Why Do I Pee When I Sneeze?

by Courtney Virden

Pee In Pants in a commone pelvic floor dysfunction symptom for women.

Urinary incontinence (bladder leakage) affects 50 percent of all adult women. There are several types of urinary incontinence, and so many women are living with this is disheartening. I experienced this issue after the delivery of my children and have worked with countless women who had these issues. Women of all ages, even young girls, can experience incontinence. So let's go over different types of incontinence, why women are leaking urine so much and treating urinary incontinence.

Type of Urinary Incontinence

While there are several types of urinary incontinence, let's talk about the most common. The severity of symptoms usually ranges from occasional bladder leakage to the urge to urinate so strongly that there is no time for a trip to the bathroom. Leaving many women peeing in pants and embarrassed.

Stress incontinence has many women wondering, why do I pee when I cough, run, sneeze, or jump? Leaking urine from stress incontinence happens when pressure is exerted on the bladder. Pressure is from heavy lifting, sneezing, coughing, running, jumping, or laughing. Overflow Incontinence occurs when your bladder doesn't evacuate completely, so you experience a consistent drip of urine. Urge Incontinence is when you suddenly have a strong urge to urinate and experience bladder leakage involuntarily. With urge incontinence, some also experience the need to urinate frequently, and those with an overactive bladder often experience it. Functional Incontinence is bladder leakage from an impairment (mental or physical) that prohibits you from making it to the toilet. Mixed Incontinence describes an issue involving the person having more than one type of incontinence.

Why Am I Peeing when I Sneeze?

Bladder leakage is quite common during pregnancy and postpartum. Because with pregnancy, the fetus and maternal weight gain place significantly more pressure on our pelvic floor, which are muscles that support our bladder and urethra. Delivery also taxes the pelvic floor muscles. And interestingly, long-term women who have a c-section or vaginal devilry have no significant difference in occurrence of pelvic floor issues.

In addition to pregnancy and childbirth, there are several other risk factors for pelvic floor dysfunction. Risk factors include obesity, straining to use the restroom, age, pelvic surgery or trauma, heavy lifting, and even chronic coughing. Even without these risk factors, you can experience pelvic floor dysfunction, with incontinence being just one symptom. Sometimes a woman will have one symptom, and other times multiple dysfunction symptoms. Keep in mind it is not uncommon for symptoms to start slowly and gradually worsen with time.

A women's pelvic floor is a hammock of 14 muscles that surround and support our pelvic organs and the base of our "core." The function of the pelvic floor is vital for a healthy body, functional core, and bladder control. Interestingly, a hypertonic pelvic floor (too tight) can lead to incontinence just as one that is overly stretched (loose) can. Pelvic floor and core rehabilitation exercises are imperative for women with incontinence, which are symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction. If you experience any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction, it is crucial to address the issue with core and pelvic floor exercises. Common other symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction in women, besides urinary incontinence, are; constipation, bowel incontinence and problems, painful intercourse, trouble orgasming, pelvic organ prolapse, pain or pressure in the abdomen, pain or pressure in the pelvis, low back pain, and pain in the gentile or rectum.

Why Pelvic Floor Exercises for Incontinence

Pelvic floor dysfunction is the inability to contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Women can experience a hypertonic pelvic floor(too tight), an overly stretched and loose pelvic floor, or a combination. Appropriately addressing the underlying issue of incontinence for most women, the pelvic floor, a core and pelvic floor program is required.

Let's review how your pelvic floor works to help you understand why this happens. Your pelvic floor consists of 14 muscles, fascia, nerves, and blood vessels. There is an optimal length-tension relationship in the muscles and tissue of the pelvic floor. This balance gives it strength, flexibility, and elasticity. When this relationship is disrupted, it can lead to a pelvic floor that is too tight, too overstretched, or a combination of the two. Pregnancy, childbirth, heavy lifting, age, obesity, constipation, pelvic surgeries, pelvic surgery, and radiation to the pelvis are all risk factors for developing pelvic floor dysfunction. You can experience pelvic floor issues without having any of these risk factors. When our pelvic floor has an inappropriate length-tension relationship within the tissues, a woman will often experience various symptoms. One of the most common being incontinence.

Best Pelvic Floor Exercises for Incontinence

Now we know we must strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Do we need core rehab, pelvic floor exercises, and strength training. Yes, and you can achieve all three with the same program. It is crucial to learn how to relax your pelvic floor and lengthen it while strengthening it and building muscle. Remember that you want exercises that utilize concentric (tightening) and eccentric (lengthening) contractions. That way, you are covered if you need hypertonic pelvic floor exercises or ones for an overly stretched pelvic floor. In addition training your pelvic floor in all planes of movement and with instability mimics how our pelvic floor works daily, and the results speak for themselves.

For those pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, the best pregnancy workout program is a core and pelvic floor program for a prenatal workout. Exercising during pregnancy and throughout our lives is essential for so many different reasons. A good pelvic floor program will have you stop asking how to stop peeing when I cough and sneeze in less than 30 minutes a few times a week.

I rehabilitated my pelvic floor through my online pelvic floor programs, and so have countless women worldwide. All exercises are sequences to build upon one another and restore appropriate tone, strength, and elasticity in your pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor muscles are trained in all planes of motion while activating your deep core muscles and providing instability and strength training. These workout plans are perfect for prenatal fitness or any woman wanting to fix her bladder issues, strengthen her pelvic floor, or want optimal pelvic floor health. Other benefits include strong abdominal muscles, better sex, and improved posture.

4 Pelvic Floor Exercises for a Healthy Pelvic Floor

These four exercises from my online pelvic floor exercise program will get you started. For some, this is enough, but most with dysfunction will need a pelvic floor program designed to correct the pelvic floor muscles and the strength, tone, and elasticity of those muscles. 

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