Stress urinary incontinence is defined as involuntary and uncontrollable leaks that occur during physical effort. This condition is more common in women than in men, and nearly three million women in France are affected by this type of incontinence.
The person affected by this pathology does not feel any sensation of need to urinate, it is then a source of shame and embarrassment, because the leaks can occur at the slightest abdominal pressure, during a cough, to get up from a chair, when lifting a load but also during sexual intercourse.
Causes and risk factors
The causes are above all physical, and often result from various traumas. The muscles of the perineum and the urinary sphincter are in charge of retaining the bladder, no longer playing their role fully, no barrier can retain the urine.
Two fundamental mechanisms are at the origin of this disease:
Urethral hypermobility or fall of the bladder neck which is related to an insufficiency of the pelvic floor muscles. The anatomical support falls and then risks evolving into prolapse or organ fall Sphincter insufficiency, less frequent and often following pelvic surgery.
Pregnancy, difficult vaginal deliveries, menopause, chronic constipation and smoking are risk factors that strongly favor stress urinary incontinence in women.
Treatment and prevention
Perineal rehabilitation by a physiotherapist is prescribed to women suffering from this pathology. The goal of the rehabilitation is to strengthen the muscles and improve the support of the bladder. Surgery is also a solution, but is only considered as a last resort if all other treatments have proven ineffective.
However, there are several ways to prevent the risks of urinary stress incontinence. In the case of pregnant women, pelvic floor exercises are essential to reduce possible complications during pregnancy and after delivery. Chronic constipation is also one of the main causes of urinary stress incontinence.
It is therefore important to eat a diet rich in fiber and to drink up to 1.5 liters of water per day.
Sports are also a good way to prevent it, but you should choose physical activities that do not put much pressure on the abdomen. Finally, smoking is a real risk factor; reducing or even completely stopping its consumption will prevent the alteration and aging of muscle tissue.