Stress incontinence is a type of incontinence characterized by a loss of urine flow control during a physical activity like sneezing, running, heavy lifting, standing up, sexual intercourse, or coughing. It is important to know that, despite its name, stress incontinence is not related to psychological stress. Certain risk factors exist for those who develop stress incontinence including:
- Giving birth to a child
- Chronic coughing (such as that experienced by many smokers)
Stress incontinence is an especially frustrating and embarrassing kind of incontinence because it is triggered by activities that occur at times that cannot be planned for. It is impossible to predict when a person will cough or sneeze, making it difficult to have a normal social life. The symptoms of stress incontinence can often be cured through the correct treatments.
Stress incontinence can become even more of a problem during the week before a woman’s menstrual period. This is caused by lower estrogen levels, which result directly in decreased muscle pressure around the urethra.
Since smokers are especially prone to developing stress incontinence, doctors may advise patients to cease smoking. Other things like caffeinated beverages and alcohol may aggravate urine control issues.