What is Stress Incontinence?

Stress incontinence is when urine leaks because there is a sudden extra pressure (‘stress’) on the bladder. (The diagram shows how the pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and nearby structures.)

Stress incontinence develops because the pelvic floor muscles are weakened. Small amounts of urine may leak, but sometimes it can be quite a lot and can cause embarrassment.

Urine tends to leak most when you cough, laugh, or when you exercise (like when you jump or run). In these situations there is sudden extra pressure within the abdomen and on the bladder.

How common is Stress Incontinence?

Stress incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence in women.

It becomes more common in advanced age as many as 1 in 5 women over the age of 40 have some degree of stress incontinence.

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