Another struggle that some patients have is dealing with stress urinary incontinence. At Central Maine Healthcare, we offer a supportive environment and the most effective methods of handling this kind of incontinence. We would love to meet with you to discuss your symptoms and talk about treatment options.
Interested in learning more about what Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is? We’ve put together a few questions we get most frequently with answers to help you understand what you’re up against. Feel free to reach out to us at any time if we can help you answer questions and to get support.
What is SUI?
Incontinence is a condition of involuntary urinary leakage. Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) occurs if there is pressure on the bladder because of physical movement, such as coughing, laughing, or sneezing.
SUI is a common medical condition that an estimated one of three women will experience in their lifetime. It is not the same condition as Overactive Bladder, also known as Urge Incontinence. With OAB, there is a sudden urge to urinate without any necessary movement.
What are the Symptoms of SUI?
The main symptom of SUI is leaking urine. You may leak just a few drops, or you might leak more. There are varying degrees of SUI. In mild cases, leakage may occur when you are exercising or engaged in rigorous activities such as lifting an object. It may also occur after coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Women with more severe SUI may experience leakage with less intense physical movements, such as with standing or walking.
Who is Likely to Experience SUI?
Women of any age may experience this condition, but it is more common among older women.
Here are some common risk factors:
- Caucasian and Hispanic women have higher risks
- Chronic cough
- Pregnancy and childbirth, which may affect the pelvic floor muscles, resulting in leakage
- Nerve injuries to the lower back
- Pelvic surgery
Generally, anything that weakens the pelvic floor muscles can lead to SUI.
How Does SUI Impact My Life?
Women with SUI may feel self-conscious leading them to reduce their activities. This may include social activities and physical activities, as well as avoiding sex. If you realize you’re avoiding activities that have been an important part of your life because of SUI, it may be time to talk to your healthcare provider.
Helpful tip: Keep a diary noting when you experience SUI and bring it to your doctor’s visit. This may give the doctor more clues to help determine how to manage the condition.
How is SUI Treated?
Your doctor may be able to help you or he or she may refer you to a urologist.
Treatment options will be different for each person. For example, if you are overweight, your doctor might recommend weight loss and smokers would be advised to quit smoking.
Other treatment options include:
- Pelvic floor muscle training. Your healthcare provider can show you daily exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which can help reduce SUI.
- Urinary control devices are another possibility. They help reduce pressure inside the pelvis. Your healthcare provider will explain the different options.
- Some women may opt to wear sanitary or incontinence pads. These are a simple solution that may not bother some women.
Is Surgery an Option?
Surgery is an option. Procedures are available that can even be done as a same day procedure! Your doctor will discuss surgical procedures with you at your appointment.
Are there Medications for SUI?
Unfortunately, no. At this time, there are no medications approved for use for SUI. That is because the leakage is happening from the weakness in your pelvic structure.