When the muscles that support the urethra (pelvic floor muscles) and the muscles that govern the discharge of urine (urinary sphincter) weaken, stress incontinence ensues.
As the bladder fills with pee, it expands. Normally, when the bladder swells, valve-like muscles in the urethra — the small tube that transports pee out of your body — shut, preventing urine leakage until you reach a restroom. When those muscles weaken, however, anything that puts the effort on the abdominal and pelvic muscles — such as sneezing, leaning over, lifting, or laughing hard — may put pressure on your bladder, causing pee leakage.
- Childbirth, your pelvic floor muscles, and urinary sphincter may lose strength. Damage to the pelvic floor muscles or the sphincter may impair the pelvic floor muscles or the sphincter in women during childbirth. Stress incontinence as a result of this injury might develop just after birth or years later.
- Prostate resection. The most prevalent cause of stress incontinence in males is the surgical removal of the prostate gland to treat prostate cancer (prostatectomy). The urethral sphincter, which is located just under the prostate gland and encircles the urethra, may be weakened as a result of this operation.
Factors that contribute
Stress incontinence may also be exacerbated by the following factors:
- Coughing illnesses that last a long time
- Smoking, which may lead to a lot of coughing
- Years of high-impact exercises such as jogging and leaping
- Age. Physical changes as you become older, such as muscle weakness, may make you more susceptible to stress incontinence. Stress incontinence, on the other hand, may strike at any age.
- The method of birthing. Women who have had a vaginal birth are more prone than those who have undergone a cesarean section to develop urine incontinence. Women who have undergone a forceps delivery to produce a healthy baby more quickly may be at a higher risk of stress incontinence. Vacuum-assisted deliveries do not seem to increase the incidence of stress incontinence in women.
- Body mass index. Stress incontinence is more common in those who are overweight or obese. Excess weight puts pressure on the organs in the abdomen and pelvis.
- You’ve had pelvic surgery before. The muscles that support the bladder and urethra may be weakened by hysterectomy in women and prostate cancer surgery in men, increasing the risk of stress incontinence.