Stress urinary incontinence can be caused by a variety of factors. In some cases, it may be as minor as putting too much pressure on your bladder, which can be caused by exercising, laughing, sneezing, or coughing. Carrying and birthing a child - as well as menopause - are common causes for SUI in women. For men, a prostate gland removal may cause SUI.
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Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
May Wakamatsu, Obstetrics & Gynecology, answeredStress incontinence occurs when the urethral sphincter or pelvic floor muscles have been weakened or damaged and cannot dependably hold in urine. Stress incontinence is divided into two subtypes. In urethral hypermobility, the bladder and urethra shift downward when abdominal pressure rises, and there is no hammock-like support for the urethra to be compressed against to keep it closed. In intrinsic sphincter deficiency, problems in the urinary sphincter interfere with full closure or allow the sphincter to open under pressure. Many experts believe that women who have delivered vaginally are most likely to develop stress incontinence because giving birth has stretched and possibly damaged the pelvic floor muscles, connective tissue and nerves. Generally, the larger the baby, the longer the labor, the older the mother, and the greater the number of births, the more likely that incontinence will result.
Ageing is likewise a factor in stress incontinence. As a woman gets older, the muscles in her pelvic floor and urethra weaken, and it takes less pressure for the urethra to open and allow leakage. Estrogen can also play some role, although it is not clear how much. Many women do not experience symptoms until after menopause.
In men, the most frequent cause of stress incontinence is urinary sphincter damage sustained through prostate surgery or a pelvic fracture.
Lung conditions that cause frequent coughing can also contribute to stress incontinence in both men and women. Examples include emphysema and cystic fibrosis.
Stress incontinence is caused by weakness in the muscles and tissues that surround the bladder and urethra. The weakness prevents the urethra from
closing completely, so urine leaks out.
Risk factors for stress incontinence include anything that can lead to muscle and tissue weakness around the pelvic organs. For example, a prolapse -- when the bladder, urethra, or other pelvic organ bulges
or sinks down out of its normal position -- is sometimes an underlying cause. Childbirth, menopause, excess weight, increasing age, and smoking are other causes.