Urinary incontinence surgery is suggested for managing the involuntary urine leakage. The embarrassing condition can make your life hell. A person suffering from the condition urinates when they do not want to. The condition occurs when the urinary sphincter weakens or gets lost. It is a common problem that affects both men and women. But, women tend to suffer the condition more compared to men. Stress factors like coughing can lead to the condition. Pregnant women or people who are obese can also suffer from the problem. The probability of experiencing the problem increases with advancing age. In most of the cases, your doctor suggests pelvic floor exercises, medications, and bladder control techniques as the first line of treatment. When the treatments fail to see results, your doctor suggests an invasive option to control the problem.
Types Of Urinary Incontinence
Depending on the cause of the problem, you can classify the condition into different types. So, people can suffer from various forms of urinary incontinence like:
The condition causes leakage of urine when you perform some activities like jumping or running. It can also occur when you cough or laugh. It is the most common type of problem.
Due to the condition, you feel an intense and sudden urge to urinate. You can experience urine leaking at the same time or just after the thought.
It refers to the leaking caused due to the inability to empty the urinary bladder.
The problem occurs when your urinary bladder fails to store or hold urine.
The problem causes urine to escape before the affected person reaches the bathroom. It occurs due to the mobility issue.
As the name suggests, it is a combination of different types of incontinence.
Reasons To Undergo Urinary Incontinence Surgery
Some women fail to respond to conservative treatments. So, they still suffer from overactive bladder or incontinence. If the condition starts disrupting your life, then you need an invasive treatment option. Urinary incontinence surgery has high complication risks compared to other treatment options. In severe cases, the surgery offers a long-term solution. The type of surgery you need to undergo depends on the type of problem you suffer.
Factors To Consider Before Opting Urinary Incontinence Surgery
You must never opt for the surgery without considering all the facts associated with it. In most cases, the invasive procedure is selected when other methods fail. Depending on the type of problem you suffer, you need a proper solution. So, you need to consider the following factors before selecting urinary incontinence surgery:
Determine The Type Of Problem
Incontinence is classified into different types. Therefore, it is essential to get an accurate diagnosis of the problem. Depending on the type of problem you suffer, the doctor can suggest the ideal surgical approach. So, you need to see a specialist doctor for further evaluation.
Plans To Have Children
Women of childbearing age who suffer from urinary incontinence need to wait for the surgery. It is ideal to undergo surgery after giving birth to children. The strain of pregnancy on your urethra, bladder, and supportive tissue can undo the effects of the surgery.
No Permanent Cure
By choosing surgery, never think you get rid of the problem completely. The surgery cannot cure all types of incontinence. It is not a miracle cure for the problem. For instance, people who suffer from mixed incontinence can get relief from stress incontinence with the invasive procedure. But, you need to undergo other treatments to control the overactive bladder. So, you need medication as well as physical therapy after undergoing surgery.
Understand The Risks
Like any other surgery, you can develop risks or complications due to the condition. The complications can affect you for more than a week. So, you can experience the following:
- Urinary retention
- Urge incontinence
- Urinary tract infection
- Painful intercourse
So, you need to talk to your doctor. It is important to gather all the information on the pros and cons associated with the surgery. You can make a better decision based on all the facts.
Choosing A Specialist For Urinary Incontinence Surgery
The condition causes embarrassment. So, you need to find a doctor who can help you handle the problem. You need a certified specialist with experience in treating such conditions without any complications. So, before choosing the doctor, you need to keep in mind the following factors:
Perform In-Depth Research
You need to perform detailed research on the specialist doctor. A board-certified, experienced, and skillful doctor with high success rates can offer you the best results. So, ask for reviews, get references, and gather as much information as possible to find the right fit for you.
Find The Right Specialist
You need to find the right specialist to treat your condition. It is an important step in getting the right treatment. Several specialists can treat urinary incontinence. But, with each specialty, the doctor has the proficiency to treat certain conditions specifically.
The specialist doctors have experience in diagnosing and treating female reproductive organs disorders. It is a broad area. So, you need to find the specialization of the gynecologist. Choose gynecologists who specialize in pelvic floor surgeries instead of obstetrics (childbirth). Such doctors have more experience in dealing with your condition.
The highly specialized doctors can offer treatment for pelvic organ problems like prolapse. They are also skilled to perform incontinence surgery. The doctor focuses their attention on providing treatment for urinary tract issues and problems with the reproductive system.
