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Stress Incontinence

Advice on stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is when urine leaks because there is a sudden extra pressure (‘stress’) on the bladder. It 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 coughing, laughing, or when exercising (like when jumping or running). In these situations, there is sudden extra pressure within the abdomen and on the bladder.

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. It can be a problem for people with PCD due to coughing.


The usual first treatment is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. About 6 in 10 cases of stress incontinence can be cured or much improved with this treatment. It is important that you exercise the correct muscles. Your doctor may refer you to a continence advisor or physiotherapist for advice on the exercises. Very rarely, and for extreme cases, surgery may be considered.