Dr Komalas Women Clinic - Stress Incontinence

What is Stress Incontinence?

Stress incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine due to a physical movement or forceful activity that puts sudden pressure on the bladder. This condition can vary from mild to severe. If you have mild incontinence, the leakage can be due to forceful activities such as lifting something heavy, laughing, or coughing. If you have severe stress incontinence, the leakage can occur due to simple activities such as standing up, bending down, or walking. This is more common in women than men. This situation can be embarrassing and take a huge toll on the quality of your life. Hence, it is recommended you consult a doctor who specializes in urinary system problems.

How Do You Know if You Need Stress Incontinence Surgery?

The word “stress” in stress incontinence only refers to physical pressure and has nothing to do with mental stress. The main symptom is urine leakage during forceful physical activities, which can be just a few drops or enough to soak your clothes. If you suspect you have any symptoms related to stress incontinence, you should immediately talk with your doctor. These symptoms may include involuntary leakage of urine due to:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Laughing
  • Bending down
  • Exercising
  • Lifting something heavy
  • Sexual intercourse
  • jumping


Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and try to solve your problem using non-invasive treatment methods. If your condition does not get better even after such treatment, your doctor may recommend surgery.

What are the Types of Surgeries?

There are many surgical options to treat stress incontinence. Sling surgery is the most common surgical method used by doctors. Your doctor will recommend surgery, depending on what will suit your body and health conditions the best. Other options include:

  • Colposuspension
  • Sling surgery or bladder neck suspension
  • Artificial sphincter
  • Vaginal mesh surgery
  • Urethral bulking agents

What Happens During Surgery?

During surgery, your doctor’s main goal will be to provide your urethra and bladder with more support so that they do not open accidentally and cause leakage.

  • Sling surgery: This is the most common type of surgery performed in women with stress incontinence. This includes making a cut in your abdomen and vagina to place a sling (usually made of a person’s tissue, synthetic material, an animal’s or a donor’s tissue) to support your urethra, which restricts urine leakage due to sudden forceful activities. In men, the sling is placed around the part of the urethral bulb. 
  • Colposuspension: In this procedure, the sutures attached to ligaments along the pubic bone are used to lift the neck of the bladder and stitch it in its lifting position. This supports the urethra and stops it from accidentally leaking the urine. It takes a long time to recover from this surgery and also has many complications.
  • Artificial sphincter: This treatment method is used to treat men with stress incontinence. The urinary sphincter prevents the urine from flowing from the bladder to the urethra. The artificial urinary sphincter is filled with fluids that keep the urethra closed, preventing leakage at all times. However, if the device stops working in the future, you will need further surgery to remove it. 
  • Vaginal mesh surgery: In this surgery, a strip of synthetic mesh is inserted behind the urethra to provide more support. This synthetic mesh will stay in your body permanently. It is advisable to select a specific surgery type only after discussing the options thoroughly with your doctor, as surgery may bring complications. 
  • Urethral bulking agents: This is a substance injected into the tissues of the urethra, which increases the size of urethral walls and improves their closing ability. The effect of this injection may fade away after some time, and you will need to get another injection.

What are the Risks of Stress Incontinence Surgeries?

Even if a surgery is mostly safe, it includes some risks and complications. Stress incontinence surgeries are no exception. The risks of surgery are:

  • You may have difficulty peeing or completely emptying the bladder and discomfort during sex after colposuspension.
  • After a sling surgery, you may face difficulty emptying the bladder, and some people may also develop urge incontinence.
  • You may have constipation, long-lasting pain, permanent nerve damage, or sexual problems after vaginal mesh surgery.
  • You may experience light bleeding or burning sensation while urinating for a short period after injection of urethral bulking agents.

If you face any complications after surgery, immediately talk with your surgeon. Do not hesitate to share all the relevant information with them so that they can treat it.

What to do After the Treatment?

The surgery will improve your quality of life. Make sure to rest for at least two weeks after surgery so that your body can function normally. Stay in touch with your doctor for the right after-surgery care and tests to see if your body is functioning properly. If you still face symptoms of urine leakage or other problems that interfere with your daily life, immediately contact your doctor.

What are Some Lifestyle Changes that Can Help?

If you want the effects of surgery to last long, make certain healthy lifestyle changes. Common sense and taking utmost care of yourself will help you greatly. Some lifestyle changes include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Empty your bladder fully while urinating
  • Add fibers to your diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid eating foods that might irritate your bladder


Talk with your doctor and get surgery instead of dealing with embarrassing moments and isolating yourself from others if you have stress incontinence problems. Improve your social and mental well-being by taking your doctor’s advice and coming up with a treatment plan.

The type of surgery will depend on the severity of your problem and if the surgery will suit you. The most common surgery performed by doctors is sling surgery.

The effects of stress incontinence surgeries last for several years. Urine leakage may come back in some cases. In such situations, you must immediately contact your doctor.

If left untreated, urine stress incontinence can lead to depression, sleep loss, anxiety, and fatigue

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