Men and women can seek treatment for incontinence from the urologists. The doctor focuses on the urogenital system and the urinary tract. So, they deal with issues affecting your kidneys, urethra, and bladder. But, make sure the urologist you choose has experience performing incontinence surgeries. Not all urologists are trained to perform the pelvic floor repair procedures. So, do your research properly.
Take Your Comfort Into Account
You need to feel comfortable about the doctor you chose for undergoing the surgery. So, ask any questions arising in your mind about the surgery. The surgeon/doctor needs to gain your confidence and make you comfortable with their approach. A specialist doctor with expertise can handle the questions from their patients and make them feel comfortable.
Cost Of Urinary Incontinence Surgery
The surgery to manage urinary incontinence is mostly an outpatient procedure. In most types of surgery, you never have to stay in the hospital. The procedure may cost $10,000 to $25,000 depending on the type. The cost of the surgery reduces greatly in countries like India. You can get the procedure done by an accredited doctor at a low cost. So, by spending anywhere around INR 45,000 to INR 1,00000, you can get the treatment.
Urinary Incontinence Surgery Procedures
Women suffer from urinary incontinence more compared to men. Your doctor suggests the following procedures to deal with the problem better.
Mid Urethral Sling Surgery
It is one of the common urinary incontinence surgery. During the procedure, your surgeon makes a sling out of a thin strip of mesh. It is placed under the urethra. Your surgeon can adopt three methods to place the mesh. Each method takes around half an hour to complete.
The method is also known as tension-free vaginal tape (TVT method). During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small cut inside the patient’s vagina. The cut is made under the urethra. Your surgeon also makes two small cuts just above the pubic bone region. The cuts can fit a needle with ease. So, your surgeon uses the needle to place the sling. It is placed behind the pubic bone and under the urethra. Your surgeon uses stitches or skin glue to close the cuts. The items used to close the cuts are easy to absorb by the body.
In this method, your surgeon makes cuts inside the patient’s vagina. The surgeon makes the first under the urethra. The surgeon also puts two cuts on each side of the labia. Labia is the fold of skin on both sides of a woman’s vagina. The sling is put through the incisions.
Single-Incision Mini Method
Your surgeon will make one small cut in your vagina and put the sling through it. To attach the sling, no stitches are used. As time progresses, scar tissues form around it. So, it keeps the sling in place.
Traditional Sling Surgery
It is the urinary incontinence surgery that is more involved compared to mid-urethral surgery. The surgeon makes the sling using a trip of tissue from your thigh or stomach. In other cases, the surgeon uses tissues from a donor. Then, the surgeon makes one cut in your belly and the other in your vagina. Through the cut in your belly, the sling is stretched. It is stitched on the inside of the stomach wall.
Not just women, but men can undergo the sling surgery. During the procedure, the surgeon cuts between anus and scrotum. Then, the sling gets placed around the enlarged end of the urethra (urethral bulb). The procedure lifts the urethra and squeezes it. Therefore, it helps prevent any leaks.
Complications Due To Urinary Incontinence Surgery
There are some side effects associated with the surgery. Some people can experience the following problems:
It is a well-known complication of urinary incontinence surgery. So, patients suffering from the problem can experience trouble urinating. Some may find it difficult to urinate. The risk of retention increases with the age of the patient. Therefore, catheterization becomes a requirement in such cases.
People undergoing invasive procedures tend to feel the frequent urge to pass urine. It is also one of the side effects of the surgery.
Urinary Tract Infections
Infection is the urinary tract is another possible complication of the surgery.
Painful Sexual Intercourse
Women who undergo the surgery for incontinence can experience pain during sexual intercourse.
Some people undergoing surgery can experience bladder perforation. It occurs during the needle passage. Your doctor must provide finger guidance to avoid the problem.
The surgeries using mesh can encounter such problems. A small percentage of people undergoing the surgery can encounter the mesh breaking down in the vagina. It happens in a small percentage of people. As initial treatment, your doctor prescribes vaginal cream. In severe cases, the surgeon cuts the mesh or suggests other surgeries to remove the mesh partially or completely.
After Urinary Incontinence Surgery
What can you expect after the surgery? Several thoughts may swirl around your mind. Here are some guidelines to make sure you do not face any complication while recuperating from the invasive procedure:
You need to take rest for at least four weeks. So, avoid strenuous activities during the period. You may feel tired and exhausted for the next couple of weeks. It is important not to exert yourself. Slight pain or discomfort is common during the initial weeks after the surgery. You can see discharge from the vagina. Never panic when you see light bleeding as it is normal after the surgery.
