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Stress Incontinence: How to Manage and Treat Symptoms

Stress Incontinence: How to Manage and Treat Symptoms

Stress incontinence is a condition that involves the involuntary loss of bladder control during strenuous physical activity or exertion. In other cases, actions that put pressure on the abdomen can cause accidental leakage. The condition stems from the weakening of the urethra’s support structures due to things like injury, old age, or surgery. While there is still no cure for this condition, treatment of stress incontinence exists in the form of symptom management.

Available Treatment Options

Stress incontinence is more common among senior citizens, women who have recently given birth, and people who are overweight or obese. While there is no cure for the condition, there are certainly ways to treat or manage its symptoms. The following are methods available for the treatment of stress incontinence:

Muscle Training

Strengthening weak pelvic muscles can help retain some control over one’s bladder. The following are ways in which you can train your pelvic floor muscles:

Kegel’s Maneuver/ Exercises. You can practice this maneuver throughout the day by squeezing and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles repeatedly.

Biofeedback. This is a mind-to-body technique that can help you gain some control over usually involuntary body functions and the pelvic floor muscles.

Vaginal Cones. These are cones that can be inserted inside of a woman’s vagina. Once in place, the woman can squeeze her pelvic floor muscles to try and keep the cone in place for 15 minutes. This can be done twice a day for around 1 to 2 months.

Physical Therapy. Having a physical therapist assist with additional exercises and maneuvers is a safe way of undergoing muscle strengthening, especially for older patients or those with disabilities.

Lifestyle Changes

Since stress incontinence can strike without a moment’s notice, it’s good to take certain precautions against accidental leaks. Here are a few ways to modify your lifestyle as treatment for stress incontinence:

Bladder Training

Bladder training is a sort of conditioning that you can do with help from your doctor. In bladder training, the patient follows a schedule for going to the bathroom to urinate. Eventually, the intervals between bathroom trips slowly increases, allowing the body to adjust to and familiarize itself with the routine over time.


If the stress incontinence stems from other conditions or does not respond to other means of symptom management, your doctor may suggest surgical intervention as a treatment of stress incontinence. The following are some examples of possible options:

Urethral Sling. This is a mesh that can be used to give support to the urethra.

Retropubic suspension. This is a device that can lift and support the bladder and urethra.

Bulking injections. These are injections that can thicken the tissue around the urethra, forming a sort of new sphincter to help control leaks.

Artificial urinary sphincter. This is a device that you can use to prevent urine from leaking. It is generally men than women.

Anterior Vaginal Repair. This refers to a spectrum of possible surgical procedures that involve repairing or reinforcing the vaginal walls. This procedure typically addresses a prolapse (displacement of an organ) through the vagina.

Key Takeaway

While there’s no cure-all for stress incontinence, there are plenty of ways for you to manage the symptoms of your condition. These include lifestyle changes, muscle strengthening, bladder training, and surgery. Talk to your doctor about what strategies are best for you.

Learn more about Urinary Incontinence here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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Written by Tracey Romero Updated Jun 29
Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, M.D.