There are few things as distressing as the inability to control one’s bodily fluids. Luckily, our urologists can help. Urinary incontinence is the involuntary release or leakage of urine from the bladder. Our urologists perform incontinence surgery on both men and women to correct this problem.
Urinary incontinence is actually a fairly common problem, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing to bring up to friends, family, or even your doctor. Ironically, incontinence is almost always caused by a treatable medical condition. However, due to the nature of the problem, people tend to under-report incontinence to their physicians.
If more patients realized this problem, they’d find that urinary incontinence could be a very treatable urological condition. Our urologists in Los Angeles urge you to consult with your doctor if you experience any signs of urinary incontinence.
TYPES OF INCONTINENCE
Several types of urinary incontinence exist. Each is caused by a different underlying medical condition:
- Stress Incontinence
- Urge incontinence or overactive bladder
- Overflow Incontinence
- Mixed Urinary Incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is any involuntary leakage of urine caused by physical activity, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or more high-intensity exercises. In more serious cases of SUI, bladder leaking might be caused from standing up or bending over. The amount of leakage from stress urinary incontinence is a tablespoon or more.
Women tend to be affected more by stress urinary incontinence than men. Also, SUI is usually experienced later on in life. White or Hispanic women are more likely to develop stress incontinence than other races. Risk factors for SUI include obesity, chronic coughing, smoking, childbirth, and pregnancy.
Urge incontinence occurs when the muscles around the bladder spasm, forcing urine out involuntarily. Symptoms of this type of incontinence include the sudden urge to urinate as well as the need to urinate frequently. The amount of bladder leakage from urge incontinence can be more than stress incontinence, and in some cases, enough to visibly wet your clothes.
An overactive bladder is actually a type of urge incontinence, but some people with an overactive bladder do not suffer from urinary incontinence.
Mixed urinary incontinence is when one experiences a combination of urge and stress incontinence. Overflow incontinence occurs when, as you guessed it, the bladder overflows when it is too full.
SURGICAL TREATMENT FOR URINARY INCONTINENCE
Our urologists use incontinence surgery only after other conservative non-surgical treatments have failed to treat the problem. Many surgical options can be used that have high rates of success, and most of these methods can be divided into two main categories:
- Sling procedures
- Bladder neck suspension procedures
Sling procedures are the most common type of surgery used to treat urinary incontinence. Sling procedures uses strips of the patient’s body tissue or synthetic material (such as mesh) to create a pelvic sling or hammock around the bladder neck and the tube (urethra) that carries urine from the bladder. The sling supports the urethra to keep it closed when you exert yourself to cough or sneeze, for instance.
Slings used to treat urinary incontinence include:
- Tension-free slings
- Adjustable slings
- Conventional slings
BLADDER NECK SUSPENSION PROCEDURES
Bladder neck suspension procedures provide support to the urethra and bladder neck, which is a thick, muscled area in which the bladder connects to the urethra. An incision is made in the lower abdomen, through which a surgeon places stitches in the tissue of the bladder neck area and secures them to a ligament near your pubic bone or directly in the cartilage of the pubic bone. This reinforces the bladder neck and urethra so that both don’t sag and lead to incontinence.
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia, and the recovery should take about six weeks, depending on individual circumstances. Patients might also need to use a catheter until they can resume normal urination when back in full health.
A pessary is a urological device that can be inserted into the anus or vagina to help support the bladder. Pessaries help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles as these muscles support the bladder and urinary functions.
WHAT IS A UROLOGIST?
A urologist is a specialized medical doctor that treats only conditions of the urinary tract, bladder, and the male reproductive system. Our urologists in Los Angeles diagnose, treat, and aim to prevent diseases and conditions that affect them. Our Urology Department is highly accomplished and experienced.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our LA urologists, contact us today at 855.759.2626.