Incontinence is a very common condition among women. Incontinence usually happens when the muscles that help control the pelvic organs are weak or damaged resulting in a lack of command over the bladder and bowel. Menopause and childbirth commonly lead to incontinence. Vaginal deliveries especially can stretch and tear the muscles that support and control bladder function. If medication, exercise, behavioral therapies, or diet changes don’t work to remedy the condition, then a doctor may recommend surgery. Surgery will help to alleviate incontinence and give you the confidence to lead a more active lifestyle.
Urinary incontinence surgery is performed to treat two different issues. One is an overactive bladder. An overactive bladder causes contractions of the bladder muscles to happen, bringing on the immediate and uncontrolled urge to urinate. The second issue is stress incontinence, which is involuntary leaking of urine during physical activity, or during natural reactions like coughing and sneezing. Stress incontinence is the result of a sagging bladder and urethra and weakened muscles that support the bladder and urethra.
The most common type of procedure done for incontinence on an outpatient basis is sling procedures. Performed under general anesthesia, sling procedures are executed through a vaginal incision. Most of the time incontinence is caused by the neck of the bladder dropping toward the vagina. During surgery, the doctor raises the neck of the bladder or urethra with a hammock-like sling that lifts and supports them to prevent leaking. The sling will help keep the urethra closed, especially when you cough or sneeze.
Recovery time varies among patients. It is usually around two to four weeks before you will be able to resume activities like exercise or heavy lifting. Some patients may need a temporary catheter during recovery to help drain urine while healing. It may be up to six weeks before you can resume sexual activity.
If you are looking into having incontinence surgery done, please call the Surgery Center of Fort Collins with any questions. We do perform such procedures, and they are often more affordable and less stressful to have done at our ambulatory surgery center as opposed to in a hospital setting. Call 970-821-8634 for more information or to schedule an appointment.