First of all you are not alone – leaking urine is a problem which affects around seven million British women to some degree, but many are too embarrassed to seek help.
Leaking urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh or take part in any physical activity, without a sudden need to go to the toilet, is medically called stress incontinence. It can happen as a result of weak pelvic floor muscles, which run from underneath your pubic bone at the front (the bony bit in your pubic area) to your tail bone at the back, (the bone at the bottom of your spine). Your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, bowl and womb.
If you have had children, the impact of carrying your child during pregnancy as well as the process of giving birth can weaken your pelvic floor muscles and you are more likely to suffer from urine leak, as the muscles can no longer tightly wrap around the opening to your bladder.
Weak pelvic floor muscles can also be a result of being overweight, getting older as your muscles lose tone, as well as in the menopause when the change on your hormones has been implicated in playing a role in weakening the muscles.
Many women are embarrassed or too ashamed to seek help and try and manage the problem by avoiding activities or using large unsightly pads, impacting how they live their lives.