Treatment Options for Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is when urine leaks out with sudden pressure on the bladder and urethra, causing the sphincter muscles to open briefly. With mild SUI, pressure may be from sudden forceful activities, like exercise, sneezing, laughing or coughing. If your SUI is more severe, you may also leak with less forceful activities like standing up, walking or bending over. Urinary “accidents” like this can range from a few drops of urine to enough to soak through your clothes.

The key symptom of SUI is when urine leaks out during any activity that increases abdominal pressure. The amount can be a few drops to tablespoons or more. If you have mild SUI, you will leak during forceful activities such as exercise. You may also leak when you sneeze, laugh, cough or lift something heavy. If your SUI is moderate or more severe, you may also leak when you do less strenuous activities, like standing up or bending over.

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Sling surgery is the most common surgery doctors use to treat urinary stress incontinence. That’s when certain movements or actions, like coughing,sneezing, or lifting, put pressure on your bladder and make you pee a little.

The surgeon creates a “sling” out of mesh or human tissue. Then they put it under the tube that urine passes through, called the urethra. The sling is like a hammock that lifts and supports your urethra and the neck of your bladder (where your bladder connects to your urethra) to help prevent leaks.

Lifestyle changes like losing weight and doing Kegel exercises may help if you have a mild case of urinary stress incontinence. But if you’ve tried those and still have symptoms that affect your quality of life, sling surgery might be an option.