Female Incontinence

Overview

Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is a leakage of urine during moments of physical activity that increases abdominal pressure, such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise. SUI is the most common type of urinary incontinence in women, but can affect both sexes. Many people think urinary incontinence is part of the aging process, but it is not. It can be managed and treated.

SUI can happen when pelvic tissues and muscles, which support the bladder and urethra, become weak and allow the bladder “neck” (where the bladder and urethra intersect) to descend during bursts of physical activity. This descent can prevent the urethra from working properly to control the flow of urine. Weakness may occur from pregnancy, childbirth, aging, or prior pelvic surgery.

Diagnosis & Treatment

A basic evaluation of a patient with incontinence includes a thorough history and physician, pelvic examination, bladder diary, post void residual assessment and urine analysis. Further evaluation by a Urologist may include cytoscopy (link) or urodynamic testing.

Women have both non-surgical and surgical options to treat SUI. Not every woman with SUI will need surgery. Some factors you should consider before deciding whether to undergo surgery include; the severity of your SUI symptoms and their effect on your daily activities; your desire for future pregnancy as vaginal delivery can cause recurrence of SUI symptoms, which could require future surgery.