What is Stress Urinary Incontinence?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

November 19, 2021 Lifestyle Diseases 418 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is the meaning of Stress Urinary Incontinence?

An unintentional loss of urine is known as urinary incontinence. Stress incontinence occurs when physical movement or activity or movement such as laughing, coughing, running, sneezing, or heavy lifting puts stress or pressure on the bladder, causing urine leakage. Stress urinary incontinence is not related to psychological stress.

Stress incontinence is more common in women as compared to men. Stress incontinence can cause embarrassment, and limit your social and work life. The treatment for stress incontinence can help in the improvement of your overall well-being. 

In this article, we will be discussing in detail about stress urinary incontinence.

  • What are the causes of Stress Urinary Incontinence?
  • What are the risk factors of Stress Urinary Incontinence?
  • What are the symptoms of Stress Urinary Incontinence?
  • How to diagnose Stress Urinary Incontinence?
  • What is the treatment for Stress Urinary Incontinence?
  • What are the complications of Stress Urinary Incontinence?
  • How to prevent Stress Urinary Incontinence?
  • What is the cost of Stress Urinary Incontinence treatment in India?

What are the causes of Stress Urinary Incontinence?

Stress urinary incontinence occurs when the muscles and the other tissues supporting the urethra (a tube through which the urine leaves the body) known as the pelvic floor muscles, and the muscles controlling the release of urine (known as urinary sphincter muscles) weaken.

This occurs in the following cases:

  • Childbirth
  • Prostate surgery (the surgical removal of the prostate gland, which is a tube that drains urine from the urethra or bladder)
  • Illnesses that can lead to chronic (gradual, long-term) coughing
  • Obesity
  • High-impact activities like jumping and running
  • Smoking

( Know more about- What is Prostate Surgery? Purpose, Procedure, Aftercare, Cost )

What are the risk factors of Stress Urinary Incontinence?

Certain factors increase the risk of developing stress urinary incontinence. These factors include:

  • Increase in age
  • Vaginal childbirth 
  • Forceps delivery (tong-like medical instruments used for grasping the baby’s head and gently guiding the baby out of the birth canal)
  • Obesity
  • History of pelvic surgery, for example, hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) in women and prostate surgery in men

( Know more about- What is C- section (Cesarean Delivery )? Purpose, Procedure, Aftercare, Cost )

What are the symptoms of Stress Urinary Incontinence?

The symptoms of stress urinary incontinence include leakage of urine on:

  • Laughing
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Having sex
  • Exercising
  • Bending over
  • Lifting something heavy

How to diagnose Stress Urinary Incontinence?

  • Physical examination: The doctor will physically examine the patient, and ask about the medical history of the patient.
  • Pelvic exam: The doctor will insert one or two of his lubricated, gloved fingers into the vagina of a woman to check the internal reproductive organs of a woman.
  • Rectal exam: A lubricated, gloved finger is inserted by the doctor into the rectum to check the prostate gland in men.
  • Urine tests: These are done to check for infections, traces of blood, or other abnormalities.
  • Neurological examination: This is done to identify any problems with the pelvic nerve.
  • Urinary stress test: A test by which the doctor observes the loss of urine on coughing or bearing down.
  • Bladder function or urodynamic tests: These tests may be done to check how well the urethra, bladder, and sphincter function. These tests include:
  • Measuring the post-void residual urine: An ultrasound scan is used by the doctor, in which sound waves are used to create an image of the bladder to check how much urine is left in the bladder after urinating.
  • Cystometry: It is a test done to measure the pressure in the bladder and the surrounding region as the bladder fills.
  • Video urodynamics: It is a test done to create images of the bladder as it fills up and empties.
  • Cystoscopy: A scope is inserted into the bladder to check for blockages or any other abnormalities in the urethra and bladder.

( Know more about- What is Endoscopy? Types, Purpose, Procedure, Results)

What is the treatment for Stress Urinary Incontinence?

