Ladies, leaking urine while laughing, coughing, sneezing and exercising isn’t normal and shouldn’t be brushed off as part of life. There is a way to fix it!
Female stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is the involuntary release of urine during any physical activity that puts pressure on your bladder. It’s caused by a weakening in the pelvic floor and is a lot more common than you think.
The most common cause of SUI is pregnancy and childbirth. Tissue, muscle or nerve damage can occur during childbirth leading to stress incontinence soon after delivery, or even for years later. Multiple deliveries, giving birth to a large baby, and a prolonged labor can contribute to pelvic weakness. Even women that give birth via cesarean section are at risk. But, you don’t have to live this way as SUI is a treatable condition!
Lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a healthy weight, fluid management, scheduled voiding, and treating constipation can be helpful, but, pelvic floor therapy is key. Pelvic muscle exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, strengthen the muscles used to support the urethra and prevent leakage caused by stress incontinence. These can be done on your own, or under the supervision of a physical therapist using biofeedback.
Vaginal pessaries can also be worn, which are flexible devices made of silicone that can be worn inside the vagina. This can help with incontinence and prolapse symptoms for people wanting to avoid surgery and are fitted by your gynecologist. Unfortunately, no medications are approved for stress incontinence at this time, only those that treat urge incontinence, but surgery offers a high cure rate. Surgery is usually done with a midurethral sling. The procedure is typically conducted by a urogynecologist, and is a same day procedure with minimal down time.
Vaginal laser treatment using a CO2 fractional laser is also a very effective treatment. The Mona Lisa Touch laser is a series of 3 treatments spaced 6 weeks apart. Laser energy strengthens the vaginal walls, pelvic fascia and the area of urethral meatus as the laser beam stimulates mucosal collagen fibers, ultimately leading to collagen proliferation and reinforcement. With this treatment the vaginal tissues tighten to restore the correct urethral angle of inclination and the functionality of urethra. This method is not painful and requires no down time.
If SUI affects you, don’t hesitate to seek treatment. We are very lucky to have an amazing pelvic floor physical therapist on Maui and access to the Mona Lisa Touch laser Therapy. You don’t have to fear laughing with your girlfriends, jumping on a trampoline with your kids, or working out at the gym.
There are solutions!