Some urinary incontinence treatments are safer than others
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is a common problem that affects an estimated 15 million women in the United States. It is the involuntary leakage of urine that occurs during periods of stress, such as sneezing, laughter, or heavy lifting.
SUI is caused by a number of factors including urinary tract infection, obesity, smoking, diabetes, excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine, and sports such as running or tennis. It can be embarrassing, but treatment is available.
Women who are considering a procedure to treat their SUI should seriously consider their options, as some procedures have been found to be safer than others.
Surgical treatments include the injection of collagen, synthetic sugars or gels into the tissues around the upper portion of the urethra, or using sutures attached to ligaments or bone to lift and support tissues near the bladder neck. Renessa is a new treatment in which a device is passed through the urethra. The device controls heating of microscopic tissue sites at the base of the bladder, and then is immediately removed.
One of the most common procedures is the bladder sling. The sling is made of surgical mesh, also known as transvaginal mesh, that is implanted and used to shore up the bladder. The mesh used for bladder slings and for a similar procedure known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP) has come under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of complications with the mesh.
In some cases, in POP and SUI repair, the mesh has moved or eroded into the vaginal wall causing excruciating pain, incontinence and disability. Some women have had to undergo multiple surgeries to have the mesh removed.
Women who are considering a treatment for their SUI should consult with their doctors about their options.
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