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Female Incontinence Treatment

Female Incontinence Treatment: Surgery for Stress Incontinence

In some women, the bladder can move out of its normal position, especially following childbirth. Surgeons have developed different techniques for supporting the bladder in its normal position. The two main types of surgery are:
  • Retropubic suspension
  • Sling procedure.
Retropubic suspension uses sutures (surgical threads) to support the bladder neck. The threads are secured to the pubic bone, and other structures within the pelvis, to form a cradle for the bladder. To place the sutures, the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen a few inches below the navel.
Sling procedures are performed through a vaginal incision. The conventional sling procedure uses a strip of material to support the bladder neck. The sling may be made of natural tissue or synthetic (man-made) material. Both ends of the sling are attached to the pubic bone or tied in front of the abdomen, just above the pubic bone. Another sling method uses a synthetic tape, but the ends are not tied, but rather pulled up above the pubic bone.
Surgeons report that the retropubic suspension and sling procedures cure stress incontinence for at least 4 years, in more than 80 percent of cases. Possible side effects include:
  • Persistent stress incontinence
  • Bladder overactivity
  • Voiding changes.
Talk with your doctor about whether surgery will help your condition, and what type of surgery is best for you. The procedure you choose may depend on your own preferences, or on your surgeon's experience. Ask what you should expect after the procedure. You may also wish to talk to someone who has recently had the procedure.

Choosing a Female Incontinence Treatment

Experts agree that no female incontinence treatment is perfect for everyone with incontinence. Female incontinence treatment depends not only on the type and severity of incontinence, but on an individual's lifestyle and personal preferences.
The success of female incontinence treatment is an individual perception. Some patients with stress incontinence and active lifestyles expect that 'success' means no more pads. On the other hand, some patients with severe incontinence of a complex nature, who have failed multiple treatment options, may be thrilled with 50 percent improvement of their bladder control. It may not always be a reasonable expectation to be cured.
About 70 percent of women with incontinence problems benefit from a combination of simple measures, such as:
  • Bladder retraining
  • Exercises
  • Medication.
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