see also Irritable Bladder
A very common and embarrassing complaint, almost unique to women, in which small quantities of urine are involuntarily passed when coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting things, etc. Because the muscles of the pelvic floor are weak - often as the result of childbirth, being overweight, or general loss of muscle tone after the menopause - the urethral sphincter does not close properly.
If the problem only occurs once in a while, the self-help measures below will almost certainly improve matters. If incontinence occurs more often, ask your medical doctor to refer you to a specialist for assessment; the options, depending on the severity of the problem, are pelvic floor exercises, wearing special briefs, or an operation to tighten the pelvic floor muscles.
Specific remedies to be taken 4 times daily for up to 3 weeks while waiting for specialist treatment
- Problem made worse by coughing, laughing, sneezing, excitement, person unaware that leakage is occurring Causticum 6c
- Problem made worse by sitting down, walking, passing wind, desire to pass urine increases when lying down Pulsatilla 6c
- Problem worse during day, with tickling sensation in urethra and bladder, especially if sufferer has pale complexion Ferrum 6c
- Incontinence associated with 'bearing down' sensation, as if abdominal contents are escaping through vagina, stream of urine slow to start Sepia 6c
Self-help: The pelvic floor muscles can be strengthened by alternately tightening and relaxing them as you urinate, so that stream of urine stops and starts, and stops and starts, or by tightening the muscles around the anus, as if controlling the passage of a stool; this last exercise can be done sitting or standing, reading the paper or waiting for a bus! If you are overweight, try to lose weight; this will relieve some of the downward pressure of the abdominal organs on the bladder and pelvic floor.