• Total Physical Therapy

Why do I leak when I cough, laugh or sneeze?


At some point we have all had a little (or a lot ) urine leakage. Usually this occurs when we laugh, cough or sneeze. Most women chalk this up to a normal process of aging and put up with it. Although this is considered a common occurrence it is not something that we should have to “live with”. Leakage of urine either small or large with increased abdominal pressure is considered Stress Urinary Incontinence. What this means is anytime we experience increased pressure in our abdomen with activities such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, jumping, or heaving lifting we can be at risk of urine leakage. This can range anywhere from a very small loss of urine to a full loss of bladder contents. This is not something to be ignored. There are many treatments for this loss of urine that are simple and non-harmful in anyway.

Causes of Stress Urinary Incontinence

This can occur for a multitude of reasons. Common causes of Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) include pelvic floor muscle weakness, hypermobility of the urethra, persistent heavy straining, chronic coughing, nerve damage and decreased estrogen during menopause.

How common is Stress Urinary Incontinence

SUI is the most common form of urinary incontinence. The prevalence in Middle aged and elderly women is between 30-60% and 46% in women of all ages (Lutz 2013).

What can you do?

If you find that you are experiencing leakage of any kind you can try pelvic floor strengthening. Pelvic floor strengthening or "Kegel" exercises are a series of exercises that consist of full contractions of the pelvic floor muscle as if you were cutting off the flow of urine. These exercises focus on endurance or long holds and quick action training of the pelvic floor. Increasing the strength in the pelvic floor will not only aid in maintaining continence it will also aid in the support of pelvic organs.These exercises are not harmful in any way but it is recommended you have a women's health physical therapist assist you developing a plan individual to your needs.

If you feel you are suffering from stress urinary incontinence or have questions contact us at (806) 467-81 81 or via email at info@tpttx.com

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Total Physical Therapy
3701 A1 Olsen Blvd 
Amarillo, TX
806 467-8181
806 467-8282 fax
Official Physical Therapy Center for the Amarillo Venom, Amarillo Bulls, and FC Amarillo Bombers

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Mon/Wed 8:00-6:00

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