What’s one of the most common misconceptions about stress urinary incontinence? That it only happens to postpartum women or older women who’ve give birth.
Sure, many moms experience leakage issues—but they aren’t the only ones. In fact, between 10 percent and 50 percent of women who have never had kids deal with SUI. Yes, really.
See, SUI is caused by an increase of pressure pushing on the bladder. There are a variety of life events or body issues that cause pressure, which ultimately leads to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles (these are what support your bladder!).
Oh, and once those pelvic floor muscles become weak? Forget it—everything from sneezing to laughing can make you leak.
Now, back to what can cause SUI! It can help some people if they understand the why before they start solving their pee problems. Here, some of the most common culprits.
That Little Bundle of Joy
Okay, so we already touched on this one. Here’s why that sweet little baby can lead to SUI: Carrying a baby puts stress on your pelvic floor and can weaken it. And delivering a baby vaginally puts even more stress on that area. Plus, hormonal changes that occur with pregnancy and postpartum can also affect those muscles.
That’s a lot, right? And we’re not even done. In the weeks after childbirth, your uterus works hard to shrink back to normal size. While it does this, it sits right on top of your bladder, adding even more pressure that can lead to leaks.
Going Through Menopause
Research has found that more than 50 percent of post menopausal women experience SUI. As we mentioned above, hormone shifts can increase your chances of leakage. When you go through menopause, your estrogen levels change—something that can be particularly problematic. That’s because estrogen helps keep your bladder and urethra functioning properly. So, when your estrogen levels drop during menopause, it can weaken your pelvic floor.
Getting Your Sweat On
Over 30% of female athletes deal with bladder leaks—this includes women who dance, do aerobics, play volleyball and beyond. There are a few things at play here. First, high impact sports can put a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor, weakening it.
Many people also have a tendency to hold their breath as they do things like lift weights or land from a jump. Holding your breath expands your diaphragm, putting pressure on your bladder and weakening it.
Another reason to stay in shape! Holding extra weight in the midsection of your body puts pressure on your bladder. This pressure can weaken or damage your pelvic floor and urethral structures, making bladder leaks more likely.
Being overweight isn’t the only unhealthy thing that can lead to SUI. Chronic coughing caused by smoking can also contribute to SUI.
Nothing at All
Here’s a hard truth: There’s not always a direct cause. There are plenty of young women who have never done any of the above things that still live with pee problems every day.
The good news is that there is something you can do about it. The key is to strengthen your pelvic floor. You’ll want to do this via Kegel exercises. Do them manually by tightening the muscles like you’re sitting on a blueberry and lifting it, until you feel your muscles rise. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax and release.
One thing to know: Many women do them incorrectly, which can make things worse. This is why INNOVO was created. It provides an easy, at-home solution that’s safe and clinically-proven to treat urinary incontinence. In just 30 minutes you’ll get 180 kegels delivered right to your pelvic floor muscles with every session. Use INNOVO for 30 minutes a day, five days a week for 12 weeks as a proven way to eliminate bladder leaks. 80% of women see results in as little as four weeks.