Stress incontinence

In the modern world, stress incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence.

 

What is Stress Incontinence?

 

Stress incontinence is when urine leaks because there is a sudden stress on the bladder. This is because your pelvic floor muscles and urethra cannot withstand the extra pressure. Stress incontinence develops as the pelvic floor muscles are weakened. Small amounts of urine may leak, but sometimes it can be quite a lot and can cause embarrassment. Urine tends to leak most when you cough, laugh, or when you exercise. In these situations there is sudden extra pressure felt within the abdomen and on the bladder.

The main treatment is to do exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. If these exercises don’t help, another treatment option in some people is surgery to tighten or support the bladder outlet. Those who do not want surgery or in whom surgery is not possible, medication options are sought in addition to the exercises, if exercises are not effective.

 

Three Treatment Options for Stress Incontinence

 

1. The first treatment is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Almost 6 in 10 cases of stress incontinence, it can be cured or much improved with this treatment.

 

2. Surgery may be advised if the problem persists and pelvic floor exercises have not worked well.

 

3. For some women, instead of surgery, medication may be advised in addition to pelvic floor exercises. This is quite common in women, who do not want to have surgery or who have other health problems that may mean that surgery is impossible or not suitable.

 

Pelvic Floor Exercises for stress incontinence

 

It is very important that you exercise the correct muscles. Your doctor may refer you to a continence advisor or physiotherapist for advice on the exercises.

 

1. Sit in a chair with your knees slightly apart. Imagine you are trying to stop wind escaping from your anus (back passage). You will have to squeeze the muscle just above the entrance to the anus. You should feel some movement in the muscle. Don't move your buttocks or legs.

 

2. Now imagine you are passing urine and are trying to stop the stream. You will find yourself using slightly different parts of the pelvic floor muscles to the first exercise (ones nearer the front). These are the ones to strengthen. If you are not sure that you are exercising the right muscles, put a couple of fingers into your vagina. You should feel a gentle squeeze when doing the exercises.

 

It takes more time, effort and practice to become good at these exercises and it is advised that you do these exercises for at least three months to start with. You will see the benefits after a few weeks. However, it often takes a minimum of 8-20 weeks for most improvement to show. After this time you may be completely cured from stress incontinence.



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