Many women meet one embarrassing situation: I pee when I sneeze. Many women who have gained weight, have been pregnant, dealt with a traumatic delivery, or have had constipation or a urinary tract infection have dealt with this urinary leakage. Some older women also have it for years. What causes this and how it can be remedied is especially important if it is affecting your work or social life. Keep reading to find the reasons and management strategies.
Why Do I Pee When I Sneeze?
Most people who suffer from uncontrolled urination while sneezing have a condition known as stress incontinence. Normally, the bladder will expand when it fills with urine. Muscles in the urethra are closed as the bladder expands, so that you will not pee until you reach a bathroom. But when the muscles weaken, any sort of stress on the body, especially something sudden, can lead to urine leakage. And sneezing is one of the situations.
Among women who have given childbirth, their pelvic floor muscles may not function well because of tissue or nerve damage in the delivery. So some women may unconsciously pee when they sneeze, either soon after child birth or years later. This situation can also occur among men who have prostate surgery. The sphincter is likely to be damaged because it lies below prostate gland and around urethra.
How to Treat Sneeze-Induced Urine Leakage
When you understand the answer to “Why do I pee when I sneeze”, you may be eager to find the strategies to alleviate the embarrassment the problem can bring. The good news is that there are several straightforward treatments, most that you can do at home and in private.
1. Behavior Changes
Changing how you handle your day-to-day life can make a big difference. Cut down on alcohol and caffeine, stop smoking, lose weight, keep your blood sugar under control, and avoid foods or drinks that seem to irritate the bladder. Take fiber to avoid constipation and never hold your urine. Go when you feel the urge.
2. Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
The muscles in your pelvic floor are responsible for supporting the bladder, urethra and surrounding areas. Working with those muscles through the use of biofeedback, vaginal cones, kegel exercises or physical therapy that targets those muscles can be helpful. Some women find that using all of the above leads to a marked improvement in urine leakage within a matter of weeks.
You can watch the video below and try the kegel exercises to improve your urine leakage situation.
Some medications might work to give relief when you are plagued with the problem “why do I pee when I sneeze”. Drugs that block bladder contractions or enhance bladder relaxation might be great options. Estrogen therapy, used as a tablet, cream or vaginal ring, can also help. The idea is that any medication that relaxes the bladder will help alleviate leakage. Keep in mind that this doesn’t work for everyone, and usually only works for those with mild to moderate stress incontinence.
If nothing else works or your urine leakage is severe, surgery might be the answer. Anterior vaginal repair to correct a bladder prolapse is often helpful. Sling procedures, vaginal tape or suspensions can help lift the bladder. Bulking injections thicken the area around the urethra to help control leakage. Each of these should be considered after careful consultation with your doctor.
Sometimes hearing the experiences of others who have gone through the same problem can be helpful. Here are a few stories:
It happened each time I was pregnant, but after I had my third baby, it didn’t clear up. I pee a little bit every time I cough or sneeze or even get up fast from a chair. It’s like there is no control down there. Sometimes it feels like I can’t get my bladder empty, and I feel like I always have to pee, no matter what. Right now all I can do is wear a pantyliner, and if I am going out to the store or something, I actually wear a pad that was designed for heavy flow periods. I’m not sure what to do and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse – I’m only 30!
Why do I pee when I sneeze?This is strange. I have never been pregnant, never had any surgeries or problems ‘down there,’ and I do my kegel exercises religiously, every single day, all the time. But I still pee every time I sneeze. Sometimes it’s just a little bit, but most of the time lately it’s a lot, enough that I have to wear a pantyliner to protect my clothes. I hate the feeling of not being able to control it. My doctor was concerned enough to order a few tests, and I’m hopeful that we will figure out what’s wrong soon.