Self-Care After Surgery
After you get discharged, you need to take care of the surgical incisions at home. So, follow the guidelines suggested below to prevent infection or other complications:
- Shower after one or two days after your surgery. Take care while showering as you need to gently wash the incision. Use mild soap to clean the area and rinse well.
- Avoid rigorous drying as it can affect the incisions. So, slowly pat dry the area.
- Avoid taking baths or submerging yourself in water completely. Therefore, avoid activities like swimming or using a hot tub.
- You can remove the tape used to close the incisions seven days after the surgery after getting the all-clear from your surgeon.
- Have enough dressing supplies at home. It is because you need to keep a dry dressing on the incision. So, you have to change the dressing every day or frequently with heavy discharge.
- Never put anything inside your vagina for at least six weeks. So, refrain from sexual intercourse. Also, use sanitary pads instead of menstrual cups or tampons. Refrain from douching.
Check Your Food
You need to prevent constipation while recuperating from the surgery. The added pressure during the bowel movements due to constipation puts pressure on the incision. It can cause damage to the incisions. Therefore, prevent the condition by following the suggestion provided below:
- Add fiber to your diet. Eating a lot of fiber can prevent the hardening of the stool.
- If you experience constipation, you need to use over-the-counter stool softeners. It is easily available at all pharmacies.
- Drink lots of water and other fluids. It prevents the stools from hardening.
- Ask your doctor about using a laxative or enema. It is stronger than OTC stool softeners. So, you can get a safe option to treat the problem.
Improve Blood Circulation
After surgery, you face the risk of blood clot formation. Therefore, your doctor advises you to wear compression stockings. You need to wear it for four to six weeks to improve blood circulation. It will prevent blood clot formation and complications like DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).
Observe Your Body
People who have undergone urinary incontinence surgery are at risk of developing an infection. So, you need to check your body for signs of urinary tract infection. If you see symptoms associated with the problem, then call your doctor immediately.
You can gradually resume normal activities. Start from simple household activities that do not make you tired. Never exert yourself and get overtired. Here is the list of activities you can perform:
- You need to start walking up and down the stair slowly. Start with small durations. So, slowly walk for five minutes at least three to four times a day. You can slowly increase the length of your walks.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects. Lifting objects that weigh more than 10 pounds (approx. 4.5 kg) can put pressure on your incision. So, avoid stressing your surgical incision.
- Refrain from participating in strenuous activities like weight lifting, golfing, running, bowling, playing tennis, biking, mowing or gardening. You need to avoid such activities for six to eight weeks. Only resume the activities when your doctor gives you an all-clear.
- You can return to your normal, non-strenuous work schedule a few weeks after the surgery. If you have a vigorous work schedule, then you need to get permission from the doctor to return to work.
Going Home With A Urinary Catheter
If your surgeon sends you home with a urinary catheter, then you need to take extra caution. The presence of the catheter makes it impossible to urinate on your own. The catheter is the tube that collects your urine from the bladder. It drains the urine into a bag. Before leaving the hospital, the nursing staff will educate you on how to use and care for the catheter. Follow the instruction carefully as you need to do self-catheterization. Learn how to empty the bladder using the catheter. You need to drain the urine every three to four hours. It is to prevent the urinary bladder from becoming full. Drink less water or fluids after dinner time. It will prevent emptying the bladder several times during the night.
Emergency Medical Care After Urinary Incontinence Surgery
After the surgery, observe your body for symptoms that indicate some problems. You need to see a doctor immediately when you see the following signs after the urinary incontinence surgery:
- Severe pain
- Vaginal discharge with odor
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Excess amount of blood in the urine
- Difficulty urinating
- Swelling, tenderness or redness around the incision
- Frequent vomiting
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Pain or burning feeling when urinating, feeling the urge to urinate but not being able to
- More drainage than usual from your incision
- Any foreign material (mesh) that may be coming from the incision
Urinary incontinence surgery is the last step of your treatment plan. So, you need to decide after careful analysis of your condition and the facts associated with the procedure. To find an effective remedy for urinary incontinence may take time. So, never make a hasty decision. You must try all the conservative treatment options before opting for the invasive procedure. Talk to your doctor and make sure the option you choose offers the perfect solution to your problem. Find a skilled surgeon to perform the surgery to prevent any complications. Make a decision after checking all the facts will help you deal with the condition better.
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