Stress Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence is common. We can help.
According to a recent report from the CDC, more than 50% of women who are at least 65 years old have urinary incontinence.
19% of women younger than 45 years are thought to have urinary incontinence.
The current national estimates are that more than 20 million women have urinary incontinence or have experienced it at some point in their lives.
Stress urinary incontinence is when a woman experiences urine leakage with exertion, coughing, sneezing, or laughing.
Some women have had this their entire lives. Other women develop this condition over time. While women who have never had children can have stress incontinence, it commonly occurs after pregnancy and delivery.
Find out more about urinary incontinence, including the two most common types.
Stress urinary incontinence is multifactorial. There are many factors that can impact continence, including:
- How much your urethra moves and your levator muscle strength (or Kegel muscle)
- Physical trauma, delivery history, and past surgical history
- Current medications
- Hormonal status
- Weight; an ideal body weight will minimize urinary incontinence
If you think you may suffer from stress incontinence, please contact our physicians for a full medical evaluation.
There are many different ways to improve or cure stress incontinence.
Learn about the different treatment options for urinary incontinence.
After completing a medical history and physical, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following in your treatment plan:
Pelvic Floor Strengthening
Improving your pelvic floor strength will improve stress incontinence. A recent study randomized women with stress incontinence to surgery of physical therapy and found that about 58% of women were cured in the physical therapy group.
Some women prefer to do the exercise on their own. Sometimes an exercise plan focusing on the levator muscles is all that is needed. Sometimes physical therapy helps a patient to stay on track.
Pelvic floor muscle strengthening only works while you are doing the exercises. This is not a long-term solution for all women. Some women have damaged pelvic floor muscles or ligament damage from childbirth and cannot find benefit with Kegel contractions alone.
A pessary is a non-surgical solution that can help with stress incontinence. A pessary is a device that fits into the vagina that can easily be placed and removed. It resupports the urethra and eliminates urinary incontinence.
Find out what a pessary is and how it is used to treat urinary incontinence.
The most common type of surgery at this time is a sling. In a sling surgery, a material is placed through a vaginal incision. This material is used to resupport the urethra.
Slings are a very effective way of treating stress incontinence. They are a success in about 80% of women and many more women have improved symptoms.
Some slings are made of mesh material. They are minimally invasive, outpatient surgeries that are very easy to heal from. However, mesh is associated with an erosion rate where the material can be felt in the vagina. This happens less than 5% of the time and can be easily fixed. Talk to your physician about the use of mesh material. For incontinence slings it is safe and effective.
A sling procedure can also be performed using your own tissue through a bikini cut abdominal incision. This surgery is more uncomfortable and requires more healing time. It does not have an erosion rate and has similar success rates as the mesh sling.
Retropubic Suspension Surgeries
There are other surgeries that use suture to resupport the vagina beneath the urethra. These surgeries are called retropubic suspension surgeries. They are generally done in combination with other surgeries because they require access through the abdominal space.
There are also procedures that bulk or plump-up the urethra. These procedures do not work well for all types of stress-incontinence, but they can be done in the office or in the operating room. Learn more about Bulkamid, Macroplastique, and Coaptite.