Incontinence CAN be cured

Did you know that in certain cases, incontinence can actually be cured?

Knowledge, understanding, prevention and treatment all play a huge role in improving one’s bladder and bowel leaking conditions. Playing an active role in your own health and wellbeing is the first step to a life with minimal or no incontinence symptoms.

Knowledge is key. Know what is causing your incontinence, whether it be illness, disease, medication or something very simple that you might change in your day to day life.

Discussions with your medical professional, Continence Nurse or GP is an excellent starting point to learn more about your particular condition which can lead to talking about changes you can implement to manage and prevent incontinence.

Before considering the treatment path, it is important to understand the different types of incontinence, these are:

  1. Stress (due to increased abdominal pressure under stress)
  2. Urge (due to involuntary contraction of the bladder muscles)
  3. Overflow (due to the blockage of the urethra)
  4. Neurogenic (due to the impaired functioning of the nervous system)

Surgery can be an option, but it depends on the type of urinary incontinence you have. The most common type of incontinence that surgery will be available for is ‘stress’ incontinence. However, surgical alternatives are available for other bladder problems including ‘urge’ incontinence.

Weakened pelvic floor and connective tissue that support the bladder are a symptoms of stress incontinence. A surgical approach called a sling procedure is the synthetic material (mesh) or strips of your body’s tissue are used to create a pelvic sling underneath your urethra and the area of thickened muscle where the bladder connects to the urethra (bladder neck) helping keep the urethra closed.  

A cancerous bladder can be operated on in the early stages, to remove cancerous tissue and tumors on the bladder wall. This is called transurethral surgery. In some situations where the cancer has progressed, sections of the bladder can be fully removed (partial cystectomy) or if too advanced the entire bladder can be removed. This is called a radical cystectomy and often requires further reconstructive surgery for urine diversion.

A protrusion of the pelvic organs into the vaginal canal is called a prolapse and happens when the pelvic floor becomes weakened or damaged. Depending on which organ or organs have prolapsed, the woman’s age and whether she wishes to retain her uterus will depend on the surgical procedure or approach is available.

Although most procedures will include repairing the vaginal wall and its structures, surgical approaches for ‘urge’ incontinence are often rare. In most cases alternative treatments including medications are used, but in some cases, bladder augmentation can be offered only as a last resort.

Seek advice from a Urologist or Gynecologist for more specific and detailed information regarding surgery and your options.