinence happens when there is external pressure or stress on your bladder, causing it to leak. These external pressures are normally in the form of a physical activity like:
- Carrying around your unborn baby
- Lifting something heavy such as a child or shopping bags
- Vigorously exercising or dancing
- Jumping around and playing with children
- Coughing or sneezing
- Giggling or laughing
Light bladder leakage (LBL) usually occurs as a result of these physical activities because your pelvic floor muscles are no longer strong enough to support and control your bladder.