No one wants to discuss bathroom habits, let alone a health problem that impacts how so many Americans go. While urinary incontinence is embarrassing, the truth is it’s more common than you may think, with around a third of Americans suffering from symptoms ranging from Overactive Bladder (OAB) to urge incontinence. But studies show that when it comes to stress urinary incontinence or SUI, women are more likely to experience light leaks in their lifetime.
What Do Light Bladder Leaks Mean?So, what exactly is Stress Urinary Incontinence? Technically speaking, SUI is the involuntary loss of urine whenever the bladder, urethra, or urinary tract is put under pressure or stress. This is due to the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and surrounding tissues that cause either a urethral shift or intrinsic sphincteric deficiency (ISD), in which case the sphincter doesn’t seal off effectively at the bladder. People may even experience a little bit of both. The “stress” or pressure that can trigger these leaks ranges from high-impact activities such as jogging, biking, or climbing to lower-impact like sneezing, coughing, and laughing. Unfortunately, SUI is hard to predict and can manifest in a few small dribbles to a stream of urine. Stress incontinence is different from urge incontinence, however. Urge incontinence is the sudden and very strong need to urinate and can be caused by underlying health issues like an infection to intoxication. To deal with these embarrassing leaks people turn to one, or a combination of, the following:
- Pads and liners
- Physical therapy