Stress Incontinence - How is treated?
There are a variety of effective treatments for stress incontinence. Your specialist will discuss the potential benefits of each treatment and any side effects or complications.
- Pelvic floor exercises, vaginal inserts and other conservative treatments
- Vaginal tapes (eg TVT, TOT)
- Autologous sling procedure
- Urethral injections
Pelvic floor exercises are usually recommended before considering the need for an operation. These should be done with a trained physiotherapist or continence advisor for the best results. We also always advise patients to optimise their general health and their weight, as weight loss has been shown to significantly improve continence. By following these non-invasive measures, we can hopefully avoid operations for most patients.
Vaginal tapes are an effective treatment for stress incontinence. Recently, there have been concerns about the side effects of tape operations and some women have sadly experienced significant complications. The government has imposed a restriction on tape operations and other vaginal procedures that use synthetic mesh; therefore vaginal tapes operations cannot currently be offered in the UK.
The main options for stress incontinence currently available are bulking injections, autologous sling insertion and colposuspension. There is no "one size fits all" operation for incontinence. Incontinence specialists will be able to discuss a variety of treatment options and help you choose the one which is best for you. The treatment pages give further information, but there is also a decision making tool from BAUS to help patients decide what treatment might be best for them. It can be found by following this link.