Being a functioning person can seem so hard sometimes. Between work and family and day-to-day life, it can get overwhelming. Add mental illness like depression or anxiety to the mix and life can go from overwhelming to unbearable. Luckily, modern medicine, advancements in mental health science, and changing views surrounding therapy have allowed plenty of people to get help and live full, happy lives. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell what can trigger a depressive episode or panic attack, especially during transitional periods in our lives when there is a lot of change both physically and mentally. A fairly common problem that millions of people face as they age, that can certainly exacerbate underlying or preexisting mental health issues, is light bladder leaks associated with Stress Urinary Incontinence, or SUI.
What are Light Bladder Leaks?There are technically several kinds of urinary incontinence, but one of the most common forms is Stress Urinary Incontinence. SUI leaks occur whenever you bend over, lift something, sneeze, cough, laugh, or run down the stairs (basically, any motion or action that places pressure or “stress” on the urinary tract or bladder). Stress incontinence can be caused by two things: urethral hypermobility, in which the urethra shifts position due to increased abdominal pressure, and/or intrinsic sphincteric deficiency (ISD) when your sphincter doesn’t seal off effectively at your bladder. Urinary health experts have determined that most women that have SUI are usually suffering from a little bit of both of these forms. While all genders and people of all ages can develop SUI, it is more commonly seen in women and older adults. There can be varying causes and risk factors for developing light bladder leaks as a result of stress incontinence, a majority of which have to do with the weakening of the pelvic floor and/or damage to the nerves in the pelvic floor. Some common risk factors for developing SUI include:
- Surgical procedures that involve the pelvic floor (hysterectomy, prostatectomy, etc.)
- Nerve damage (diabetes, stroke, spinal injury, etc.)
- Chronic coughing
- Perimenopausal and post-menopausal women
- Repeated high-impact activities over time (i.e., marathon runners, dancers, jockeys, etc.)