Incontinence is embarrassing. There is a stigma that comes with not being able to control urine leakage, especially as an adult. Stress incontinence – leakage that occurs when there is pressure on the pelvis such as during exercise, heavy lifting, even just coughing and sneezing – is particularly common as men and women age.
There is a surgical treatment that can remedy stress incontinence for both men and women. A urethral sling is a mesh-like hammock that is used to support the urethra – the tube that carries urine out of the body – so it doesn’t leak. A urological surgeon typically performs this surgery.
Sling Surgery for Women
For women, this procedure involves making just a couple small incisions, usually one in the vagina and a second just below the pubic bone. Your surgeon will position the urethral sling under the urethra and bladder neck and secure it within the pelvic cavity. Eventually, tissue grows into the sling to hold it in place.
Sling Surgery for Men
For men, only a single, small incision is needed to place the urethral sling. The incision is made in the area behind the scrotum and above the rectum. The sling is most effective in men with mild to moderate stress incontinence. Men with more severe incontinence may benefit from an artificial urinary sphincter instead of a urethral sling.
After your urologist has ascertained the type of urinary incontinence you are suffering from, conservative measures may be recommended before surgery, depending on the intensity of your symptoms and how disruptive they are.
For example, Kegel exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor and may reduce occurrences of stress incontinence. These exercises involve contracting then relaxing the muscles that control the opening to the urethra, vagina, and rectum. These exercises can improve muscle function and help with holding urine in the bladder longer. They can help men and women.
There is another nonsurgical option sometimes used to treat stress incontinence in women. A pessary is a removable device inserted into the vagina to support the bladder neck, repositioning the urethra and reducing the likelihood of incontinence.
When Leakage Interferes With Your Life
Don’t suffer the embarrassment of urinary incontinence a moment longer. Stress incontinence is extremely common, especially as men and women age, and there are treatments to stop it.
Contact a urologist today and stop having to check yourself after every bathroom trip. In the area of Nashville, Tennessee, contact world-renowned urologist Dr. L. Dean Knoll by calling (615) 622-5033 or request an appointment online and regain control over your bodily functions.