Updated 31 January 2018

Kris Jenner has urinary incontinence

The Kardashian family matriarch Kris Jenner suffers from stress urinary incontinence. We explain why this problem is quite common, and how to prevent it.

Shortly after exposing Kim's psoriaris condition years ago, it was announced that the mother of the clan, Kris Jenner, suffers from incontinence.

According to a report in the Daily Mail which referred to an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians which showed Kris frequently dashing to the bathroom - and not quite making it in time.

Read: Dealing with incontinence

“In the episode, the mother of six is teased by her daughters about her light bladder leakage. Kris is offended by the girls' constant taunting, but daughter Khloe is concerned with her mother's refusal to see a doctor, saying  'You can't be at a black tie event and peeing on yourself'," the Daily Mail reports.

The show then highlighted a visit to the doctor where it was confirmed she indeed suffers from stress incontinence.

What is stress incontinence?

In stress urinary incontinence the continence mechanism cannot deal with elevations in intra-abdominal pressure. The intra-abdominal pressure is transmitted onto the bladder, causing urine to leak from the urethra. Patients are classically dry while sitting still or lying down.

Activities like coughing, sneezing, lifting of heavy objects or getting up from a chair causes an increase in intra-abdominal pressure that is associated with leakage of urine. In very mild cases only a few drops of urine are lost with strenuous activity. In severe cases large amounts of urine can leak with moderate increases in intra-abdominal pressure.

Incontinence can be classified according to the mechanism causing the leakage of urine or according to the type of symptoms.

The main types of urinary incontinence are:

  • Stress urinary incontinence
  • Urge incontinence
  • Overflow incontinence
  • Total incontinence

Read: Risk factors for incontinence

What causes stress incontinence?

  • Hypermobility of the bladder neck and urethra related to the effects of childbirth
  • Urethral sphincter (valve mechanism) dysfunction related to:
    • childbirth injury
    • trauma
    • radiation
    • previous surgery to the urethra or bladder neck
    • atrophy of the genital tissues related to the menopause

Kris Jenner's incontinence could be caused by the fact that she birthed 6 children which can place strain on the bladder in later years as the tissue of your urinary tract becomes less elastic.

Also, as a middle aged woman Kris is expected to be in menopause, which is a major factor for stress urinary incontinence. Decreasing oestrogen levels can weaken the pelvic floor muscles controlling the bladder and urethra causing the bladder to leak.

    How is it treated?

    Medical treatment doesn't have a great role in stress incontinence.

    • Oestrogens
    • Alpha-agonists
    • Combination of the above

    Postmenopausal atrophy affects the closure of the urethra. Oestrogens, which can be taken orally or applied locally, restores the bulk of urethral tissue leading to more effective closure. Alpha-agonists increase the tone in the bladder neck, thereby increasing outflow resistance. Some studies indicate a beneficial effect using a combination of oestrogen and an alpha-agonist in older post-menopausal women.

    Read: Preventing incontinence

    The non-medical treatments, which in this case Kris was advised to start doing, include:

    • Weight loss
    • Cessation of smoking
    • Pelvic floor exercises
    • Vaginal weights
    • Biofeedback
    • Electrical stimulation

    Non-medical treatment can be very effective in motivated patients with minor degrees of stress incontinence. The short-term results are often very good, but this is not always maintained in the long term. Published studies quote cure/improvement rates of 50-80% for pelvic floor exercises.

    Read more:

    How to choose the best absorbency product for you

    Mental trauma ups bladder problems

    Image: Kris Jenner from Shutterstock

    Sources: The Daily Mail (Read the full report on the Daily Mail here), Health24


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    Incontinence Expert

    Dr Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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