INCONTINENCE (loss of bladder control)

During urination, the muscles surrounding the urethra relax and the muscles of the bladder contract, forcing urine out. Incontinence occurs when the muscles of the bladder or urethra fail, and urine escapes.

Many people experience occasional, minor leaks of urine, but some may experience more substantial leaks, more frequently. This is urine leakage that happens when you laugh, cough, sneeze, lift things, or exercise. This is known as stress incontinence. Urinary incontinence is common among women as the bladder is more likely to move out of its normal position. This is particularly common following childbirth due to weakness or prolapse of the pelvic floor.

For severe cases of stress urinary incontinence or overactive bladder syndrome (urge incontinence) that does not respond to non-surgical treatment, Dr Ridgard may suggest incontinence surgery. Vaginal sling procedures are types of surgeries that help control stress urinary incontinence. The procedure helps close your urethra and bladder neck, providing a long-term solution.

What are the treatments for urinary incontinence?
To make an accurate diagnosis and ensure you are a candidate for vaginal sling surgery, Dr Ridgard may use a bladder stress test, urinalysis, ultrasound, urodynamics and cystoscopy test.

While there are medications and behaviour strategies such as bladder retraining and kegel exercises that may be beneficial, vaginal sling procedures are deemed the best long-term option to treat stress incontinence. This surgery is, however, advised for women who are finished with childbearing. For women with pelvic prolapse, he may suggest this anti-incontinence procedure in conjunction with a prolapse repair.

Surgery is aimed to support the pelvic floor and move the bladder back into its correct position. There are three types of approaches to treating female incontinence, retropubic suspension and two types of sling procedures.

Whichever approach is chosen, your urologist will create a sling over the bladder neck with synthetic mesh tape. This sling is then pulled to create tension, and secured to the pelvic tissue or your abdominal wall with stitches. By reinforcing the urethra and the bladder neck, the bladder is supported, and thus, urine leakage can be prevented.