Peeing When Coughing: Is It Normal?


Leaking urine when coughing can be distressing and a complete confidence destroyer. So, the more you know about it, then the better you can deal with it.  

Urinating while coughing is a medical condition known as urinary stress incontinence. Stress is the most common type of urinary incontinence. It’s important to know that stress incontinence is extremely manageable with lots of solutions and possible treatments which we’ll explain in more detail throughout this article.

What is Stress Incontinence?

Stress incontinence is an unintentional urine leak caused by pressure, or ‘stress’ on the bladder. One of the main causes of stress is coughing. This kind of leakage is much more likely to occur when our pelvic floor muscles are weakened. If you have a weakened pelvic floor and you cough, pressure is created in the abdomenThis pressure pushes down on the bladder and the aren’t strong enough to hold in the urine, causing urine leakage.  

What Causes Stress Incontinence (Why Do I Pee When I Cough?)

Stress is usually the result of a weakening or damage to the muscles that prevent urination, such as the pelvic floor or urethral sphincter, combined with the pressure of an action (coughing) that causes stress to be put on those muscles: 

  1. Urine is stored in the bladder. The muscles surrounding the bladder help to keep urine in by tightening the urethra. 

  2. When urinating, the muscles surrounding the bladder contract and the urethra releases urine from the body. 

  3. Coughing can cause a sudden physical pressure on the bladder. This pressure can cause the to relax suddenly.

  4. A cough can cause the pelvic floor muscles to relax momentarily, allowing urine to leak through the urethra and out of the body. 

Other common actions that can cause stress incontinence: 

  • Sneezing 

  • Lifting heavy objects 

  • Laughing  

  • Jumping  

Stress Incontinence during pregnancy and post pregnancy is a common condition for many mothers. The muscles surrounding the bladder can become weakened through the stress of pregnancy and childbirth. These weak muscles mean that there is a chance of incontinence when coughing. Read through this article for more information on the causes of incontinence in women. 

Women who have delivered a baby vaginally are twice as likely to develop stress compared to women who have delivered via caesarean. 

How to Stop Urine Leakage When Coughing

If you’re wondering how to stop urine leakage when coughing, then don’t worry. There are several ways of treating, managing, and preventing stress if you are leaking urine when coughing.  

  1. Exercise: Exercise, especially those used within yoga and Pilates, can help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and is the most common non-surgical method of treating stress incontinence. For more information on why it is important to strengthen the muscles in your abdomen, read through this article on the different ways you can train and strengthen your bladder to help keep stress incontinence at bay.

  1. Lifestyle Changes: 

  • Losing weight: If a person is overweight, losing some weight can help to reduce the excess pressure on the bladder. 

  • Changing drinking habits: Drinking too much or too little can make the problem worse. Drinking alcohol or caffeine, which are diuretics, can also make symptoms worse. 

  • Smoking: Cutting down on smoking can reduce pressure on the bladder from coughing. 

  1. Surgery: If the aren’t being strengthened enough through exercise, then surgery can be an option. Typically, the aim of surgery is still to tighten and support muscles below the bladder.

If you are considering surgery or any other big lifestyle changes, make sure to consult and discuss this with your doctor beforehand. This is to make sure you are following the best advice to find the optimum solution for your body’s individual needs.

Stress incontinence, is a very common and manageable condition with options you can take to lead a more comfortable and confident life. Our range of absorbent pads and products can remove any worries and allow you to continue your normal day-to-day life. This article can give tips and advice on living with urinary incontinence as an adult.