Many women have problems with urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence means that you are not always able to control when you urinate — the involuntary leakage of urine. There are many conditions that can cause loss of bladder control. Among women, the most common cause is called Stress Urinary Incontinence or SUI. Stress urinary incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine during physical activity such as coughing, laughing, sneezing or lifting. In the past many women felt that this was a normal part of aging or something you “just have to live with.” This is NOT TRUE. If urinary incontinence affects your day-to-day life, you may be a candidate for treatment.
Urinary incontinence can be very embarrassing thus many women are reluctant to discuss this problem with their doctor. About 12 million women are affected with urinary incontinence in the United States. Urinary incontinence occurs commonly in women over the age of 50 and in women who had long labors or multiple vaginal deliveries. Incontinence can be caused by weakening of the pelvic muscles, infection, certain medications and a variety of other medical illnesses. Because the muscles that support the urethra have weakened the urethra drops during physical activity. The result is urine leakage. Don’t be afraid to mention this very common and very treatable problem to your doctor.
What are my options?
- Some women benefit from certain medications which can control the leaking.
- Some women are candidates for pelvic floor rehabilitation to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and to stimulate the local nerves.
- Some women benefit from a minimally invasive surgical repair called a midurethral sling.
- Some women benefit from local injections of Botox or bulking agents like Collagen.
What is a midurethral sling?
A midurethral sling is a surgery for women with stress urinary incontinence. There are several different surgical options. At MacArthur OB/GYN we prefer the most minimally invasive options to help you get back on your feet as soon as possible. We prefer a single incision approach with Solyx or a transobturator approach with Obtryx. A small supportive material of synthetic mesh is placed under the bladder neck and then anchored to the other pelvic tissues creating a “hammock-like support” to help prevent leakage. The goal is to restore the natural support system for the bladder. We do these surgeries via a vaginal approach. This minimizes the incisions, pain and recovery time. These are done as an outpatient surgery and an overnight stay is not needed unless we are combining it with other gynecological surgeries.