Although the name can be somewhat misleading, psychological stress is not a contributing factor to stress incontinence. Instead, the term “stress incontinence” refers to bladder leakage that occurs due to damage or weakness in the pelvic floor muscles and occurs when the muscles in that area are strained. This can happen due to childbirth, infections, obesity, or smoking. The most common symptom of stress incontinence is bladder leakage when you cough or sneeze. It can also occur during physical exertion, such as lifting heavy items, exercise, or any other physical activity.
There are a few different things that you can do to help relieve the symptoms of stress incontinence. When possible, treat the cause directly. For example, if the strain in your pelvic floor muscles is due to excess weight, commit to a weight loss and physical training regimen. Consider your exercises carefully and talk with a doctor about the best workout plan that will not increase the frequency of your symptoms while you work toward your goal weight.
Cigarette smoking can directly contribute to bladder control problems, particularly because it can cause damage to the small blood vessels in the body, including in your bladder. If you are a smoker who is experiencing stress incontinence you should consider quitting smoking. By eliminating that irritant from your body the blood vessels can begin to repair damage, which may help to restore normal function to your bladder and pelvic floor muscles.
One of the most common treatments for weakened pelvic floor muscles are Kegel exercises. Doctors regularly recommend to those with stress incontinence to complete four to six sets of Kegel exercises daily. If you have never done Kegel exercises, it involves tightening your pelvic floor muscles, holding it for three to five seconds, and then slowly releasing it. Repeat this process ten times per set. Your pelvic floor muscle is the same one that you use to control the flow of urine, so if you want to be sure that you have the right one, stop your urine in midstream to see which muscle you need to contract.
Ultimately, the key to maintaining your confidence and sense of self is to take the necessary steps to manage the symptoms. There are many different types of incontinence panties and incontinence briefs that you can choose to help protect you. Some of the newest styles are virtually undetectable as bladder control products. With the right protective wear and steps toward mitigating your symptoms, you can return to your busy lifestyle without concern.