Stress Urinary Incontinence in Women
Have you ever laughed so hard that you actually wetted yourself? Whether the answer is yes or no, let’s get something straight first. Stress urinary incontinence is no laughing matter. And it’s not a guy thing either. Very few men do experience this disorder, usually after a post-surgical complication during a prostatectomy. Other than that, this condition is exclusive to women. On the surface, the involuntary loss of urine is caused by a physical activity or motion, usually coughing, sneezing, running, or lifting heavy objects. These movements put pressure, or stress, on the bladder; hence the name, which actually has nothing to do with psychological stress. Stress incontinence is different from urge incontinence, but they may be concurrent (mixed incontinence).
However, the actual causes are more deeply rooted. Events that contribute to the weakening of sphincter and pelvic floor muscles include pregnancy and childbirth, menstruation, and menopause. Stress urinary incontinence may be exacerbated by factors such as illnesses that cause chronic coughing and sneezing, obesity, smoking, caffeine or alcohol abuse, prolonged high impact activities, and hormonal deficiency. Having stress incontinence doesn’t mean that you will discharge urine every time you cough or sneeze, so if it happens only now and then at first, don’t dismiss it as an accident. The longer you go without seeking treatment, the more damaged your bladder will become, to the point that everyday activities will be increasingly interrupted.
Treatment may involve Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and urinary sphincter; monitoring fluid ingestion to avoid caffeine and alcohol and time the consumption of fluid throughout the day; and lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking and losing extra weight. Other alternatives may be surgery to support the bladder neck and provide better sphincter closure; and devices like pessaries and inserts to avoid leakage.
In addition to treatments, there are many products developed to contain and cope with stress urinary incontinence in one way or another. These items can be easily found at Discount Medical Supplies, and are along the lines of bed pads, underpads and mattress protectors; adult diapers, briefs and protective undergarments; bedpans and urinals; washcloths and wipes; and many more. Since stress incontinence affects mostly women, it’s essential to keep female hygiene products at hand. For example, Medline perineal irrigation bottles, long super maxi pads with wings, bladder control pads, Poise pantiliners, Kotex overnight maxi pads, and extra absorbent pads.