stress incontinence

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The leakage of urine on laughing, coughing, straining, or even walking. It is common in women whose pelvic floor muscles have been weakened during childbirth. Specific postnatal exercises, such as stride jumps, can reduce the risk of stress incontinence.

Female athletes who perform heavy exercises that raise their abdominal pressure (e.g. basketball players, weight-lifters, and javelin throwers) may also suffer stress incontinence. Extreme exertion can reduce the collagen that helps to bind the tissue in the pelvic floor.

Special pelvic floor exercises have been designed to reduce the risk of stress incontinence. One unusual form of exercise uses weights inserted like a tampon into the vagina for 20–30 minutes each day. The pelvic floor muscles are strengthened by the pubococcygeal muscles contracting to keep the weights in place. Sometimes, stress incontinence can be treated by surgery. See also pelvic floor lift.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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