Also known to the world as effort urinary incontinence, the condition referred to as Stress Urinary Incontinence is a depressing disorder commonly affecting 40 to 60% of all the women worldwide. To the affected women, this disorder can be disconcerting and unpleasant as it greatly alters physical exercises, activities of daily living, and sexual intercourse.
This commonly targets women in menopause since they have low estrogen level. Estrogen helps the body to produce a protein called collagen which keeps the pelvic muscles strong and able to hold the pelvic organs in position. Those who have had multiple pregnancies and childbirths, past removal of the uterus, and pelvic organ prolapse are also at risk.
With age, women are prone to this condition due to the weakening pelvic muscles that support the placement of all pelvic organs including the bladder and the urethra. With this weakened pelvic tissues and the increased abdominal pressure in coughing, laughing, sneezing, lifting heavy objects, or during sexual intercourse, urine will involuntary leak out from the bladder due to the compromised sphincter.
The underlying causes of stress urinary incontinence can either be a prolapsed pelvic organ, the presence of tumors or poor sensations and delayed reflexes; these can be examined through a pelvic assessment. Stress test, ultrasound and cystoscopy can also be performed to help ensure diagnosis. Bladder pressure and urine flow are also measured through urodynamics.
The treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms present and how much it interferes with the patient’s lifestyle. Behavioral changes like decreasing excessive fluid intake, avoiding activities that can trigger more urine flow and voiding at regular intervals are considered first. Kegel exercises are also important to restore the function of the urethral sphincter and make the pelvic muscles stronger. For mild and moderate cases, certain medicines are prescribed, and surgery is encouraged for severe cases after the cause of incontinence is determined.
Kegel exercises, behavioral changes, and medications usually only alleviate the symptoms; surgical procedures, on the other hand, offer a much effective treatment providing that patients don’t have healing problems, other urinary disorders, or faulty surgical procedures in the past.
The use of vaginal mesh as implant to strengthen pelvic support is the most frequently performed surgery for Stress Urinary Incontinence. Only a few cases ended successfully after this procedure, while there are numerous risks involved like mesh erosion, bleeding, infections, pelvic organ perforations, dyspareunia (pain on sexual intercourse), and skin breakdown.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have recently received rising reports of adverse events caused by the use of vaginal mesh. These alarming situations prompted the agency to announce safety warnings to the public regarding the danger of vaginal mesh implants which also led to the increase in vaginal mesh lawsuit filed by many recipients against mesh makers who are responsible for the faulty mesh implants they distribute.