Medically Reviewed by Gary H. Emerson, MD
Females experience stress incontinence (or urine leakage) when they cough, sneeze, laugh, exercise vigorously or, very commonly, simply by swinging a golf club. Urodynamic testing conducted in the doctor’s office is used to determine the type of incontinence.
Treatments include exercises (Kegels), bladder training or medication. When these treatments fail to solve the problem, bladder incontinence surgery is the next step.
“The goal of surgery is to help the outlet for urine (officially the urethra) stay closed during abdominal pressure, halting potentially embarrassing leakage,” says McLeod Gynecologist Dr. Gary Emerson. “When it’s used for stress incontinence, surgery is performed through incisions in the abdomen, through the vagina, or with a thin surgical tool called a laparoscope.”
Common female incontinence surgery includes:
If surgery is performed using so-called minimally invasive technique, the patient may go home the same day or only require an overnight stay. Discomfort may last a few days or weeks. A survey of women two years after their surgery showed that 78% of women with a suspension and 86% with a sling were satisfied with their results.
In some cases, the surgeon will suggest a hysterectomy be performed at the same time as the incontinence surgery.
Other possible surgical treatments for stress incontinence in women include:
Your gynecologist can determine if surgery is needed and, if so, which of the options will work best for you.
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Sources: McLeod Health, Federal Drug Administration, National Institutes of Health, National Association for Continence, UK National Health Service, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Urinary Incontinence, Treatment Network