Everyday Life | Active living
How To Stop Urine Leakage When Coughing
For many, an unexpected sneeze or cough can lead to an embarrassing moment of urine leakage. This circumstance is linked with incontinence and can be both distressing and inconvenient. As the demand for solutions grows, understanding the causes and preventative methods for urine leakages has never been more relevant. In this article, you will understand how to help prevent urine leakage when coughing, how to identify the cause, and the practical strategies available to manage it, to ensure you feel confident in every situation.
How To Identify If You're Leaking Urine When Coughing
It's not always clear that you're experiencing urine leakage, especially if it's a small amount. If you notice dampness in your underwear straight after coughing or sneezing, it's a sign that you might be dealing with incontinence. If this happens, be sure to follow our top tips on managing incontinence to maintain peace of mind.
Another method is to keep a diary, noting down any incidents when you feel a leak, especially if this happens after coughing, sneezing, or laughing. This can help when discussing the issue with a healthcare professional who can help to determine the severity of the condition.
What Causes A Weak Bladder When Coughing
When you cough, laugh, or sneeze, there's a sudden increase in pressure. This pressure pushes against the bladder, and if your pelvic floor muscles aren't strong enough to withstand this pressure, urine can leak out. This is common in those with a weakened pelvic floor or who have stress urinary incontinence. Coughing, whether it's short-term or chronic, can exacerbate the issue, leading to more frequent and noticeable leaks.
Why Does Coughing Cause Leaks
Activities like coughing, laughing, and sneezing, or even certain physical movements create a surge in intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). This pressure pushes against your core muscles, including the pelvic floor, abdominals, and diaphragm.
While IAP is a natural mechanism the body uses to stabilise the torso during various activities, sudden spikes in this pressure - such as those caused by sneezing or coughing - can be problematic. Especially for women who are pregnant, in the early postpartum phase, or managing conditions like prolapse, the pelvic floor might not have the necessary strength or reflexive function to handle these pressure spikes effectively. This inability can lead to a feeling of downward pressure on the pelvic floor or even result in urine leakage.
Combat Urine Leakages When Coughing SafelyIn conclusion, while the involuntary leakage of urine when coughing, laughing, or sneezing can be disheartening, there are ways to prevent this that are easy to integrate into your lifestyle. By understanding what is causing urine leaks and seeking appropriate interventions, it is possible to regain confidence and control in no time.
Is it normal to leak urine when coughing?
Leaking urine when coughing is a symptom of a condition called "stress urinary incontinence" (SUI). While it is common, especially among women who have given birth, individuals who have had certain surgeries or those of an older age, it's not considered "normal" as it is a sign of weakened pelvic floor muscles or other underlying issues, and treatment is available. SUI occurs when physical movement or activity –— such as coughing, sneezing, running, or heavy lifting –— puts pressure (or "stress") on the bladder, leading to involuntary urine leakage.
Can urine leakage be cured?
The treatment and potential cure for urine leakage depend on its cause and severity. Some potential treatments for urinary incontinence include:
Pelvic Floor Exercises: Also known as Kegel exercises, these can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and urinary sphincter.
Medications: Certain drugs can help treat urinary incontinence by calming an overactive bladder or increasing the amount of urine your bladder can hold.
Medical Devices: For women, devices like urethral inserts or pessaries can help prevent leakage.
Interventional Therapies: Procedures such as bulking agent injections can help close the bladder neck and reduce urine leakage.
Surgery: In more severe cases, surgical options like sling procedures or bladder neck suspension might be recommended.
Lifestyle Changes: Reducing fluid intake at certain times, avoiding bladder irritants like caffeine and alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight can help manage symptoms.
It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment option for individual cases. In some situations, urine leakage can be significantly reduced or cured, while in others, it may be more about managing and reducing the symptoms.