How to Prevent Peeing When Sneezing, Laughing, and Coughing

Sarah Health

Surprises happen. When you are suffering from urinary incontinence, surprises are usually an unwelcome guest. Sneezing, laughing, and coughing can contribute to unwanted urine output. Read on to learn strategies to manage this. 

The content provided in this article are general pieces of information, they are not meant to offer medical advice. Please consult your medical doctor or healthcare professional for specific advice related to your personal circumstances.

Who is affected by urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is the undesired and unintentional passing of urine from the bladder. Both men and women can be affected by urinary incontinence. 

There are many reasons why someone may suffer from urinary incontinence. This includes people who are aging, those suffering from weakened muscles of the pelvic-floor, postpartum women, and those living in larger bodies.

Why does urinary incontinence develop? 

The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles which are responsible for giving us control over our bladder output. Due to weakened muscles of the pelvic floor, it becomes more challenging to withhold urine from leaving the body unexpectedly. 

This is especially relevant when the body experiences a large force or pressure on the bladder. Examples of this include sneezing, laughing, and coughing.

There are products on the market to manage urinary incontinence, such as disposable briefs, disposable pads, reusable women’s incontinence panties and men’s incontinence underwear. The appropriate product for you will vary dependent on the level of urine output you are experiencing. 

Adjunct to using products, there is significant benefit to performing daily exercises to help increase control over your bladder and bathroom habits. 

Aging and its effect on the pelvic floor 

Naturally, all the tissues of the human body weaken as we age. The pelvic floor muscles are no exception. 

After a lifetime of poor posture and bad sitting habits, you may notice your pelvic floor muscles have begun to show their wear. To strengthen your pelvic floor, it is critical to ensure you are sitting and moving with proper posture. Your core should be lightly engaged, so that you could maintain your stance if someone were to brush into you. 

Try to limit holding bowel movements or urine for extended periods of time. If you have the urge to go to the bathroom, go!  Poor bathroom compliance can result in over used muscles. Like an elastic band that has been overstretched for many years, it loses the ability to return and hold its original shape.

It is important to ensure proper posture is maintained while sitting on the toilet. Therefore, the squatty potty product has become popular in homes across the world. The posture assumed while squatting is very natural and allows your digestive tract to fully empty while having a bathroom break. 

These small steps will help to strengthen your pelvic floor and prevent and leakage from sneezing or coughing. 

Postpartum mother’s health from birth 

While pregnant, the weight of a growing baby puts a lot of strain on your bladder.  After 9 months of carrying baby in the womb, this weight and constant strain can severely weaken your pelvic floor muscles

New moms may notice they are less able to hold on to pee after sneezing, coughing, or laughing. To rebuild the muscles, it is important to start strengthening exercises as soon as possible after delivering a baby.

Seek a professional physiotherapist to guide you through the exercises. Your body has taken a massive undertaking, it will take some time to heal, and progress will be slow. The most important thing is to stay consistent.

What to do if you have a weak pelvic floor?

First, it is essential to discover the muscles of your pelvic floor. There are a few strategies to identify these muscles. When a woman squeezes, she should feel the muscles of the vagina tighten, all the way up to the anus. For men, the sensation can still be felt throughout the anus.

Another way to identify your pelvic floor muscles would to be stop urinating halfway through your bathroom time. The muscles that are actively engaged when you hold your stream are the muscles that comprise your pelvic floor.

To strengthen these muscles, regular exercises are recommended. You can work with a licensed physiotherapist to develop a physical treatment plan unique to your needs. This may be especially helpful if you are suffering from preexisting injuries and require extra assistance when moving your body. 

A simple exercise to try at home to start developing the pelvic floor muscles would be to sit, and squeeze your muscles in your private region, then relax. You can try to do this while you are at home, at work, or even driving. These are called Kegel exercises.

Contract and hold these muscles for five seconds, then release for 5 seconds. Repeat the process 15 times a day/ twice a day. 


If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, know that you are not alone. Many individuals are affected by this condition, and there are options available to help you manage incontinence. Talk to your health care provider to learn more and review appropriate options.

Bio: Anna Williams is a passionate advocator for senior health and raising awareness for issues like incontinence in the young and age. She’s worked in aged health care for many years but now spends her time volunteering and freelance writing for Zorbies.