There are few medical problems more embarrassing than incontinence, but we want to stress, first and foremost, that the issue is more common than you might think, especially among women. In fact, urinary incontinence affects about 4 in 10 women after the age of 65, to say nothing of the millions of women who experience urine leakage during pregnancy. If you find yourself leaking urine when you laugh, this symptom, and more, are not only normal, but also widespread.
At Arizona Urology, our urology experts understand the many conditions that can lead to incontinence, and when it comes to leaking when you laugh, we’re primarily dealing with stress urinary incontinence.
Here’s a closer look at stress urinary incontinence, why it occurs, and most importantly, what we can do about it.
There are several different types of incontinence, but stress urinary incontinence is the most common. With stress urinary incontinence, you leak urine because of pressure on your bladder, which can occur for several reasons.
First, if you’re pregnant, the growing fetus can place an enormous amount of stress on your bladder given its close proximity. This means that any time you laugh, sneeze, or exert yourself, your bladder is more prone to leaking urine because of the added pressure.
Another common driver of stress urinary incontinence is age. Over time, the muscles that support your urinary tract, which are called your pelvic floor, can weaken. This means that your bladder isn’t supported properly, which can lead to urinary leakage.
The reason women experience the problem more often than men when it comes to issues with age is that the sudden drop in hormones that accompanies menopause leads to a decline in tissue health, which includes the tissues that make up and support the bladder.
While women are more prone to the problem, stress urinary incontinence can occur in males, especially those who’ve undergone prostate surgery.
This condition can also strike either gender if they’re carrying extra weight, which places added pressure on their urinary tracts.
Since stress urinary incontinence is largely caused by poor tissue health and support, our first goal is to figure out the underlying cause. Obviously, if you’re pregnant, your problem should be short-lived and we can provide you with ways to regain control of your bladder after you’ve given birth.
This approach is one that shores up the muscles that hold your bladder in place, which works for most other cases of stress urinary incontinence. For example, we highly recommend Kegel exercises, which do a great job of re-establishing the strength in your pelvic floor.
We may also recommend that you tackle certain lifestyle issues, such as losing weight, to relieve the pressure on your bladder.
If you don’t respond to these more conservative measures, we can take a look at more aggressive solutions, such as a pessary, insert, or sling procedure for your bladder.
The bottom line is that if you find you’re leaking urine when you laugh, rest assured the problem is perfectly normal and treatable. To get started, simply contact one of our locations in Goodyear, Glendale, Gilbert, or Phoenix, Arizona, to set up an appointment.