Stress incontinence symptoms, causes, and treatments in Chicago

Stress urinary incontinence refers to unintentional urine loss with physical activity or movement such as sneezing, running, coughing, or lifting heavy weights creates pressure (stress) on the bladder. Dr. Sanjay Gandhi will educate the patient during the initial consultation about stress incontinence symptoms, causes, and treatments in Chicago.

consultation about stress incontinence symptoms, causes and treatments

Stress incontinence is unrelated to psychological stress. It is also not the same as urge incontinence. In urge incontinence, unintentional urine loss happens due to the contraction of bladder muscles, typically related to a sense of urgency. Stress incontinence occurs much more in women than it does in men.

Stress incontinence may make a person feel embarrassed, prefer isolation, or limit their social and professional life, specifically leisure and exercise-related activities. The correct treatment can help manage stress incontinence as well enhance the overall quality of life.


If a person suffers from stress incontinence, they may have urine leakage when:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Laughing
  • Exercising
  • Standing
  • Lifting
  • During Intercourse
  • Lift a heavy object

One may not experience leakage or stress incontinence each time you undertake these activities. However, any action that increases pressure can make you more susceptible to loss of urine, especially when the bladder is full. Consult your doctor if such symptoms adversely impact your daily routines such as hobbies and social and professional life.


Stress incontinence happens when the muscles and supporting tissues of the bladder weaken.

When the bladder fills with urine, it expands. Any activity that puts pressure on the pelvic and abdominal muscles such as bending over, laughing, sneezing, and lifting heavy objects can lead to leakage of urine.

The muscles in the pelvic floor, as well as urinary sphincter, can lose their strength due to:


Improper function of the muscles in the pelvic floor or the sphincter may happen in women due to nerve or tissue damage during childbirth. Stress incontinence from such damage can start soon after the delivery or several years later.

Other Reasons

Other reasons that may cause stress incontinence to worsen are:

  • Disease that leads to chronic sneezing or coughing
  • Obesity
  • Smoking, which leads to frequent bouts of coughing
  • High-impact activities such as jumping and running, over the course of several years


There are non-invasive as well as surgical treatments available for addressing stress incontinence. The ideal treatment for stress urinary incontinence is dependent on various factors such as the overall state of health and the severity of the incontinence. Dr. Sanjay Gandhi will discuss stress incontinence symptoms, causes, and treatments in Chicago with the patient.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

Pelvic floor muscle exercises

Pelvic floor exercises known as Kegel exercises may help you strengthen your urinary sphincter and muscles of the pelvic floor. Your physician or physical therapist can assist you in learning how to perform these exercises correctly. Similar to other exercise regimens, the effectiveness of Kegel exercises depends on the regular performance of these movements.

Biofeedback is a technique that can be used together with Kegel exercises to increase their effectiveness. Biofeedback uses electrical stimulation or pressure sensors to reinforce the proper contraction of muscles.


Medication is not an effective treatment for stress incontinence. However, it can be useful in the treatment of other forms of incontinence.

Surgical Procedures

Injectable bulking agents

Gels or synthetic polysaccharides can be injected into the tissues surrounding the upper part of the urethra. These materials offer bulk to the region surrounding the urethra, enhancing the ability of the sphincter to close.

Sling procedure

This is a standard procedure for women suffering from stress urinary incontinence. During this procedure, the surgeon utilizes the patient’s own tissue, synthetic material (mesh), donor or animal tissue to develop a hammock or sling to offer support to the urethra.

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Sanjay Gandhi, M.D.

Sanjay Gandhi, M.D.
Partners in Pelvic Health North Shore Urogynecology

Conditions affecting the female pelvis are the focus at Partners in Pelvic Health North Shore Urogynecology. We provide effective solutions for these problems from our offices at Park City, Woodstock, and Lake Forest in Illinois.

Our team is headed by Sanjay Gandhi, MD, Urogynecologist. Dr. Gandhi’s specialized education included a residency in gynecology and obstetrics at Northwestern University and a three-year urogynecology fellowship. He is among a few in the country to pass the first examination in Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery (URPS) of The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He also teaches healthcare students.