Urinary Stress Incontinence is the leaking of small amounts of urine during normal, daily physical activities, such as laughing, coughing or exercise.
It affects women in all age groups, but the most common predisposing factors are childbirth and pregnancy. Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, and hysterectomy.
Urodynamic tests, which look at the function of the bladder, are performed to clarify the diagnosis but these tests are not always necessary as many patients can be treated symptomatically.
It’s now easier to get specialist help and appropriate treatment, than before. Help is available through lifestyle changes, various medications, pelvic floor exercises and surgery. There are available devices (pelvic toners, cones, etc), which help to ensure that pelvic floor exercises are done correctly and effectively, but patients need to be very motivated. It can take up to six months of regular exercises to notice a realistic difference. New medications are available for both types of incontinences, but the treatment of urge incontinence is largely medical. Side effects can limit prolonged use.