Unintentional loss of urine is called urinary incontinence. Stress incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence that happens when you perform any physical activity like lifting weight, coughing, or sneezing. This activity puts pressure on the bladder and causes the unintentional loss of urine. You are not alone to pee when you sneeze. It is a frequent disorder that primarily affects women.
Stress incontinence can be treated, allowing you to regain bladder control. You need to ask your doctor to help you overcome the problem.
Read on if you want to know why you pee when you sneeze.
What is stress incontinence?
It happens when pelvic floor muscles get weak. These muscles support the urethra which regulates the flow of urine through the bladder. The contraction of the sphincter muscles stops the leakage of urine through the bladder. When you need to pee, these muscles get relaxed, and urine flows out of the bladder. This is how the normal process of urination happens. But in case, if your pelvic floor muscles are weak, a little pressure on your bladder will relax these muscles and cause the unintended leakage of urine.
Apart from a sneeze: you may also pee when you cough, laugh, lift heavy objects, exercise, run, or make abrupt movements. It is not necessary to pee every time you sneeze. It usually happens when your bladder is full. But the people with extremely weakened muscles may face stress incontinence even when their bladder is not full.
Stress incontinence is purely related to physical strain. It has nothing to do with psychological processes. When different physical activities put pressure or strain on your bladder, unintentional leakage of urine happens.
There are a few facts about stress incontinence:
- Stress incontinence is the most common type of urinary incontinence. It usually occurs in women. About 1 in 3 women face this condition.
- Women usually have a condition of mixed incontinence. It is a combination of both stress and urges incontinence.
- Stress incontinence is more common in younger women, but that doesn’t mean you cannot experience it. It may happen at any age, but as you become older, your chances of having stress incontinence increase. This is because older people have weaker muscles which result in loss of control of their urine.
Different studies indicate that combining behavioral therapies with lifestyle changes is the best way to treat stress incontinence.
What causes you to pee when you sneeze?
Stress incontinence can be due to the following reasons:
Men undergo surgery of prostate glands due to prostate cancer. This weakens the pelvic floor muscles and nerves resulting in stress incontinence.
In women, vaginal delivery sometimes causes damage to the pelvic floor muscles and harms the nerves. It may cause stress incontinence. This condition occurs soon after delivery or even after several years of childbirth.
The pelvic floor muscles weaken as you get older. You lose control over your bladder muscles, and as a result, stress incontinence happens.
The less common factors that contribute to stress incontinence include:
- Surgical removal of cervix or uterus
- Prolonged coughing
- High impact exercises
Usually, stress incontinence is ignored unless it interferes with our social life. If you are facing the problem of stress incontinence, you need to immediately see your doctor. Your doctor will identify the underlying causes of the problem and will suggest you the best treatment accordingly.
Sometimes, this condition can be an indication of a severe disease or infection that may cause stress incontinence worst. Currently, there are no medications for stress incontinence. Following treatment options are available for it.
Adopting the following lifestyle changes will help you avoid peeing when you sneeze.
- Limit the intake of caffeinated beverages and alcohol.
- Stop smoking.
- Add more fiber to your diet to avoid constipation. Constipation can be a less contributing factor. It put pressure on your bladder too while passing the stool resulting in the weakening of muscles.
- Lose excessive weight.
- Ask your doctor to help you schedule your bathroom breaks. It will help in training your bladder for urination at right time without putting pressure on it.
Other treatment options
Stress incontinence can be treated without surgery. Non-surgical treatment options include:
- Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
- A urethral insert is a small disposable device that is inserted into the urethra to prevent the leakage of urine.
- A vaginal pessary is useful for stress incontinence, especially if you want to avoid the surgery. It is a ring-like device that sits on both sides of the urethra. Your doctor will put this device into place. It will support your bladder and is also convenient to use.
- In women, estrogen creams are used to strengthen the vagina or urethra after menopause.
If lifestyle changes or non-surgical treatment options are not working for you, surgery is the only option.
Injectable bulking agents
Synthetic gels are used as injectable bulking agents into the upper part or tissues of the urethra. It helps in bulking up the urethral area and improves its ability to close.
This method can be performed in both men and women. Here the tissues of the person itself are used to create a sling. Tissues from a donor or synthetic material are also used during the sling procedure. It supports the urethra and eases the symptoms of stress incontinence.
Inflatable artificial sphincter
This method is used in men. A cuff is fitted to the urethra. It replaces the sphincters and controls the bladder.
In this procedure, the doctor use sutures to support the bladder and urethra. These sutures are attached to the ligaments to support the bladder tissues. A small incision in the abdomen is done to perform this surgical method.
If you frequently pee when you sneeze, it indicates you have stress incontinence. Stress incontinence is more common in women than men. It is also more common in older people. It has the potential to disrupt your life, so consult your doctor as soon as possible.
There are several things you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and avoid accidental urination. Adopting a few lifestyle changes, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight are ideal to treat stress incontinence. Alternatively, you can talk to your doctor to get the right treatment option for you.