The key symptom of SUI is when urine leaks out during any activity that increases abdominal pressure. The amount can be a few drops to tablespoons or more. If you have mild SUI, you will leak during forceful activities such as exercise. You may also leak when you sneeze, laugh, cough or lift something heavy. If your SUI is moderate or more severe, you may also leak when you do less strenuous activities, like standing up or bending over.
These symptoms are different from urge incontinence or overactive bladder (OAB). With OAB, you feel an urgent and uncontrollable need to urinate. This "urgent" feeling could happen quite often. Leaks may involve a large amount of urine. For more information about OAB, visit our OAB web page.
How Can SUI Affect my Life?
Many people find that SUI gets in the way of daily and social activities. It can affect family and sexual relationships. Some people even begin to feel isolated and hopeless because of it.
You may be embarrassed about this problem. You may not want to talk about it with a loved one or even a doctor. Please know that your primary care practitioner or a specialist can help.
Ask yourself whether leaking urine or the fear of leaking urine has:
- Stopped you from doing things outside of your home?
- Caused you to be afraid to be too far from a bathroom or a change of clothes?
- Stopped you from exercising or playing sports?
- Changed the way you live because you're afraid of leaks?
- Made you uncomfortable with yourself and your body?
- Changed your relationships with friends or family?
- Made you avoid sex because you are worried that you will leak urine and be embarrassed?
If you answer yes to some of these questions, you should know that things can change for the better. There are many ways to manage and treat SUI.