Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is a type of Urinary Incontinence, which is a loss of voluntary control of urination. Stress Incontinence is the term used when leaks involuntarily occur as a result of coughing, sneezing, laughing, jumping, heavy lifting, or other movements that put pressure on the bladder.
Stress Incontinence is the most common form of urinary incontinence, particularly in women. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men in the UK experience symptoms every day. Whilst this condition can create feelings of anxiety, stress and embarrassment in those that suffer, the term ‘stress’ relates to the physical strain that occurs in the body at the time of leakage i.e. cough or sneeze.
Stress Incontinence Symptoms
You may be experiencing Stress Incontinence if you experience leaks regularly when you:
- Lift something heavy
You may feel that you have little to no control of your bladder, especially when its full, and leaks will result. Many people will report feelings of anxiety when travelling, when out and about, doing the groceries or getting stuck in traffic, and will often need to know about toilet access when visiting somewhere new. If the fear of leaks if affecting your well-being and quality of life, you may benefit from discussing this with your GP to discuss treatment options.
Stress Incontinence Causes
The most common causes of Stress Incontinence in women include pregnancy, childbirth and the menopause. Being overweight or obese can also be a trigger for stress incontinence due to additional weight and pressure being put on the bladder.
- Pregnancy: changes in hormones and the weight of a growing baby can place a lot of additional pressure on the bladder while pregnant. You may start to experience pelvic floor weakness as early as 12 weeks into pregnancy and find you are constantly needing to run to the loo
- Childbirth: the trauma of childbirth, whether by natural birth or caesarean section can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leaving the neck of the bladder un-supported, resulting in long term issues with urinary leaks. This is particularly true following births involving forceps delivery.
- Menopause: hormonal changes such drops in oestrogen levels can result in the pelvic floor muscles losing their tone and strength, resulting in a lack of bladder control
- High impact exercise: high-intensity exercise like running, gymnastics, horse riding and HIIT classes can lead to a weakening of the connective tissue that supports the bladder due to constant and repetitive pressure when undertaking such activities
- Prostate Cancer Surgery: during radical prostatectomy surgery, the prostate gland and some of the surrounding tissue is removed, causing bladder-neck weakness resulting in less resistance to bladder pressure and control over the pelvic floor1
Stress Incontinence Treatments
Pelvic floor exercises or ‘Kegel exercises’ can help to re-educate and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, restoring bladder control. These can be quite tricky to master, and you might find these difficult if you pelvic floor muscles are particularly weak. Our ‘Invisible Workout’ series with Pelvic Floor Expert Jane Wake walk you through how to do these.
INNOVO offers a compelling and innovative alternative to manual pelvic floor exercises.
INNOVO is a clinically proven, truly non-invasive and long-lasting solution to urinary incontinence. Easy to use and comfortable to wear, INNOVO helps you safely and effortlessly strengthen and re-educate the entire network of pelvic floor muscles through gentle muscle stimulation.
Using INNOVO for just 30 minutes a day/five days a week over 12 weeks has been proven to treat bladder weakness – delivering results in as little as four weeks2.
INNOVO treats Stress, Urge & Mixed Incontinence in both women and men of all ages, and is the only non-invasive pelvic floor exerciser that targets the root cause of the problem. Use INNOVO's Stress Incontinence programme which will focus on delivering muscle strengthening stimulations to the entire network of pelvic floor muscles.
A clinical study found that:
- 80% of users saw a significant reduction in leaks after just 4 weeks2
- 87% of users were defined as either dry or almost dry after 12 weeks3
- 90% of users would recommend the therapy to others4
1 Colley, Wendy (2014), Nursing Times, Incontinence Following Prostate Cancer Surgery
2 Soeder S, et al, A randomised, controlled, double-blind, clinical study to compare two neuromuscular stimulator devices in female stress urinary incontinence: Effects on symptoms and quality of life. IUGA Conference 2018
3 R. Dmochowski – Novel external electrical muscle stimulation device for the treatment of female stress urinary incontinence: randomized controlled noninferiority trial versus intravaginal electrical stimulation. ICS Conference 2018
4 Observational study on the treatment of stress urinary incontinence with Innovotherapy, April 2014