What is Stress Incontinence?

Post Reviewed By Expert

This post was reviewed by our Director of Clinical Excellence and Oversight.

Stress incontinence is the involuntarily leakage of urine when extra pressure or force is put on the bladder. It’s the most common type of incontinence and occurs more in women than in men.

How Stress Incontinence Happens

Generally speaking, stress incontinence occurs when the sphincter or pelvic floor muscles weaken, making it harder for them to contain urine. When force is put on these weakened muscles, it causes them to momentarily relax, resulting in a tiny leak of urine. There are many everyday activities that can cause this kind of force, like sneezing, laughing, or coughing.

Stress incontinence

Causes and Risk Factors

There are many causes and risk factors that can lead to stress incontinence. Here are a few that of the ones most commonly experienced:

Childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth can increase the chance of stress incontinence. During pregnancy and childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles and bladder often experience great strain, which can lead to a weakening of these muscle groups. If the weakened muscles do not recover, it could become more difficult for them to hold in urine.

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Damaged Muscle Tissue

Any damage to the pelvic floor muscles or to the sphincter can lead to stress incontinence. Damage to these muscles could make them weaker, resulting in more difficulty containing urine. Even though the muscles may heal from their injury, there’s not guarantee that they will fully regain the strength needed to resist extra force against the bladder.

Naturally Weak Muscles

The pelvic floor and sphincter muscles don’t need to be damaged for stress incontinence to occur. For some people, these muscles are naturally weaker. If this is the case, then stress incontinence could occur without the body experiencing any kind of injury.

Stress Incontinence Solutions

Stress incontinence causes light leakage, and the most common incontinence product used to manage light leakage is the bladder control pad. Bladder control pads are designed for lighter output, so they’re perfect for absorbing leakage from stress incontinence. They come in a range of designs and sizes, and are made to accommodate both male and females.

It may be possible to get bladder control pads as a covered benefit through your insurance plan. Complete the incontinence product finder below to learn more about what coverage options are available to you.

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Disclaimer:
Unless otherwise noted, the recommendations in this document were obtained from the sources indicated. Be advised that information contained herein is intended to serve as a useful reference for informational purposes only. HCD cannot be held responsible for the continued accuracy of or for any errors or omissions in the information. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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