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'Why do I pee when I sneeze?'

Posted on Apr. 23, 2012 ( comments)

Why do I pee when I sneeze?

It’s a question many women have but don’t want to ask. But we’re here to help. The first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Millions of women worry that a burst of laughter, a sudden sneeze or a bad cough will be more than their leaky bladder can handle.

This situation is called stress incontinence. The urethra (tube you urinate through) is unable to keep urine in the bladder. You may leak when you laugh, cough, run or jump.

Stress urinary incontinence is seen predominantly in women. The pelvic floor muscles are the key muscles that control urine loss during increases of intra-abdominal pressure. This condition can be caused by childbirth, weight gain, or other conditions that stretch the pelvic floor muscles. The muscles and nerves that help hold and release urine also can be damaged by stroke or other problems.

Now, the good news: Help is available.

Talk to your doctor about your options, which include physical therapy, and surgical and non-surgical treatments.

One of the easiest ways to address this problem is through Kegel exercises. They are easy to do and can be done anywhere without anyone knowing.

First, as you are sitting or lying down, try to contract the muscles you would use to stop urinating. You should feel your pelvic muscles squeezing your urethra and bottom. If your stomach or buttocks muscles tighten, you are not exercising the right muscles.

When you’ve found the right way to contract the pelvic muscles, squeeze for 3 seconds and then relax for 3 seconds.

Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times per session. Try to do this at least 3 times a day. Kegel exercises are only effective when done regularly. The more you exercise, the more likely it is that the exercises will help.

So why live with the embarrassment of incontinence? Get the treatment you need to laugh again.

Dr. Danielle Price is a urogynecologist certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She sees patients who require medical or surgical treatment for various pelvic floor disorders, including bladder control issues, fecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, chronic pelvic pain and trauma associated with childbirth. To make an appointment, call 253-301-5120.

Posted in: Tacoma | Women's Health

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Dr. Danielle Price
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