Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is when urine leaks out with sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra, causing the sphincter muscles to open briefly. With mild SUI, pressure may be from sudden forceful activities, like exercise, sneezing, laughing or coughing. If your SUI is more severe, you may also leak with less forceful activities like standing up, walking or bending over. Urinary “accidents” like this can range from a few drops of urine to enough to soak through your clothes.
The key symptom of SUI is when urine leaks out during any activity that increases abdominal pressure. The amount can be a few drops to tablespoons or more. If you have mild SUI, you will leak during forceful activities such as exercise. You may also leak when you sneeze, laugh, cough or lift something heavy. If your SUI is moderate or more severe, you may also leak when you do less strenuous activities, like standing up or bending over.