What is Stress Incontinence and How Can I Treat It?

There are four main types of urinary incontinence and these are; stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overflow incontinence and mixed incontinence.

Out of the above, stress incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence in women. In fact, an estimated 15 million adult women in the U.S are affected by it.

But what exactly does it mean, and how can you treat it? In this blog post, we will be covering everything you need to know about stress incontinence - so you can get your life back.

What is Stress Incontinence?

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is the term used to describe involuntary urine leakage that occurs when coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping, heavy lifting, or any other movement that puts pressure or stress on the bladder.

You may feel like you have little to no control of your bladder, especially when it's full. Many people who deal with SUI report feelings of anxiety around where the closest bathroom is - especially when out and about doing day-to-day things such as grocery shopping or getting stuck in traffic.

This doesn’t have to be the case - learn more about INNOVO and the reasons why some women leak.

Stress Incontinence Symptoms

Leaks can differ from a few drops to a complete loss of control over your bladder - where your bladder is fully emptied.

If your leaks tend to happen when you are:

  • Laughing
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Jumping
  • Exercising
  • Doing heavy lifting
  • Engaging in sexual intercourse

    Then this could be a case of stress urinary incontinence.

    Every person's SUI is different. You may not have symptoms every time you engage in an activity that in the past has caused you to leak. Similarly, the same activities that are problematic for you may not necessarily cause leaking for someone else who suffers from SUI.

    What Causes Stress Incontinence?

    The most common causes of stress incontinence are pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and high impact exercise.


    Hormonal changes and the weight of a developing baby can put extra strain on the bladder during pregnancy. You may notice pelvic floor weakness as early as 12 weeks into your pregnancy and find yourself wanting to go to the bathroom frequently.


    The stress of delivering a child, whether natural or via caesarean section, can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leaving the bladder's neck unsupported, which can ultimately lead to urine leaks. (This is especially true in the case of forceps-assisted deliveries).


    Menopause and urinary incontinence are frequently linked. Changes in hormone levels, such as dips in estrogen, can cause the pelvic floor muscles to lose tone and strength, resulting in a loss of bladder control.

    High Impact Exercise

    High-intensity activity, such as running, gymnastics, horseback riding, and HIIT training, can cause the connective tissue that supports the bladder to deteriorate as a result of continual and repetitive pressure.

    How to Improve Stress Incontinence

    Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises as they are otherwise known, can help to re-educate and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, restoring bladder control. However, Kegel exercises are notoriously tricky to master, and you might find these difficult if your pelvic floor muscles are especially weak. IN fact, 50% of women are unable to do a Kegel correctly.

    INNOVO offers a refreshing alternative to manual pelvic floor exercises. The all-in-one treatment is an easy, at-home solution that’s safe and clinically-proven to treat stress urinary incontinence.

    Get 180 perfect Kegels delivered right to your pelvic floor muscles with every session - simply pop on the shorts, get comfy and let INNOVO do the rest.

    Find out more on how INNOVO works.


    Approved by Dr Ruth Maher, PT, PhD, DPT

    After running a private practice in Atlanta for a few years, Dr Ruth Maher decided to open her own practice back home in Ireland and pursue my PhD at University College Dublin (UCD). She specialized in pelvic floor dysfunction while studying and working in the US and had many friends and co-workers who had stress urinary incontinence - but they said nothing about the condition. This was one of the reasons that inspired me to pursue my PhD and explore alternative solutions to effectively facilitate pelvic floor contractions that enhanced coordination and strength of the pelvic floor muscles thus addressing the root cause of urinary leakage.


    Updated on Apr-26-22