Our Houston area urologists treat a variety of conditions and illnesses

Stress Incontinence

You don’t have to live with stress incontinence

Are you dealing with bladder leaks when you laugh, sneeze, cough, change your position, lift heavy things, have sex or exercise? You may be dealing with stress incontinence. It’s also known as stress urinary incontinence, or SUI. Our Houston urologists are highly trained to be incontinence specialists who can help you with expert diagnosis, management, and treatment.

The majority of cases happen in women, but men also get SUI. Whether you leak a couple of drops of urine or a larger amount, you probably feel annoyed and embarrassed. You may even be avoiding social interactions because you’re concerned about leakage. The good news is, we can help.

What causes stress urinary incontinence?

Your pelvic floor muscles support your urethra and your bladder. When those muscles get weak, the pressure from your bladder allows urine to leak out involuntarily. Several things can weaken those muscles and cause stress incontinence.

  • Pregnancy and childbirth, particularly vaginal birth
  • Menopause
  • Pelvic organ prolapse, or POP
  • Pelvic surgeries, such as hysterectomy in women or surgery for prostate cancer or an enlarged prostate in men
  • Injuries that affect the nerves in the lower back or pelvis
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Conditions that cause chronic coughing
  • Certain medications

Stress incontinence affects twice as many women as men. The risk increases as you get older because physical changes such as menopause can weaken pelvic floor muscles.

Diagnosing SUI

When you come to our office with stress urinary incontinence symptoms, such as bladder leaks, we perform a physical examination, take a urine sample and discuss your medical history. Our Houston incontinence specialists may perform a neurological examination to check for problems with the pelvic nerves, or may order a urinary stress test. Usually, our physicians can diagnose SUI without further tests, but they may also order bladder function tests, imaging tests or a cystoscopy procedure to examine your urethra and bladder for abnormalities or blockages.

Managing and treating stress incontinence

Once we have diagnosed your stress urinary incontinence, we will talk to you about lifestyle changes you can make to help with your symptoms. These changes include getting to and maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding food and drinks that trigger leakage, such as coffee, carbonated drinks or chocolate. We also advise you to add high-fiber foods to your diet and stop smoking.

A variety of treatments go beyond lifestyle changes. You may need one or more of these remedies to manage your SUI.

  • Behavioral therapies include physical therapy for your pelvic floor muscles and bladder training.
  • Devices, such as vaginal pessaries or urethral inserts, help control urine leakage.
  • Common surgical interventions include a sling procedure to help support the urethra or injectable bulking agents to improve the sphincter’s ability to close.

Our Houston urologists can help with annoying, embarrassing bladder leaks

Stress incontinence is a common problem, but many people are too embarrassed to talk about it. Our compassionate team can help you get to a better quality of life. Don’t miss out on activities, relationships and fun because of bladder leaks. Contact us for an appointment with our Houston incontinence specialists today.