Why Am I Peeing When I Cough?---Causes and
Cures

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Last updated March 2, 2017 (originally published March 20, 2014)

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[
Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and
other members of our Editorial Board.
]




If you’re suddenly starting to urinate when you cough, you’re
not alone.  Urinating when you cough is a form of involuntary
incontinence, and it is estimated to affect up to 18 million
Americans, according to the American Urological Association.

Your Ethnicity Affects Your Risk of Incontinence

In 2006, Dr. DH Thom and other scientists from the University
of California in San Francisco discovered that your risk for
incontinence varies somewhat by race, with 36% of Hispanic
women experiencing the problem, 30% of white women, 25%
of Black women and 19% of Asian American women. Scientists
are not quite sure why the racial differences exist in the risk for
urinary incontinence because these racial differences persisted
even after taking into account different body weights, age,
estrogen use and menopausal status.

Who Becomes Incontinent?

Many factors put you at greater risk for developing urinary
incontinence. Among women, risk factors include multiple or
difficult vaginal deliveries, high infant birth weight, and having
a hysterectomy, according to a 2012 study led by Dr. George
DeMaagd of the Union University School of Pharmacy in
Tennessee.


Among men, being overweight increases your risk for urinary
incontinence simply because the extra weight puts more
pressure on the bladder to void, according to the U.S. National
Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

If you have a tough transition into menopause, especially if you
experience severe physical changes during menopause, you are
also at greater risk for becoming incontinent.

Incident Stress Incontinence or Urge Incontinence-What’s the
Difference?

The type of incontinence that occurs when you laugh, sneeze
or cough is called “stress incontinence”. The type of
incontinence you experience when you urinate too soon after
you feel the urge to pee is called “urge incontinence”. People
with incontinence tend to suffer from both types of
incontinence but may have one type predominantly.

Top 7  Remedies for Peeing When You Cough


























1.        
Lose Weight. In 2011, Dr. Emily Whitcomb of the
Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Female Pelvic
Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Orange County-Irvine
Medical Center, Irvine, CA, USA led a study of women with
urinary incontinence. One of their key findings was that being
overweight puts you at much greater risk for urinary
incontinence.

How much does weight affect your risk of incontinence?  The
research discovered that, for every “5 units of increase in your
body mass index (BMI)”, your risk for urinary incontinence
increases by 20%–70%.  (Read more about how to
calculate
your BMI.)

And in 2006, another study led by Dr. Danforth of the Brigham
and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, found that
women with a BMI over 30 have a 3.1 times greater risk for
urinary incontinence than women with BMI in a healthier range
of 22 to 24.

For optimal health, doctors recommend that women maintain a
BMI of between 18 and 22 kg/m2 and that men maintain a BMI
of between 18.5 and 24.9, according to the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control.

Don’t be complacent if you are near the upper range, because a
BMI of 25 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 24.9 is
considered “normal”.

Since more than 66%  of us in the US are overweight ---
meaning our  BMI is  between 25 and 29 kg/m --- most of us
can count on incontinence becoming yet another bothersome  
part of life as we age. That is, it will become a part of our lives
unless we do something to head it off or take steps to correct it.

To maintain a weight as close as possible to a healthy BMI,  you
will need to increase the amount you move and follow a
healthy, high fiber diet. Fortunately, becoming more active
needn't involve spending grueling hours in the gym. Even
adding simple activities each day such as taking the stairs can
make a huge difference in your weight over the course of a
year. (Read more of the
10 ways you can become more active.)

2.        
Do Pelvic Floor Exercises. Your pelvis has a sheet of flat
muscle underneath which helps you to stop the flow of urine.
This is the muscle you tense when you “hold your pee”.  One
of the best ways to stop accidentally urination is to practice
tensing this muscle.  Try tensing this muscle to the count of 10.
Then let it go for about 2 minutes. Then, tense again. Do up to
10 sets a day, every other day.

3.        
Stop Smoking. According to the 2006 Harvard study
noted above, smoking puts you at significantly higher risk for
developing incontinence.

4.        
Avoid Being Constipation. It may seem obvious, but
being constipated also puts you at greater risk for urinary
incontinence. Constipation is defined a straining when you
defecate. The act of straining on a regular basis also reduces
the muscle control you need to avoid urinary incontinence.
(Read more about
natural remedies for constipation.)

Add apples, beans and other foods high in fiber to your weekly
diet to help you avoid constipation and stress incontinence.

5.        
Get Quality Sleep. Getting a sound, high quality sleep is
one of the best ways to prevent urinary incontinence. Among
men, those with obstructive sleep apnea, 39% also suffer from
urinary incontinence.  

The cause-and-effect is not perfectly clear from the most
important study in this area, which was conducted by a team of
German and Dutch scientists led by Dr. Helene Kemmer of the
Department of Urology in Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The
Netherlands.

But what is clear is that you should regard any changes in your
sleep quality as a red flag that may lead to high risk for urinary
incontinence and other health issues.

6.        
Consider Biofeedback.  Biofeedback is a learned
attentiveness to your body’s subtle signals. With practice, you
learn to detect when you are about to feel an urge to urinate
and learn, over time, to exert more and more control over the
urgency.  In several studies, notably a 2000study from the
University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and
Aging, researchers found that behavioral therapy of this type
can reduce incontinence by 57%.
 
7.        
Try Biofeedback Combined with Oxybutinin Chloride.

The same University of Alabama study discovered that, while
biofeed back lowers incontinence rates by 57.5%, combining
biofeedback with oxybutynin chloride lowered the incontinence
rates of certain women by 88%.   Of course, enhancing the
effectiveness of  biofeedback this type of drug therapy should
be discussed with your doctor.












































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Avoiding constipation by eating apples and
other foods high in fiber can also help lower
the incidence of stress incontinence.