Giggle and Stress Incontinence - Why Do I Pee When I Laugh?

Yes, giggle incontinence is a thing! So if you’re asking the question ‘why do I pee when I laugh?’, don’t worry, we have some answers.

Giggle and Stress Incontinence - Why Do I Pee When I Laugh?

Yes, giggle incontinence is a thing! So if you’re asking the question ‘why do I pee when I laugh?’, don’t worry, we have some answers.

“Why do I pee when I laugh?” It’s a common question asked among people, predominantly women, and at different life stages.

Pregnancy, postpartum, menopause, post-surgery - there are many causes of urinary incontinence. But why is it that giggling can cause a leak? And who does it affect?

Here we explore both giggle incontinence and stress incontinence and how they cause you to pee when you laugh.

How exactly does laughing make you pee?

Now, giggle incontinence is actually a term referring to involuntary, total urine loss in children and adolescents, namely young girls [1].

“Giggle incontinence is involuntary wetting during giggling or laughter, typically seen in young girls,” Courtenay Moore, MD, a urologist at the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic tells Everyday Health.

“Leakage is typically a large volume, often amounting to complete bladder emptying.”

As for why this happens to children, well, a single cause is still undetermined. Some kids grow out of wetting and others may require ongoing support to manage and treat it.

“The giggle incontinence may be related to an incompletely developed urinary sphincter," says Elizabeth Kavaler, MD, director of urogynecology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

Then there is also stress incontinence which can also cause urine leaks when you laugh.

Stress incontinence occurs when physical movement or activity, like coughing, sneezing and of course laughing, puts pressure on your bladder which can cause you to leak urine. Weak or strained pelvic floor muscles can also contribute to stress incontinence, which is why it is common in postpartum women, specifically those who have had a vaginal delivery [2].

When your pelvic floor is compromised, it can’t properly support your bladder or shut off the muscles that close the urethra, which stops the flow of urine.

Age is another factor that can contribute to stress incontinence in women, and therefore cause urine loss when laughing. As they get older, usually after menopause, a woman’s pelvic floor muscles and urethra weaken and it can take less pressure for the urethra to open and allow urine leakage.

In men, stress incontinence is most often caused by urinary sphincter damage sustained from prostate surgery or a pelvic fracture. Lung conditions that cause frequent coughing, such as cystic fibrosis or emphysema, can also contribute to stress incontinence in both males and females.

How do you stop peeing when you laugh?

There are a number of ways you can prevent leakage when laughing. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles through exercises, emptying your bladder before laughter-triggering activities, and moderating fluid intake are some general tips. Additionally, wearing absorbent incontinence products for added protection can be helpful.

Now, if you’re already experiencing urinary incontinence and you’re looking for ways to better manage it, it’s important to remember that everybody and their experience is different so be patient with yourself. If you’re not seeing any improvement or symptoms are worsening be sure to let your doctor know.

Giggle Incontinence Prevention Tips for Children

When it comes to giggle incontinence, prevention tips can include having your child go to the toilet and empty their bladder before activities where they’re likely to laugh - school, bus trips, and catch-ups with friends. They should also avoid drinking any beverages containing caffeine as they can irritate their bladder.

In terms of treating giggle incontinence that doesn’t decrease over time, kegel exercises prescribed by a pelvic physio or paediatrician can help strengthen pelvic floor muscles and therefore may reduce incontinence episodes. There may be medications your paediatrician recommends, so it’s worth seeing them as soon as you notice your child is losing control of their bladder every time they laugh.

Be sure to reassure your child and give them emotional support while they’re experiencing giggle incontinence. It can be embarrassing for them and can affect their self-esteem, so let them know that there’s nothing wrong with them or to be ashamed of.

A really helpful way to provide your child added comfort and confidence during this time is to use incontinence pull-ups, such as our Magics range that are made for kids up to 15 years of age. These pull-up pants are not only discreet and close to the feel of normal kids’ underwear, but they’ve also been developed with Magical Tubes® for excellent protection against leakage. The design ensures that the pant adapts perfectly to the shape of the child's body for a better fit, and freedom of movement, whilst providing ultimate protection for both daytime and nighttime dryness.

Stress Incontinence Prevention Tips For Adults

For men and women experiencing stress incontinence when laughing, there are a number of ways you can prevent it - or manage it if you’re already experiencing it:

  • Pelvic floor physiotherapy involves exercises, such as Kegel exercises, to train and strengthen the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles to help bladder control.

  • Lifestyle changes can also help manage stress incontinence. This includes drinking enough (but not too many) fluids, eating a whole-food diet, not smoking and avoiding bladder irritants such as caffeine and alcohol.

  • Managing weight can help ease symptoms of stress incontinence as extra weight puts more pressure on the bladder which can cause urine leaks when laughing.

  • Medications can at times contribute to bladder control issues. These can include muscle relaxants and sedatives. Speak to your doctor about your medications to ensure they’re not affecting your continence, and if they are what can be done about it.

  • Minimise constipation by applying the above mentioned lifestyle changes. Straining during bowel movements when constipated can damage the pelvic floor and therefore lead to urinary incontinence.

  • Use continence management products like pads, pull-ups and disposable bed and furniture protectors to live comfortably and confidently with incontinence. It doesn’t have to control you, you can take the power back! If you need any help understanding what product is right for your needs you can call our team of product specialists on 0800 088 5955 or take our online Help Me Choose quiz.

While we hope you find this article helpful, remember, if you notice any changes in your level of continence to always seek the advice of a medical professional.

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