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Surgical Treatment Options for Incontinence

Overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) and incontinence, whether caused by stress or urge, are two health issues that become increasingly common in women as they age. However, “common” is no comfort if you suffer from one of these conditions. Fortunately, OAB and incontinence does not have to be “an inevitable consequence of aging.”


For some women, bladder issues may be minor, meriting some limited medical intervention, including medication or physical therapy. In other cases, if your incontinence is severe or cannot be treated through less invasive means, surgery might be necessary.

About Sling Surgery

A “sling procedure” is a common surgical procedure used to treat female urinary incontinence. (You can learn more about other surgical procedures here.) A sling procedure takes some tissue from the body (or a mesh/synthetic material), which is used to form a pelvic sling. This sling goes around the area where the urethra connects to the bladder neck. The effect is that the urethra’s supportive tissues are reinforced, and less likely result in leakage when you laugh, sneeze or cough.

There is strong evidence that sling surgery offers significant benefits over non-surgical treatments in women with moderate to severe stress urinary incontinence. According to one randomized study of 460 women:

“90.8% of those who underwent midurethral sling surgery reported improvement at 1-year follow-up, compared with 64.4% of those who underwent physiotherapy training.”

Other surgical procedures for female urinary incontinence include prolapse surgery and bladder neck suspension. Of course, surgery is not right for every patient. Many women with mild urinary incontinence (both ‘stress’ and ‘urge’) find relief through physical therapy and/or behavioral therapy.

Ask your women’s health care provider for information about Kegel exercises, which strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

Schedule Your Appointment

For more information about urinary incontinence, contact a Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center location near you.


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