Often a taboo subject and a very distressing condition for those who suffer, incontinence affects more people than we may realise. The most common type of incontinence in females is stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or effort incontinence. This is the loss of small amounts of urine commonly associated with coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or other movements that increase the pressure on the bladder.
Urinary incontinence is typically caused by inadequate closure of the bladder. The urethra (tube which connects to the bladder) is normally supported by connective tissue and muscle of the pelvic floor. If this support is insufficient then the urethra does not close properly at times of increased abdominal pressure, allowing urine to pass involuntary. In women common causes of SUI are pregnancy, childbirth, obesity and menopause.