We’ve all made jokes about laughing so hard we pee our pants. It’s a description of just how hard you laughed. But you never hear a guy say this. That’s because it is a girl thing.
When urine escapes involuntarily, you may not just be laughing too hard (is that even a thing?), but most likely have a much deeper problem looming under your panties: tissue weakness. It could be as simple as muscles weakness, or it could indicate a low oestrogen condition. It’s one of these ‘conditions’ women not only think is par for the course of being a woman, especially after giving birth, but later on as we age. This doesn’t have to be the case.
To find out why your problem exists, you will need to be examined by your physician to eliminate any possible complications, but whatever the cause, your condition can be improved and even eliminated with a few tweaks. You don’t have to live in fear of laughing, coughing or sneezing.
What is stress urinary incontinence (SUI)?
SUI is caused by two distinct problems that can affect the lower urinary tract.
The first is what’s known as a hypermobile urethra, which just means that the support structures of the urethra are disrupted for some reason, so when pressure comes from the abdomen, downwards, the urethra has no support and urine leaks out. Your urinary system is largely a pressure system, so when this is undercut by weak tissue, the pressure isn’t sufficient or is incorrectly applied, causing issues.
The second cause is a problem with the muscles that hold the sphincter in place (the one that allows urine to pass – or be held) whereby they weaken. This allows urine to leak if pressure is applied suddenly, like when you cough or erupt into laughter.
Why do I have stress urinary incontinence?
There are many factors that set a woman up for SUI, including age, pregnancies, giving birth vaginally, ethnicity (Caucasian women have more SUI), and obesity. Women with chronic coughs are more susceptible to SUI, as are women who have had prior pelvic surgery. Anything that has weakened or restructured critical elements of the urinary system structures can be a cause.
Sometimes SUI is the result of a major surgery or health issue which may require surgical intervention before other interventions can be effective.
Non-surgical options for treatment and management
Diet and lifestyle adjustments
Removing caffeine and alcohol, restricting liquid intake each day to two litres, urinating at set periods during the day to prevent the bladder getting full, weight loss, and stopping smoking are the top adjustments recommended. Obesity is – as gravity would have it – a major risk factor for SUI.
Pelvic floor exercises
These are easy to do, and can make a huge difference, including in some cases completely resolving SUI. Ask your healthcare provider for a run-down on exercises – you must be sure you are contracting the correct muscles, or you are wasting your time.
Low oestrogen, which is the case after menopause and after ovaries have been removed or don’t function, can cause pelvic tissue to become atrophic and lose elasticity and function. Oestrogen therapy – creams or hormone-replacement therapy – can help restore function. These require frequent applications topically or are hormones taken orally.
Laser and radiofrequency rejuvenation
Laser and radiofrequency technology can now be directed straight into the tissues that are weak or poorly functioning and stimulate the cells to regenerate, effectively solving or greatly improving SUI. Our vaginal rejuvenation program is pain-free, takes about half an hour per session, and does not involve any surgery whatsoever.
What’s best is that these machines work straight away, and only improve your tissue over the coming weeks and months as the tissue regenerates. You can walk out with greatly improved bladder that will improve more over the coming weeks and months as the tissue regenerates.