Giggle incontinence (also known as laughter leaks) is the sudden and involuntary leak or complete emptying of the bladder, provoked by laughter. It is one of the least studied forms of urinary incontinence, and is associated with otherwise normal bladder function.
Giggle incontinence is commonly associated with children that have not yet learnt to control their bladder. However it can affect men and women of all ages.
Symptoms of Giggle Urinary Incontinence
You may be suffering from giggle incontinence if you leak, or completely empty your bladder when you laugh.
It is often mistaken as a symptom of stress incontinence. It should not be considered as such, however, as it will not occur when you cough or sneeze.
Causes of Giggle Urinary Incontinence
You will experience giggle incontinence if you are unable to keep the muscles of your bladder relaxed when you laugh. The causes of giggle incontinence are not clear, studies suggest that it may be hereditary and you can be trained to stop it.
To read more about the causes, and the events that can lead to you developing any form of urinary incontinence, visit the Causes and Diagnosis page.
How to Stop Giggle Urinary Incontinence
The treatments most successful in treating giggle incontinence are conservative therapy's, that require no surgical intervention:
- Urotherapy - This is a preferred treatment for children as, if successful, it avoids the need for any medication or surgery. Urotherapy educates the sufferer on how the bladder works, advises on the best posture for emptying your bladder, what you can do to go at suitable intervals, and prevent constipation. Bladder diaries and frequency/volume charts can be used as part of this therapy.
- Pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises - As with all forms of incontinence, the pelvic floor needs to be kept strong and healthy in order to have control over your bladder and bowel movements.
- Biofeedback therapy - Biofeedback therapy aims to increase the patients awareness of the pelvic floor muscles and urethral sphincter. This may be with timed voiding and, when used alongside pelvic floor exercises, can see great improvements in bladder function.
- Medication - Studies suggest the use of medication is not a suitable treatment for giggle incontinence. Due to the impact of the side effects dismissing the small benefits reported.
To read about available treatments for general urinary incontinence, visit our incontinence treatment page.
Chandra, M. Saharia, R. Shi, Q. Hill, V. (2002). The Journal of Urology. Giggle Incontinence in Children: A Manifestation of Detrusor Instability. [online] 168(5), p2184-2187. [viewed 19/04/18]. Available from: http://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347(05)64350-9/fulltext
Deshpande, A. V. Craig, J. C. Smith, G. H. H. Caldwell, P. H. Y. (2011). Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. Management of daytime urinary incontinence and lower urinary tract symptoms in children. [online] 48(2), pE44-E52 [viewed 24/04/18]. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1440-1754.2011.02216.x
Logan, B. L. Blais, S. (2017). Journal of Pediatric Urology. Giggle incontinence: Evolution of concept and treatment. [online] 13(5), p430-435. [viewed 19/04/18]. Available from: http://www.jpurol.com/article/S1477-5131(17)30235-8/fulltext
Maternik, M. Krzeminska, K. Zurowska, A. (2015). Pediatric Nephrology (Berlin, Germany). The management of childhood urinary incontinence. [online] 30(1), p41-50. [viewed 24/04/18]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4240910/#!po=59.3750
Richardson, I. Palmer, L. S. (2009). The Journal of Urology.Successful Treatment for Giggle Incontinence With Biofeedback. [online] 182(4), p2062-2066. [viewed 19/04/18]. Available from: http://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347(09)00656-9/fulltext
Telli, O. Hamidi, N. Kayis, A. Suer, E. Soygur, T. Burgu, B. (2016). International Brazilian Journal of Urology. Can the success of structured therapy for giggle incontinence be predicted? [online] 42(2), p334-338. [viewed 19/04/18]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4871395/