Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is the medical term for involuntary urine leakage. It occurs when increased pressure is placed on the bladder from running, jumping or even laughing.
Whether it’s due to a genetic predisposition, pregnancy and childbirth, excess weight or a chronic cough, as many as one in four women struggles with SUI. What’s worse, many are too embarrassed to talk about it, even with their doctors, so they self-treat, either avoiding activities or using menstrual pads (which aren’t designed to handle urine).
Women don’t have to suffer in silence, though, as there are effective ways to deal with SUI. “Some women think this leakage is normal,” says Dr. Dean Elterman, a urologist from the University Health Network in Toronto. “There’s a difference between being ‘normal’ and being ‘common’: Something can be common, but that doesn’t mean it is normal and has to be accepted.”
Mild versions of SUI, known as light bladder leakage (or LBL), can often be managed with lifestyle changes such as weight loss and Kegel exercises, along with specially designed liners and pads. At the other end of the spectrum, surgeries to the bladder or urethra can be options for extreme cases of SUI.
And now there’s a third option for women with moderate SUI: Poise Impressa Bladder Supports. These over-the-counter, non-absorbent devices work by gently supporting the urethra throughout the day to stop leaks. “They don’t absorb; they actually stop leaks from happening,” says Dr. Elterman. The non-invasive option is easily inserted and removed at home (think tampon insertion) and won’t impact your ability to go to the bathroom normally. You can wear it daily for up to eight hours or just during times when leaks are expected, like when you head to the gym.