Incontinence is a problem of the urinary system where the bladder does not reliably store urine until it is convenient to urinate. Incontinence occurs when urine involuntarily leaks from the bladder out the urethra.
When coughing or sneezing causes a woman to expel small amounts of urine, it’s called stress incontinence. It is a very common condition.
Stress incontinence can be caused by childbirth, weight gain, or other conditions that stretch the pelvic floor muscles. When these muscles can’t support your bladder properly, the bladder drops down and pushes against the vagina. You can’t tighten the muscles that close off the urethra. So urine may leak because of the extra pressure on the bladder when you cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise, or do other activities.