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Peeing myself when I sneeze

Have you ever gotten a sudden urine leakage, when you for example sneezed, and thought to yourself “Why am I peeing myself?”. We understand that it may be difficult, but do not worry! Urine leakage is incredibly common, especially for women. Urine leakage means that you unwillingly leak urine between your toilet visits. You can do exercises yourself to prevent bladder leaks, but there are also different treatments depending on what type of incontinence you have. In this article we will explain why you get bladder leaks.

Why do I leak urine?

There may be several possible reasons behind your urine leakage. Bladder leaks are often a sign of weakness in your pelvic floor muscles which causes bladder leaks. There are different kinds of incontinence, the most prevalent being stress incontinence, which means that you leak when you perform physical activities.

If you have urine incontinence it is common that you suffer from one or a few of the following symptoms:

  • You experience bladder leaks when you feel like you need to pee
  • You feel like you must pee often during the day and night
  • You leak small drops of urine
  • You experience leakage when you do something physically strenuous

Why you get stress incontinence

Being stress incontinent is not defined by how much or how often you leak, just by that you leak urine. Stress incontinence is due to weakened ligament and muscles in your pelvic floor. Usually when the bladder is subject to pressure, the urethra is closing by the muscles in the pelvic floor being pinched forwards towards their ligament, thus preventing leakage. If you have injured ligament or weakened pelvic floor muscles, the same pressure might instead make the system open and urine leaks. Read more about stress incontinence here.

Other reasons behind urine incontinence

Urine incontinence can be caused by several different reasons. Below we list some possible reasons for urine leakage.

  • Pregnancy

It is more common for women who are pregnant or have delivered a baby to suffer from incontinence- Due to the extra weight you carry when you are pregnant, the pressure on your pelvic floor and urethra increases. The tissue in the pelvic floor is also affected by the pregnancy and delivery. These troubles often pass when you start to build your strength in your pelvic floor again.

  • Prolapse

If you have prolapse it may make it harder for you to squeeze the muscles in your pelvic floor, which could lead to leakage.

  • Long term coughing (such as asthma)

It is more probable for women with long term cough to suffer from incontinence since it adds extra pressure to your stomach. It is therefore important to train your pelvic floor to be able to hold tight when you cough.

  • Neurogenic bladder disorders

Damages to your nerve system, brain and even spinal cord can cause a neurogenic bladder disorder, which causes you to leak urine. The most common reason is stroke, but also other neurogenic disorders such as Parkinsons and MS can lead to problems with your bladder. Talk to your doctor about how you should handle it.

  • Urine leakage due to urinary infection

If you pee yourself during a urinary infection, it can be because you have gotten a temporary urge incontinence since the infection is affecting the bladder. Then it may feel like you must constantly pee.

It is also more common to suffer from urine leakage if you are heavily overweight, smoke or suffer from long term constipation.

Can I inherit incontinence?

Some inherent factors may increase the risk of getting incontinence, as a weaker tissue in your pelvic floor. You can perform pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, but if that does not help you should seek medical care.

Written by:
Hanna Leander,
professional drip queen                                 
Reviewed by:
Klara Rasmusson,
licensed nurse


User-friendly. Safe. Effective.
& of course, reusable!

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