Stress Incontinence Surgery Offers Long-Lasting Relief

If you’ve done Kegels by the thousands, changed your diet, trained your bladder and rejuvenated your vagina and you still have stress urinary incontinence, it may be time to consider incontinence surgery. Urinary incontinence surgery can provide lasting relief, but like any surgery, it is not without risk and potential complications. Most incontinence surgery options are designed to treat stress urinary incontinence.

What type of urinary incontinence do you have?

There are several different identified types of urinary incontinence:

  • An overactive bladder causes urge incontinence.
  • Overflow incontinence results from poor bladder contraction or blockage of the urethra.
  • Functional incontinence is caused by medications or health or mobility issues that make it difficult to reach the bathroom in time.
  • Stress incontinence is when the bladder cannot close completely. When pressure is placed on the bladder – from laughing, sneezing or exercise, for example – it can cause urinary leakage.

Most surgical solutions for urinary incontinence have been developed to treat stress urinary incontinence. Other types of incontinence can respond well to drug therapy, nerve stimulation and other non-surgical treatments.

What are the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence?

Stress urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze or exercise. A bladder that doesn’t have enough support from other pelvic structures is unable to close completely and pressure will cause urinary leakage. Because lax muscles, ligaments and tissues cause stress incontinence, it is primarily a physical rather than neurological issue. Surgical solutions can provide the physical support the bladder needs to function correctly.

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Is stress incontinence surgery right for you?

Before you choose urinary incontinence surgery, it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis. Most surgical solutions have been developed to treat stress incontinence. If you have a different type of incontinence or mixed symptoms, surgery may not provide total relief and the risks may outweigh the benefits.

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, your provider may recommend waiting until you are through with childbearing before committing to stress incontinence surgery. Pregnancy and delivery place a great deal of strain and pressure on your bladder, urethra and supportive tissues and could undo any positive results of your surgery.

Like any surgery, urinary incontinence surgery comes with risks. Although uncommon, potential complications include temporary difficulty urinating, development of overactive bladder, urinary tract infections and painful intercourse.

Sling procedures to treat stress incontinence

Your provider may recommend either sling surgery or bladder neck suspension surgery, depending on your issues and needs. Sling surgical procedures to treat stress incontinence use synthetic mesh, a patient’s own tissue or donor tissue to recreate the support system the bladder needs to close completely and prevent incontinence. The material creates a sling (picture a hammock) that supports the urethra where it connects to the bladder. The support takes the strain off the bladder neck which allows it to close. The patient can then better control the flow of urine.

There are several types of sling surgery, including tension-free sling surgical mesh and conventional sling. Each has its advantages and drawbacks, so discuss with your provider which surgery is best suited for you and your condition.

Suspension procedures elevate the bladder neck to reposition it to its former location. This is generally done through an abdominal incision but can be performed laparoscopically for faster recovery and less scarring.

At Integrative Wellness, we can determine what is causing your stress urinary incontinence and help you explore your choices, including surgical options. There is no reason for any woman to live with the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence. Call us today for your consultation and start laughing and living (and sneezing) without worry.