Why do I leak when I sneeze?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Sneezing at the wrong time, such as during a romantic moment, can be embarrassing enough. But if you have problems with bladder control, a simple sneeze can actually make you leak urine. That's because the force of a sneeze puts pressure on the bladder, the organ that stores urine. If the muscles that control your bladder have weakened, all that force may cause urine to leak before you can make it to a bathroom.

There is usually little you can do about sneezing, but your doctor can recommend strategies for strengthening the muscles that control your bladder and to help you avoid embarrassing urine leaks.

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner
Stress incontinence causes a bit of urine to leak when you sneeze because the bladder shifts position with age, or muscles in the area around the bladder become weak. Stress incontinence becomes more common after menopause. Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles often help symptoms of stress incontinence.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.