Why do I pee when I sneeze?

+17 votes
asked Jun 30, 2015 in Health & Wellness by Brooke (810 points)
This is so embarrassing. It seems lately every time I sneeze, or cough hard, or enjoy  a belly laugh, I pee a little bit. It’s gotten to the point I’m afraid one of these days I’ll sneeze and suddenly it will be more than just a little dribble that escapes and I might actually pee my pants in public. Is this normal for a 50 year old woman? Why do I pee when I sneeze? Should I talk to my doctor?

1 Answer

+18 votes
answered Jul 6, 2015 by Lyinda (820 points)
Not too long ago I helped a doctor write a blog about his specialty, urinary incontinence. I learned a tremendous amount about this condition, as you described “I pee when I sneeze”, that affects millions of women around the world. It’s a universal complaint, so please don’t think you are alone. And the good news is there are effective ways you can manage the condition.

Women mainly suffer from two types of urinary incontinence: urge incontinence and stress incontinence. Urge incontinence makes a woman have an uncontrollable urge to pee, immediately. If that need isn’t met quickly, urine leaks out.

Stress incontinence, which sounds like what you’re experiencing is caused by pressure to the bladder, forcing urine to escape.

Both of these conditions are a natural result of muscles that are beginning to show some signs of wear and tear. By the time they reach middle age, most women have experienced pregnancies and given birth. They’ve placed a great amount of stress on the muscles that support the bladder. Gravity has begun to take a gradual toll as well.

So what can we do about it? The most highly recommended action is to do Kegel exercises on a regular basis. These can be done inconspicuously anywhere, even at your desk at work. All you do is contract and hold, then release, the muscles you use to start and stop your pee. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it, but the results are often quite effective.

Other natural steps you can take are to cut down on foods known to irritate the bladder, like alcohol, caffeine, and some spices. If you smoke, quit. You’ll cough less and keep the pressure off your bladder. Drink plenty of water. Yes, that may sound counterproductive but it does help.

Fortunately today there are a variety of options available to prevent embarrassing accidents. Talk to your doctor about your situation. She can give you advice about available medications and which incontinence products may work best for you.
commented Jul 8, 2015 by Margaret (600 points)
edited Aug 23, 2015 by Kris
Thanks for sharing the answer to why do I pee when I sneeze.
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