Stress Incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine due to a physical movement or forceful activity that puts sudden pressure on the bladder. This condition can vary from mild to severe. If you have mild incontinence, the leakage can be due to forceful activities such as lifting something heavy, laughing, or coughing. If you have severe stress incontinence, the leakage can occur due to simple activities such as standing up, bending down, or walking. This is more common in women than men. This situation can be embarrassing and take a huge toll on the quality of your life. Hence, it is recommended you consult a doctor who specializes in urinary system problems.
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How Do You Know if You Need Stress Incontinence Surgery?
- ● Coughing
- ● Sneezing
- ● Laughing
- ● Bending down
- ● Exercising
- ● Lifting something heavy
- ● Sexual intercourse
- ● jumping
Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and try to solve your problem using non-invasive treatment methods. If your condition does not get better even after such treatment, your doctor may recommend surgery.
What are the Types of Surgeries?
- ● Colposuspension
- ● Sling surgery or bladder neck suspension
- ● Artificial sphincter
- ● Vaginal mesh surgery
- ● Urethral bulking agents
What Happens During Surgery?
- ● Sling surgery: This is the most common type of surgery performed in women with stress incontinence. This includes making a cut in your abdomen and vagina to place a sling (usually made of a person’s tissue, synthetic material, an animal’s or a donor’s tissue) to support your urethra, which restricts urine leakage due to sudden forceful activities. In men, the sling is placed around the part of the urethral bulb.
- ● Colposuspension: In this procedure, the sutures attached to ligaments along the pubic bone are used to lift the neck of the bladder and stitch it in its lifting position. This supports the urethra and stops it from accidentally leaking the urine. It takes a long time to recover from this surgery and also has many complications.
- ● Artificial sphincter: This treatment method is used to treat men with stress incontinence. The urinary sphincter prevents the urine from flowing from the bladder to the urethra. The artificial urinary sphincter is filled with fluids that keep the urethra closed, preventing leakage at all times. However, if the device stops working in the future, you will need further surgery to remove it.
- ● Vaginal mesh surgery: In this surgery, a strip of synthetic mesh is inserted behind the urethra to provide more support. This synthetic mesh will stay in your body permanently. It is advisable to select a specific surgery type only after discussing the options thoroughly with your doctor, as surgery may bring complications.
- ● Urethral bulking agents: This is a substance injected into the tissues of the urethra, which increases the size of urethral walls and improves their closing ability. The effect of this injection may fade away after some time, and you will need to get another injection.
What are the Risks of Stress Incontinence Surgeries?
- ● You may have difficulty peeing or completely emptying the bladder and discomfort during sex after colposuspension.
- ● After a sling surgery, you may face difficulty emptying the bladder, and some people may also develop urge incontinence.
- ● You may have constipation, long-lasting pain, permanent nerve damage, or sexual problems after vaginal mesh surgery.
- ● You may experience light bleeding or burning sensation while urinating for a short period after injection of urethral bulking agents.
If you face any complications after surgery, immediately talk with your surgeon. Do not hesitate to share all the relevant information with them so that they can treat it.
What to do After the Treatment?
What are Some Lifestyle Changes that Can Help?
- ● Quit smoking
- ● Keep a healthy weight
- ● Empty your bladder fully while urinating
- ● Add fibers to your diet
- ● Exercise regularly
- ● Avoid eating foods that might irritate your bladder