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Stress urinary incontinence (stress incontinence) is the leaking of urine when you do something that puts pressure on your bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body). It can happen when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or exercise. Stress incontinence is the most common type of urinary incontinence in women.
Stress incontinence can be caused by childbirth, weight gain, or other conditions that weaken the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor muscles support the urethra. When these muscles are weak, the urethra drops down when there is abdominal pressure from laughing, coughing, or another reason. This allows urine to leak out.
There are different kinds of surgeries to help with stress incontinence. They are done to support or lift the urethra or the bladder. This makes it less likely for you to leak urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or exercise.
Types of surgeries include:
Recovery can take 4 to 6 weeks. You will need help around the house during this time. You will not be able to do any heavy lifting or strenuous activities for at least 6 weeks. You may need to take off work for several weeks. It depends on which type of surgery you have. You may feel more tired than usual. This can last for up to several weeks.
After surgery you should have less or no urine leakage when you sneeze, cough, laugh, or exercise. At first you may find that it is harder than usual to empty your bladder. This usually improves within several weeks.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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