In some cases, women who suffer from stress incontinence or symptoms of an overactive bladder might find that their body does not respond to less invasive treatments. When the more conservative incontinence treatments fail to improve your quality of life, there are a variety of surgical options available to you.
What to consider before choosing surgery
Before you decide that surgery is your best course of action, it is important that you have tried other types of non-surgical treatments. Nobody ever wants to undergo a surgical procedure, especially if that procedure is not necessarily the only path to recovery.
Visit your doctor and get an accurate diagnosis with regard to the type of incontinence that you suffer from. Different forms of incontinence require different types of surgeries, and your doctor could choose to send you to a urologist, urogynecologist or incontinence specialist depending on the condition that you have.
Additionally, most doctors recommend holding off on having surgery until you no longer plan on having children. The strain that pregnancy and childbirth put on your bladder and tissue could reverse the results of your surgery.
Finally, be aware that surgery will not necessarily cure your incontinence completely. If you have mixed incontinence, then a surgery designed to stop stress incontinence symptoms still would not cure your urge incontinence symptoms. Incontinence surgery also cannot fully repair the damaged nerves or muscles that caused the incontinence in the first place – it can only help to compensate for the existing damage.
Types of incontinence surgeries
Common types of incontinence surgeries include:
In a sling procedure, a surgeon uses bits of tissue or synthetic material to create a “sling” that supports the urethra and keeps it closed to prevent stress incontinence.
In this type of surgery, the surgeon’s goal is to hoist up the bladder to prevent symptoms of stress incontinence. The more common forms of this procedure require abdominal incisions, which could lead to longer recovery times.
There are risks that go along with any surgical procedure. Patients may experience various urinary and genital problems, such as difficulty urinating, incomplete emptying of the bladder, overactive bladder, urinary tract infection, difficult intercourse, etc.
Talk to your doctor to determine which type of procedure is the best course of action for providing you with relief from incontinence symptoms.