Do You Leak When You Laugh? Find Out What's Causing Your Incontinence

You think that you’re healthy and in pretty good shape for your age, but your body’s giving you a counter-argument. You leak urine whenever your bladder’s under pressure when you cough, sneeze, or laugh, or even when you ‘re in gym class. Why are jumping jacks suddenly your bladder’s enemy?

You don’t want to start wearing “special” underpants or mini pads “just in case.” And you don’t have to. Sharon Smith, MD, and Andrea Alexander, MD, expert OB/GYNs at OBGYN Care of Houston in Houston, Texas, understand how frustrating urinary incontinence is. That’s why they offer more than one type of remedy for urinary incontinence and help you understand why you’re experiencing it now.

What’s going on in there

Leaking urine when your bladder’s stressed by sudden movements is called stress incontinence. If you’re lucky, you only leak a small amount of urine when you cough or laugh. But even so, just knowing that you’re not in control of your bladder can make you feel awkward, cause you to cross your legs when you laugh, or avoid situations where you might have a major leak.

Stress incontinence happens because the sphincter muscles  and other muscles in your urethra are weak. Healthy muscles hold back urine until you’ve decided to urinate, even if your bladder’s full. Weak muscles can’t stop the flow of urine, so when a cough or sneeze puts extra pressure on your bladder, the sphincter opens and urine trickles out.

The muscles of your pelvic floor and urethra may lose their strength when subjected to the forces of childbirth. Both your pelvic floor tissues and your nerve may be damaged during delivery, though you might not develop incontinence until years later.

Another culprit for weak pelvic floor and urethral muscles is simply getting older. As your hormonal balance shifts, your skin and muscles lose tone and strength. As your skin sags, so do your pelvic floor and urethral muscles.

Lifestyle changes help

Just as you can build up your arm, leg, and abdominal muscles, you can recondition your pelvic floor and urethral muscles, too. Your OBGYN of Houston doctor may recommend performing Kegel exercises throughout the day, every day, to engage and strengthen your pelvic floor.  She may also recommend drinking less water, avoiding caffeine, and losing weight.

BHRT rebalances you

If you developed stress incontinence as a result of the hormonal changes from perimenopause or menopause, your OB/GYN may recommend bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).  When your hormones are restored to a more youthful level, your skin and muscles look and act younger, too. BHRT resolves most symptoms of menopause, including painful sex and stress incontinence.

Botox® relaxes you

The same Botox that smooths out wrinkles in your brow can also be used to relax your bladder.  If your OB/GYN administers Botox for incontinence, she injects it into your bladder wall so that it can hold more urine without leaking. Not only does Botox improve stress incontinence, it may lessen the urge to urinate at night for up to 3-9 months.

The O-Shot® rejuvenates you

The O-Shot, is a special rejuvenating injection that’s made from the platelets and plasma in your own blood. Although the O-Shot is used primarily to improve tone and lubrication in your vagina, its benefits extend to all of your urogenital tissues.

A O-Shot triggers the production of new collagen and elastin in your vulva, vagina, and surrounding tissues to make them stronger and more resilient. Your pelvic floor muscles and urethra, too, are strengthened, so that your stress incontinence resolves.

Surgery repairs you 

Multiple childbirths or other traumas may have created too much damage for exercises, hormones, and PRP to remedy. In these cases, Dr. Smith or Dr. Alexander may recommend surgery to repair and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. 

To find out how to remedy your stress incontinence, call us today at 713-231-9277 or request an appointment online.

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