Stress urinary incontinence is defined medically as the unintentional passing of urine. The prevalence of stress urinary incontinence increases with age especially in those over 70 years old. Due to anatomical differences stress urinary incontinence is far more prevalent in females.
Urinary incontinence may be present with any number of tasks which places demand on the muscles of the pelvis region. Some common examples can include:
- Getting out of a car
- Lifting a heavy item
- Sexual intercourse
- Straining with exercise
Put simply, stress incontinence occurs when the tubes and muscles which contain your urine are unable to cope with the pressure placed upon them. This can be due to:
- Weakness to the pelvic floor muscles (commonly after childbirth due to injury)
- Some neurological conditions
- Some disorders which inherently weaken the muscles and soft tissue
- Damage to local tissues caused by recent surgery
- Obesity can cause more pressure on your stomach
Stress urinary incontinence gives rise to very clear characteristic symptoms of incontinence at certain times and when doing certain tasks. Therefore, your specialist will be able to make a clinical diagnosis based on your history.
However, there are a number of different underlying causes of stress urinary incontinence which your clinician may request diagnostic tests for. These can include:
- Analysis of urine samples
- Ultrasound scan
- Urodynamic flow studies
Treatment for stress urinary incontinence is aimed at the underlying cause. The primary treatment for urinary tract infections is a short course of antibiotics and keeping well hydrated.
If s neurological disorder or disorders are thought to be the cause of the stress urinary incontinence then, depending on the exact cause, medication may be prescribed to help the muscle co-ordination in the area.
Damage to the muscles and soft tissue of the pelvic floor. This surgery can be performed under general, spinal or local anaesthesia. Depending on the exact repair needed and surgical preference, the pelvic floor will be accessed and the damage stitched for the repair. If needed a specialist mesh may be inserted to reinforce the stitches.
Normally, a catheter will be needed following the operation and possibly a short stay in hospital. To protect the surgical repair your specialist will recommend that you refrain from any activities requiring straining for 12 weeks following the operation. These will include lifting weight and vigorous exercise.