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Vladimir Kakitelashvili, MD, PhD
Female Stress Incontinence
La Plata Urology Center, LLC

Female Stress Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the loss of voluntary control over your urinary functions. This condition affects over 13 million Americans, 85% of which are women. With new treatment options available for incontinence, women can now restore, and may improve, their active lifestyle.

Female stress incontinence can slowly develop as you age, and may be a result of childbirth. It generally occurs when your pelvic muscles are not strong enough to keep the opening from the bladder neck closed when you’re under physical stress, which includes laughing, coughing, lifting, exercising, or increasing abdominal pressure in any other way.

If you have been diagnosed with female stress incontinence, one surgical option your doctor may recommend is a Trans-obturator sling procedure. A sling procedure corrects stress incontinence by supporting your urethra to keep it in its correct position. Currently, Trans-obturator sling procedures have a success rate of about 85%. The operation is minimally invasive but may require an overnight hospital stay.

Stress incontinence can occur when weak pelvic floor muscles, or pressure from other organs, shift or weaken the bladder neck. When the bladder neck is out of place, the urethral sphincter may not be able to keep the bladder neck closed under physical stress. The surgically implanted sling corrects stress incontinence by supporting and repositioning the bladder neck and urethra in their correct position which can help the urethral sphincter function properly. The end result is that after a sling procedure, most women can once again regain control of their bladder.

During a Trans-obturator sling procedure, your doctor will place the center of the sling beneath your urethra. To place the sling, an incision is made in your thigh and vagina. The length of the incision will depend on the severity of your condition and your doctor’s approach.

When the sling is put in its desired position, it forms a cradle around your urethra, which provides support. This support holds the urethra in its correct position, which corrects stress incontinence.

After the procedure, your doctor will provide you with more specific details about your individual recovery process.

There are many options for treating or managing your incontinence. It’s important that you discuss your options with your doctor, and gain an understanding of what each treatment might mean for your future. By treating your incontinence successfully, you can return to the active lifestyle you’ve always enjoyed.

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