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Sneeze Pee - The struggle is real

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

What causes the “Sneeze-Pee” and what can we do about it.

Recently a group of friends were having a conversation over a glass of wine that went something like this “The sneeze-pee – guys, the struggle is real. But I suppose it’s pretty normal given that I pushed a baby out of my vagina. Something has to change because of that, right? Isn’t the sneeze pee normal and to be expected after babies?” If some of my friends, totally understandably, still wonder about this, then this might be a topic worth discussing a bit more.

So, the first thing you need to know about the sneeze-pee is that it is an involuntary (meaning uncontrollable) response to physical activities such as sneezing, jumping, coughing and laughing. This response is known as stress incontinence. It is common, with statistics of some form of stress incontinence experienced in up to 35% of women. Another misconception is that the “sneeze pee” or stress incontinence only occurs in women who have given birth, but the truth is that it can also affect women who have had c-sections as well as women who have never given birth.

It is important that we talk about the sneeze, cough, laugh, fart, trampoline, running, gymming or pee and whatever we do, we shouldn’t ignore this condition or just accept it as part of life.

Although seeming to be no more than a nuisance, the sneeze pee might actually be a warning sign of pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organs being your uterus, bladder, rectum, small intestine and vagina. Women can have one, or several organs prolapse. The most common of these being the bladder prolapse. Studies have shown that around 63% of women with urinary stress incontinence also had pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse can come with several other symptoms such as constipation, pain during sex and pelvic floor pressure and these symptoms may worsen over time. Therefore it’s never a good idea to just leave it and hope it goes away by itself. Rather have a proper pelvic exam and rule out any signs of prolapse.

Your sneeze pee might also be telling you of a potential back or pelvis problem. The muscles which help stabilize your back and pelvis might have somehow lost strength and/or mobility. This means there is a greater risk for you to have problems such as pubic symphysis disfunction, degenerative discs, sacroiliac joint problems and bulging discs, all of which sound as bad as they are, but can be rectified and are avoidable.

Do not be tempted into thinking that you can always have surgery if it gets bad. Surgery is often not the solution to stress incontinence that people assume it will be. The statistics for successful stress incontinence surgery isn’t as great as you would hope it would be. 60% of women who have had this type of surgery report still suffering from incontinence two years after having had surgery.

Now I’m sure some of you are thinking at this stage, well there’s always my Kegel exercises.

Your pelvis is the area between your hips and your pelvic floor is a series of muscles and tissues that forms a sling, or hammock, at the bottom of your pelvis. This sling holds your organs in place. A weak pelvic floor may lead to issues such as the muscles may be stretched and weakened or too tight. Many things including pregnancy, a long history of back pain, being overweight, heavy lifting, chronic cough or sneeze, prostate surgery and general aging can cause pelvic floor problems.

Kegel exercises are simple clench-and-release exercises that you can do to make the muscles of your pelvic floor stronger.

How to do Kegel exercises

  1. Find the right muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. But only do this to locate the area of muscles you need to target.

  2. Perfect your technique. To do Kegels, imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re lifting the marble. …

  3. Maintain your focus. …

  4. Repeat three times a day.

Once you understand Kegel exercises you can do them anywhere and anytime and they can definitely help relieve stress incontinence.

But it is always best to ensure you have had a full medical examination to rule out any other possible cause of stress incontinence first, otherwise the Kegel exercise may not be the correct solution to your particular challenge.

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