Female urinary system anatomy
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Urinary incontinence is the accidental loss of urine. Stress incontinence occurs when exercise or activity – such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, running or lifting – puts pressure (stress) on your bladder and causes you to lose urine . Stress incontinence is not associated with psychological stress.

Stress incontinence is different from urge incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB). When you have urinary incontinence or overactive bladder, your bladder muscle contracts, causing you to suddenly urinate before you can use the bathroom. Stress incontinence is much more common in women than in men.

If you have stress incontinence, you may feel ashamed, isolate yourself, or limit your work and social life. You can also avoid physical and recreational activities. With treatment, you will likely be able to manage stress incontinence and improve your overall well-being.

Stress incontinence care at the Mayo Clinic

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If you have stress incontinence, urine may flow if you:

Cough or sneeze
To laugh
lean forward
Lift something heavy
have sex
You may not have incontinence every time you do any of these things. However, any activity that increases the pressure on your bladder can make you more vulnerable to accidental urine leakage, especially if your bladder is full.

When to see a doctor
Talk to your doctor if your symptoms are bothersome or interfere with everyday activities such as work, play, and social life.

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Localization of the female pelvic floor muscles
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Stress incontinence occurs when the muscles and other tissues that support the urethra (pelvic floor muscles) and the muscles that control the release of urine (urinary sphincters) weaken.

The bladder expands when it fills with urine. Usually, the valve-shaped muscles in the urethra – the short tube that carries urine out of your body – stay closed as the bladder expands, preventing urine from leaking out until you reach a bathroom. bath. However, when these muscles weaken, anything that puts force on the abdominal or pelvic muscles – such as sneezing, flexing, lifting, or laughing – can put pressure on your bladder and cause urine to leak.

Your pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincters may lose strength because:

Birth. In women, tissue or nerve damage during childbirth can weaken the muscles of the pelvic floor or the muscles of the sphincter. Stress incontinence due to this damage can start soon after childbirth or appear years later.
Prostate surgery. In men, surgical removal of the prostate to treat prostate cancer (prostatectomy) is the most common factor leading to stress incontinence. This process can weaken the sphincter muscle, which sits just below the prostate and surrounds the urethra.
Crucial factors
Other factors that can make stress incontinence worse include:

Diseases that cause a chronic cough
Smoking, which can lead to frequent coughing
Highly effective activities such as running and jumping for many years

Risk factors
Factors that increase your risk for stress incontinence include:

Age. Physical changes that occur with age, such as: Weakened muscles, for example, can make you more likely to develop stress incontinence. However, occasional stress incontinence can occur at any age.
Type of birth. Women who have given birth vaginally are more likely to develop urinary incontinence than women who have had a cesarean section. Women who have been given forceps to deliver a healthy baby faster may also be at higher risk for stress incontinence. Women who gave birth under vacuum do not appear to be at higher risk for stress incontinence.
Weight. People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of stress incontinence. Being overweight increases the pressure on the abdominal and pelvic organs.
Previous pelvic surgery. Hysterectomy in women and surgery for prostate cancer in men can weaken the muscles that support the bladder and urethra and increase the risk of stress incontinence.
Complications of stress incontinence can include:

Emotional distress. If you suffer from stress incontinence in your daily activities, you may be embarrassed and concerned about the condition. It can disrupt your work, social activities, relationships, and even your sex life. Some people are ashamed of needing incontinence padding or clothing.
Mixed urinary incontinence. Mixed incontinence is common and means you have both stress incontinence and urge incontinence – the accidental loss of urine as a result of muscle contractions in the bladder (overactive bladder) that cause an overactive bladder. urgent need to urinate.
Skin rash or irritation. Skin in constant contact with urine can become irritated or painful and break down. This happens in severe incontinence if you do not take precautions, such as: B. Moisture barriers or incontinence pads.

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