When a sneeze occurs, it shouldn’t cause bladder leakage.

Sneezing can cause urinary incontinence, but that doesn’t mean a person has to live with it. A urologist can help.

Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control (leaking urine). Urinary incontinence often occurs in postpartum women and seniors. Stroke, dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s or injuries are common causes. Incontinence may come in a variety of types, including:

  • Stress incontinence. Urinary leakage that occurs when abdominal pressure is placed on the bladder often caused by coughing, sneezing, laughing or exercising. This is common in women after vaginal deliveries.
  • Urge incontinence. The sudden urge to urinate followed by an uncontrolled loss of urine. Urge incontinence may cause frequent urination neck and continued throughout the night. This type of incontinence may be caused by many conditions.
  • Overflow incontinence. When a bladder does not fully empty, patients may have frequent urination or constant dribbling of urine.
  • Lack of mobility. This is urinary incontinence that occurs because the patient’s mobility is limited and they cannot get to the bathroom in time.
  • Mixed incontinence is a combination of more than one type of the above.

Any activity that increases pressure on the bladder can cause vulnerability to urine loss, especially when the bladder is full. Stress incontinence is more common in women than men and occurs when the pelvic floor muscles weaken with age and childbirth.

Although incontinence may have numerous causes, the following are common reasons why you or your loved one may have stress incontinence:

  1. Childbirth. During childbirth, tissue and nerve damage may occur during the delivery of an infant. Damage to these tissues and nerves may create weak pelvic floor muscles and can begin incontinence soon after delivery or years later.
  1. Prostate surgery. The most common factor for male stress incontinence is the surgical removal of the prostate gland to treat prostate cancer. This procedure may weaken the sphincter.
  1. Hysterectomy surgery. Similar to the male’s prostate surgery, when a hysterectomy is performed it can alter the support of the bladder and urethra. This creates a perfect scenario to develop stress incontinence.
  1. Body weight. Individuals who are obese are at a higher risk for stress incontinence. Excessive weight can increase the pressure placed on the abdominal and pelvic organs.
  1. High-impact activities. Activities such as running and jumping, over many years, may impact the bladder and cause stress incontinence.
  1. Age. Although aging does not directly result in stress incontinences, it can result in physical changes. These changes can weaken muscles and create a susceptible environment for stress incontinence to occur. However, stress incontinence can take place at any age.

“Kegel exercises can greatly improve the strength and function of the pelvic floor muscles,” said JRMC Urologist Dr. Robert Bates. “These exercises can be done in the car, at work or at home.”

Still having urine leakage? Contact our urology team and schedule direct: (701) 952-4878.


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