Knowing Your Options Regarding Bladder Incontinence

No adult wants to experience wetting themselves in public. Bladder surgeries for stress incontinence are designed to provide extra support for the urethra to help it remain closed during stressors such as coughing, sneezing and running. There are several surgical methods to help alleviate these issues.

Diagnosing bladder incontinence
Urodynamic testing is quick and painless and helps to assess bladder function with regard to both storing and releasing urine. The test can include general observation or precise measurements using sophisticated instrumentation. In the case of observation, the doctor might record the length of time it takes to produce a urine stream, the volume of urine produced, and the ability or inability to stop the urine flow midstream. More precise measurements might include imaging equipment to record the bladder filling and emptying, monitoring pressure inside the bladder and muscle and nerve activity.

Tape procedures
During this procedure, a piece of plastic tape is inserted through an incision cut inside the vagina and threaded behind the urethra. The ends of the tape are then threaded through incisions at either the top of the inner thighs or the abdomen. The center of the tape supports the urethra to help reduce urine leakage associated with stress incontinence. While the procedure can cause more frequent urination and more urgency, in most cases leakage issues are abated.

Colposuspension
This procedure lifts the neck of the bladder through an incision in the lower abdomen. It can be done through a laparoscopic procedure or an open incision depending upon the specific circumstances of the patient. The surgery offers a long-term relief from stress incontinence, but can also be associated with difficulty emptying the bladder, recurrent urinary tract infections and discomfort during intercourse.

Bladder sling
The bladder sling involves creating an incision in the lower abdomen and vagina to place a sling around the neck of the bladder. The sling helps to support the bladder and prevents urine leakage. It can be made of synthetic material, tissue taken from another area of the body (autologous sling), donated tissue (allograft sling) or tissue from a cow or pig (xenograft sling). The autologous sling is often the preferred method because of its long-term safety and effectiveness. The procedure can create difficulty emptying the bladder as well as recurrent urinary tract infections.

Braden Richmond of Special Care for Women, is a board certified OB/GYN. He uses the latest medical advances to provide accurate diagnosis of bladder incontinence and other obstetric health conditions.

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