Stress Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is a condition that affects more that 13 million Americans, the majority of whom are women. It is defined most simply as the body's inability to control muscles that prevent accidental leakage of urine out of the body.

What is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)?

SUI, the most common type of urinary incontinence, is the body's inability to prevent accidental leakage when pressure (stress) is exerted on the abdomen - usually when there is coughing, sneezing, laughing, or strenuous lifting. Unlike what its name implies, this type of incontinence is not related in any way to emotional or psychological stress.

Other types of urinary incontinence include urge incontinence and overflow incontinence, and it is important to note that each type of incontinence may have different causes. The professional, women's healthcare providers at Premier Primary Care and Gynecology can help you become more knowledgeable about your specific type of incontinence, it's causes, and the best course of treatment for your particular condition.

What age groups does SUI affect?

SUI affects women of all ages - young mothers, women in menopause, and senior citizens. It is important for you to know that SUI is not an inevitable part of aging.

What causes SUI?

Stress Incontinence can be related to a number of factors:

  • Pregnancy and natural childbirth
    Pregnancy and delivery naturally put some degree of stress on a woman's pelvic muscles and ligaments, and the impact of this stress may become more evident with aging, sometimes resulting in the condition of SUI.
  • Strenuous activity or exercise
    Vigorous exercise or any form of physical straining can put additional stress on the pelvic area, resulting in SUI if the pelvic and urethral muscles are already somewhat weakened.
  • Menopausal hormone changes
    As a woman's hormone balance changes through the various stages of menopause, this can lead to a weakening of the muscles that control urine leakage.
  • Prior gynecologic surgeries
    Certain types of gynecologic surgery may have an effect on the overall strength of pelvic and urethral muscles, leading to a woman's having difficulty holding urine when pelvic muscles are strained or stressed.

What treatment options are available?

Treatment for SUI is determined by a number of factors, including the severity of the incontinence you suffer and your general state of health. The experienced, women's healthcare providers at Premier Primary Care and Gynecology can determine which treatment approach is best suited to your specific condition.

Dr. Mary Mahern, MD
Dr. Clark Brittain, DO

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