From dribbles to gushes, leaking urine when you cough, jump, sneeze or lift can be embarrassing. Urology experts explain how to reclaim your freedom from stress incontinence.

What causes it?

Stress urinary incontinence is defined as the leakage of urine during physical movement or activity, such as coughing, jumping or sneezing. It’s not related to psychological stress. “This leakage can occur,” said Nancy Howden, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained urogynecologist with Western Carolina Women’s Specialty Center, “when the muscles and tissues supporting the bladder and urethra weaken.”

What are the risk factors?

Everyone with a bladder is at risk. Risk factors include age, pregnancy, vaginal delivery, prostate surgery, smoking and obesity. It also often has a genetic basis, and it can affect several members in the same family.

What’s are the biggest misconceptions about stress incontinence?

According to James Theofrastous, MD, a…


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