Stress Urinary Incontinence or SUI is the involuntary loss of urine due to exertion during activity. Any activity that puts pressure on the urinary tract may cause a leak when you have SUI. The activities that can trigger leaks when you have SUI can be anything from running and jumping to sneezing or laughing. Stress incontinence, also known as Light Bladder Leaks (LBL) occurs when the muscles that support the bladder and the muscles that regulate the release of urine are weakened. This loss of muscle can come about for varying reasons: childbirth, obesity, aging, and surgery. While talking about SUI is often embarrassing, having discussions about how it impacts different aspects of women’s lives is important, including how it affects our relationships.
With stress incontinence, life gets put on hold. Some women with SUI choose to forego nights out or seeing friends, just because the thought of having to worry about the worst case scenario just isn’t worth it. But all those missed movie nights, and dinners, and picnics can have a lasting effect on your mental health. According to the Mayo Clinic, adults that have strong friendships later in life tend to lead more fulfilling lives. In addition, a lack of companionship can lead to increased risk for heart disease, a weakened immune system, and depression. It’s already difficult for adult females to make and maintain friendships later in life, so having opportunities to meet new people is vital. Having SUI may make it difficult to meet for social obligations or opportunities that could lead to some great friends and close relationships, or cause you to leave early and miss a great moment.
Another problem in relationships that women with SUI face come with romantic partners. Being intimate is an important part of a relationship with your partner, according to Psychology Today. Both physical and emotional intimacy are vital to keeping a relationship alive and healthy, but when dealing with SUI, women may feel too embarrassed to continue being physically intimate and express what they’re going through emotionally. As mentioned before, stress incontinence can be triggered by any kind of pressure that is placed on the urinary tract, including intimate moments with your partner. As a result, some women are having less sex, which can affect both physical and mental health.
SUI is common among women who have given birth vaginally. About 30% of women will experience SUI 5 years after their first vaginal birth. Weakened pelvic floor muscles through the process of giving birth leaves you with the occasional leak, post-baby. However, having babies entails a lot of groundwork – lifting, giggling, and crawling which are all activities that can cause leaks if you have stress incontinence. Unfortunately, SUI becomes another problem new mommies have to worry about (and clean up after!), on top of the mountain of troubles that come with motherhood. Any distraction from the baby or prevention from a new mom getting close and interacting with her baby after birth can have serious effects on both mother and baby. A huge distraction and hurdle can be leaks caused by SUI, preventing valuable playtime on the floor, or a push on the swing.
One of the most important relationships a woman can have is with herself. It’s no surprise that women who suffer from stress incontinence may also experience lower self-esteem. It’s an embarrassing problem that isn’t discussed often, so women can feel like something is wrong with them. There is also the perception that incontinence is another sign of getting older, because it affects older women more than other groups. Women can take this as a reflection of their place in life or making them feel older than they are, also impacting self image, especially those who identify strongly with their appearance and age. Lower self-esteem can lead to weakened relationships as well, impacting your quality of life.
With the enormous impacts SUI can have on you and your relationships with loved ones, women can feel alone when dealing with their symptoms. You don’t have to. Revive is a revolutionary bladder support device that was designed with women’s comfort and safety in mind. Inserted like a tampon, Revive can be left in for 12 hours a day to protect against leaks, not just cover them up like other leak protection options. It’s reusable to help reduce the 200,000 tons of menstrual waste generated each year from products like pads and pantyliners that are also used for urinary incontinence. Get back to being you, with your friends, family, and yourself, with Revive. Available over-the-counter at retailers nationwide!