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Stress incontinence; is it normal to pee when you cough?

Posted on: February 25th, 2018 by Jenna Lewis
Jenna Lewis

Jenna’s background as a Kinesiologist prior to becoming a Physiotherapist has provided a strong foundation for the treatment and management of injuries. Whether she is treating acute or chronic injuries as a result of sports, active lifestyle, repetitive work behaviors, motor vehicle accidents or other disease conditions, she integrates her exercise based background into the treatment plan. Book with Jenna now.


Urinary incontinence is a condition that affects both men and women. 65% of women sitting in a doctors waiting room report some type of urinary incontinence. (Byles & Chiarelli, 2003). Yet, many people do not seek help for this type of problem.

One reason people don’t seek help is that they think it is a normal part of the aging process. However, incontinence is not inevitable and it is not irreversible. Urinary incontinence can have a negative impact on quality of life and often interferes unnecessarily in recreational and occupational activities.

What is stress incontinence?

Stress incontinence is an involuntary loss of urine due to some sort of pressure or activity. Many women experience incontinence when they cough, sneeze, jump and/or run.  It is common, but it is NOT normal!!

What causes this type of urine leakage?

Many women can experience this type of leakage after having babies or post menopause. It can be related to trauma, hormones, strength, or improper activation of the pelvic floor muscles. Often women try kegels but it doesn’t always solve the problem.

What are kegels?

Kegels are just a name for pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises. You can find a lot of information on google, but written or verbal instruction often is just not good enough.

Some women may only need to work on strengthening using kegels to help this issue. However, most of my patients tell me that they are really not sure if they are doing kegels properly. It is a hard area to strengthen and feel confident that you are doing the right thing for your particular situation.

How can physiotherapy help?

There are a small number of physiotherapists who have extensive training in the treatment of incontinence and pelvic pain. A physiotherapists will assess your situation to figure out why you are experiencing urine leakage.

They will then give you an individualized home exercise program designed to help with your specific set of problems. The most important part is that they teach you how to exercise properly.

A physiotherapist is the only health care professional that will teach you how to conservatively treat incontinence; no surgery, no pills, and no risk. So, it’s worth getting checked.

Remember, you don’t have to live with this problem!

~Jenna

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