What is Stress Incontinence?
Stress incontinence is when you experience involuntary urine leaks. You might sneeze or laugh, lift something heavy or exercise and suddenly you are leaking. Loss of bladder control can be very embarrassing even though it is quite common, especially for women who have given birth or for men and women who are getting older.
Essentially the pelvic muscles lose their tone and get weaker meaning that you have less bladder control.
The Importance of a toned Pelvic Floor Muscle
The pelvic floor helps control the passing of urine, the opening of the bowels and contributes to sexual sensations during intercourse.
The Pelvic Floor Muscles wrap around the underside of the bladder and rectum.
During pregnancy your pelvic floor muscles are put under a lot of strain. They support the weight of your uterus, your growing baby, and your intestines. During childbirth the pelvic floor muscles help baby negotiate the pelvic bones and guide baby through the vagina. In addition all the lovely homrones that surge through a womans body during pregnancy soften the pelvic floor muscles so that they are more flexible for the birthing process.
So, "pregnancy and childbirth can cause the pelvic muscles to weaken. When these muscles weaken, your bladder may move downward, pushing slightly out of the bottom of the pelvis toward the vagina. This prevents muscles that normally force the urethra shut from squeezing as tightly as they should. As a result, urine can leak into the urethra during moments of physical stress - like laughing, sneezing and coughing.
Stress incontinence can worsen during the week before your menstrual period. At that time, lowered estrogen levels might lead to lower muscular pressure around the urethra, increasing chances of leakage. The incidence of stress incontinence increases following menopause
Studies have documented that about 50% of all women have occasional urinary incontinence. It is experienced by one in three mums over 30 and most women during pregnancy. Stress incontinence affects 20% of women over age 40. Up to 40% of women over age 75 experience daily urinary incontinence. In Fact right now 2 million other Australian women are nervous about coughing , sneezing or laughing unexpectedly.
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Written by Nadia MacLeod