Stress Urinary Incontinence

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Stress Urinary Incontinence
Jordin Lang
West Coast University

Urinary Incontinence is defined as leakage of urine that is involuntary. Stress Urinary Incontinence is involuntary urine leakage that is due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. It is most commonly found to be a greater problem in women. Estimates say that upwards of 35% of women 65 and older experience some form of urinary incontinence.

Stress incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine that happens because of physical activity, like coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise. The strength of the pelvic floor muscles is inadequate to support the urinary tract under pressure.

The anatomy of the urinary system involved in continence in women includes the bladder, urethra, pelvic floor muscles and sphincter. Urine is stored in the bladder which fills like a balloon to accommodate up to two cups of urine. When a woman urinates the muscles surrounding the bladder contract to squeeze the urine out. Pelvic floor muscles support the uterus, bladder and rectum. There are also many nerves some of which send the signal to the brain that one needs to urinate. What occurs with stress urinary incontinence is that the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles when weakened cannot support the closure of the urethra when increased pressure from the abdomen occurs. Such as coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising. ("Medlineplus stress incontinence," 2011) Many women under the age of 65 develop issues with stress urinary incontinence following pregnancy and childbirth. Vaginal deliveries and episiotomies often result in stress urinary incontinence that is temporary and frequently clears up o its own within six weeks following delivery.

In addition to pregnancy and childbirth some women may experience stress urinary incontinence during menopause. Estrogen keeps the lining of the bladder and pelvic floor plump and healthy, when estrogen decreases during menopause, some women may develop mild urinary...
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