Services > Urogynecology > Conditions Treated > Urinary Disorders > Stress Urinary Incontinence - Loma Linda University Medical Center

Stress urinary incontinence is defined as when body events that put pressure on the pelvic region cause urine leakage. Our physicians regularly diagnose and treat women struggling with urinary incontinence and work to heal the condition through compassionate care and expert medicinal practice. Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of aging and can be effectively managed.

Urine leakage can occur during:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Laughing
  • Exercising
  • Lifting heavy objects

Causes of Stress Urinary Incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence is caused by stretched pelvic floor muscles. It is not a normal part of aging but is the most common bladder problem in younger and middle-aged women. It is often related to childbirth but may be due to weight gain or may appear around menopause when estrogen levels drop. During exertion, the bladder moves downward but the urethra remains open, preventing tightening of the muscles that ordinarily close off the urethra. This can cause leakage when extra pressure is exerted with coughing, sneezing, laughing or other activities.

Treatment Options
Incontinence can be cured or at least managed with a variety of treatment options. With stress incontinence, many women can get good results from using pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises; these exercises strengthen the pelvic muscles involved in urination. Other techniques, such as timed urination training and lifestyle changes such as losing weight and identifying foods which irritate the bladder, can offer help as well. Medical devices such as pessaries, which are rubber or plastic devices that are placed into the vagina, can help support the pelvic structures. For difficult conditions that fail to respond to more conservative measures, surgery may be required. In many instances, these procedures can be performed on a minimally invasive basis, allowing for a quicker recovery time and return to normal activities.

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