Saturday, 12 January 2013

Meet my new companion – Stress Incontinence.

There I have said it, broken the silence to talk about the taboo, incontinence the silent bane of many a woman’s life, the subject brushed under the carpet in the hope it will go away.

It won’t just go away, but like many other things it will only get better if you make the first steps of admitting you have a problem and doing something about it.


What is incontinenece? According to wiki -   any involuntary leakage of urine.


 6 out of 10 women with urinary incontinence have never talked to their doctor about it…

Stress incontinence is a completely natural condition caused by weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and urethra. Very common after child-birth stress incontinence causes small amounts of urine to leak from the bladder during any form of physical exertion i.e. jogging, laughing, coughing or sneezing. Common solutions to this problem involve surgery and are not always successful. 

We had been discussing the topic at work the other week when one of my colleagues crossed her legs tight before she sneezed so as not to dribble. One of the patients saw her do this, and said to her to go and get it sorted. Go and see your GP she said, get it sorted before it gets too bad.

One of the other girls at work the other week had had us in fits talking about going jogging with her toy boy and how she would *leak* with *leak* every *leak* pounding step *leak* she *leak* took*leak*.  How she was desperate to get home and in the shower, leaving her knickers and her soggy socks on till she got in, .  Now whilst at the time the way she told it had us all doubled in fits of laughed that hard we all ended up with soggy socks It really is no laughing matter. I may add I work in a hospital so maybe some things are more openly discussed than they would be in an office or stood at a checkout  in your local DIY store..

There are many different types of incontinence, I am not medically qualified to talk about them in any depth I will provide links to information sites else where on the net- but please if you are worried go and see your GP.

I can however share my first hand experiences with you. Heeding the advice I offered above I decided to bite the bullet and go and see my GP. I have suffered with leaks when I cough hard probably on and off for a few years, nothing much, just the odd teaspoon here and there. Cough *leak* sneeze hard *leak* skip with the grandkids *leak* *leak* most of you will be able to identify with this.

My GP took a background history, symptoms etc and informs me I have stress incontinence. But she could not talk about remedies until she had taken a urine sample and made sure it was clear and nothing untoward showed up that may be causing it. So I put in my sample and got the results back as clear.
So my GP has prescribed me a tablet that is designed to help strengthen the bladder and advised me to do pelvic floor exercises.

Pelvic floor exercises (or Kegels) are exercises used to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor that help to keep you clean and dry.  Like all the muscles in your body, without proper exercise these can become weak and cause involuntary loss of urine.

 I have been reading a webite called incostress and have found their information very handy. 

So what is stress incontinence?

“Stress incontinence is the most common form of incontinence in women…”

The Causes

Stress Incontinence is often caused by physical changes resulting from pregnancy, childbirth, and the menopause. It is the most common form of incontinence in women

The Biology

Stress incontinence is usually caused by changes to the urethra, which is the tube which passes urine out from the bladder. It normally maintains a tight seal to prevent involuntary loss of urine and is helped by the pelvic floor muscles which support the bladder. If these muscles weaken, your bladder can move downward, pushing slightly out of the bottom of the pelvis toward the vagina.

The Triggers

For women with stress urinary incontinence, a weakened pelvic muscle floor or a defect in the urethra means the body is unable to support the urethra in its correct position. This prevents muscles that ordinarily force the urethra shut from squeezing as tightly as they should. As a result, urine can leak into the urethra during moments of physical stress such as coughing, laughing, sneezing or other movements.

Other Causes

Stress incontinence can also occur if the muscles that do the squeezing weaken. The problem is especially noticeable when you let your bladder get too full and can worsen during the week before your menstrual period.

 This fits well with what I have, mine is definitely worse the week before my period. For all I have not had an actually bleed for three months now I still get all the signs and symptoms, just not the bleeding.  Dr Ramayya tells us   

"Estrogen deficiency Some woman leak one week before menstrual period. The lowered estrogen levels that particular time may lead to lower muscular pressure around the urethra, increasing chances of leakage. The incidence of stress incontinence increases following menopause, similarly because of lowered estrogen levels) "


  1. Well done on broaching such a subject I believe rocking forwards and back on the toilet helps so a doctor told me .

    1. thank you - How does that help Claire?

    2. Fantastic article. I have seen positive results with Incostress. They use this in the hospitals in the UK as part of bladder training.

  2. After just having had baby no 2 this is a good reminder to me of how important it is to do those pelvic floor exercises. It's so easy to be lazy and not bother. Great post and good luck with your planned course of action - I hope it works.


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