The doctor may recommend the following modes of treatment for stress urinary incontinence:

  • Behavior therapies: These therapies help in lessening or eliminating stress incontinence. It may include the following treatments:
  • Kegel exercises: These exercises are done to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and the urinary sphincter.
  • Fluid consumption: The doctor will recommend when and how much fluid consumption should be enough to avoid urinary incontinence, yet just enough to prevent dehydration. The doctor advises avoiding carbonated, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages.
  • Lifestyle changes: Making some healthy lifestyle choices like quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, or treatment of a chronic (long-term) cough will lessen the risk of stress incontinence.
  • Bladder training: The doctor may recommend a schedule for toileting. The frequent voiding of the bladder reduces the severity of urinary incontinence.


  • Antidepressants like duloxetine are known to be effective in the treatment of stress incontinence. Nausea is the common side effect of taking the medication. The symptoms return once the medicine is stopped.
  • Devices: Some devices that are designed for women help in controlling stress incontinence, which include:
  • Vaginal pessary: It is a device shaped like a ring with two bumps that sit on either side of the urethra, which is fitted into place by the doctor. It supports the base of the bladder and prevents the urine from leaking during activity. It is commonly used in cases when the bladder has dropped (prolapsed) and requires routine removal and cleaning.
  • Urethral inserts: This is a small tampon-like disposable device that is inserted into the urethra. It acts as a barrier and prevents urinary leakage. They can be worn for up to eight hours a day.
  • Surgery: A surgery may be performed to improve the closure of the sphincter muscles, or support the neck of the bladder. The different surgical options are:
  • Sling procedure: The surgeon uses the patient’s own tissue, donor tissue, animal tissue, or synthetic material for creating a sling or hammock to support the urethra.
  • Injectable bulking agents: Certain bulking agents like synthetic gels are injected into the tissues around the upper part of the urethra, causing the area around the uterus to bulk up and improving the ability of the sphincter to close.
  • Retropubic colposuspension: This is a surgical procedure in which sutures are attached to the ligaments along the public bone for lifting and supporting the tissues near the upper portion of the urethra and near the bladder neck.
  • Inflatable artificial sphincter: This procedure is performed in men. A cuff that fits around the upper portion of the urethra replaces the sphincter’s function. The cuff is connected to a pressure-regulating balloon in the pelvic region and a pump in the scrotum region by tubes.

( Know more about- What is Kidney Transplant Surgery? Purpose, Procedure, Aftercare, Cost )

What are the complications of Stress Urinary Incontinence?

The complications of stress urinary incontinence include:

  • Emotional distress
  • Skin rash or irritation
  • Mixed urinary incontinence: It is a condition that includes both, stress incontinence and urgency incontinence, which is the unintentional loss of urine that results due to an overactive bladder causing an urgent need for urination
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Complications associated with surgery are:
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Bladder injury
  • Intestinal injury
  • Fistula (an abnormal connection between two organs) formation
  • Abscess (pocket of pus collection) formation
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Sexual dysfunction

( Know more about- What is Hematuria ( Blood in Urine ) ? )

How to prevent Stress Urinary Incontinence?

Although stress incontinence cannot be always prevented, the following changes can help in decreasing the risk of developing stress incontinence:

  • Avoid drinking water before going to bed
  • Avoid drinking excess fluid
  • Avoid running or jumping
  • Consume a fiber-rich diet 
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Keep your blood sugar levels under control
  • Avoid spicy foods, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks as they may irritate your bladder

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What is the cost of Stress Urinary Incontinence treatment in India?

The total cost of stress urinary incontinence treatment in India can range from around INR 10,000 to INR 1,00,000. However, the cost of the procedure may vary across different hospitals. There are many big hospitals and specialized doctors in India for stress urinary incontinence treatment. The cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, in addition to the expenses of stress urinary incontinence treatment, there will be a cost of staying in a hotel, cost of living, and cost of local travel. Apart from this, after the procedure, the patient is kept in hospital for 7 days and in the hotel for 15 days for recovery after surgery. So, the total cost of stress urinary incontinence treatment in India will be around INR 13,000 to INR 1,30,000. 

We hope that we were able to answer all your questions regarding Stress Urinary Incontinence through this article.

If you want more information and treatment for Stress Urinary Incontinence, you can contact the Nephrologist.

We only aim to give you information through the article and do not recommend medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you the best advice and correct treatment plan. 

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