Is Surgery the only option for incontinence?

Incontinence is one such issue that people find hard to share about with those around. There is a stigma around it. This is the consequence of lack of knowledge alone. But apart from it, incontinence in itself is a serious problem that many do suffer from. Stats say that around 10% men and 38% women suffer from it in Australia alone. This makes people go for surgery. But is surgery the only treatment out there? ConfidenceClub (Australia) says that there comes a stage when it could be considered. But what is that stage? Furthermore, what all could be done about it?

Surgery and Incontinence – an insight by ConfidenceClub.

Incontinence, however, might seem like just one thing, but it has many kinds. Incontinence is a stage when the body finds it harder to hold urine or feces. This makes incontinence to be of two major sorts:

  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Fecal Incontinence

Now, when it comes to urinary incontinence, the branches spread out more. There are many types of urinary incontinence based on causes and symptoms. ConfidenceClub Australia says that surgery does not treat all types of incontinence. But what all are these types?

  • Urge Incontinence – It is when you feel like you need to pee right now; it is when you feel that your bladder is about to blast, or is just full. But in reality the bladder does not remain full. This happens either due an overactive bladder, an infection in the tract, or a psychological disorder.
  • Stress Incontinence – This type of incontinence happens when organs press over the bladder, making it to leak. This either happens due to Pelvic Organ Prolapse, weak pelvic muscles, cough, sneeze, etc.
  • Overflow Incontinence – You find it hard to empty your bladder completely and keep on leaking thereafter.
  • Functional – It is when you fail to function properly, which means that you fail to reach the bathroom on time. This happens either due to psychological reasons like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, or arthritis.
  • Mixed – A mix of any of the types of incontinence written above.

Now, many people do think surgery will put an end to their problem. But how much is the truth?

Will surgery treat incontinence?

Anyone would suggest you to go for non-surgical treatment at first. Because most types of incontinence get treated through lifestyle change and exercises, doctors suggest these before doing surgery. What are these treatments?

  • Doing Pelvic Floor exercises (also known as Kegel exercises).
  • Taking behavioral therapy in case of urge, overflow, or functional incontinence.
  • Bringing down on diuretics like caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, smoking etc.
  • Losing weight in case you suffer from stress incontinence. Losing weight will put less pressure over your bladder and thus will come helpful. If stress incontinence is due to pregnancy, it heals by time. It could take around 6 months.
  • Bladder training, which is to hold your bladder’s urge to urinate for some time before peeing.
  • Using incontinence pads and pants. ConfidenceClub suggests to not be dependent on them and urinate when one can in the bathroom. This creates a psychological dependency. Wearing pants should not mean that you have to pee in them anyhow.
  • Taking certain medications.

When the above ways do not work, it comes down to surgery. We always advise you to ask your doctor about it completely. The surgery works on stress incontinence, or other incontinence if the condition is due to an injury inside.

These are the possible surgical treatments:

  • Sling Surgery – A sling is placed inside to support the bladder.
  • Colposuspension – Stitching your bladder in a lifted position.
  • Mesh Surgery.
  • Artificial Sphincter for males.
  • Urethral bulking agents for females.

ConfidenceClub Australia suggests to always talk to your doctor about all the possible risks and rewards before going for it. Sometimes the aftereffects of surgery outweigh the benefits.