Stress incontinence is when the pressure inside your bladder becomes greater than the strength of your urethra to stay closed.
There are many types of stress incontinence and potential treatments, including devices and products. We are always happy to assess and advise women on what will work for them. Stress incontinence often worsens after the age of 40 due to hormonal changes.
Any sudden extra pressure on your bladder, such as laughing or sneezing, can cause urine to leak if you have stress incontinence.
Your urethra may not be able to stay closed if the muscles in your pelvis (pelvic floor muscles) are weak or damaged, or if your urethral sphincter – the ring of muscle that keeps the urethra closed – is damaged.
Problems with these muscles may be caused by:
damage during childbirth – particularly if your baby was born vaginally, rather than by Caesarean section
increased pressure on your stomach – for example, because you are pregnant or obese
damage to the bladder or nearby area during surgery – such as the removal of the womb (hysterectomy), or removal of the prostate gland
neurological conditions that affect the brain and spinal cord, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
certain connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
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