Stress Incontinence, or incontinence as it is commonly called, is a term used to describe urinating involuntarily. The most common causes of stress incontinence include the simple acts of laughing or coughing, and exercise. There is now a safe surgical procedure to correct this condition, known as Tension-Free Vaginal Tape (TVT) surgery.
Why Does Stress Incontinence Happen?
Stress incontinence happens when the nervous system, kidneys and the urinary tract do not function normally. This results to the inability to hold urine in. What keeps urine from passing through and leaking out is the bladder's sphincter which encloses the urethra and shuts close whenever one hold's urine in. If a woman suffers from stress incontinence, the muscles in the pelvic area and the bladder (including the sphincter) become weak and are unable to control urine from passing. The weakening of these muscles can sometimes be caused by medication, injuries or surgeries.
The TVT Surgery
The TVT surgery is currently the safest surgical treatment for women who are experiencing stress incontinence. This medical procedure involves the use of a mesh tape in the urethra for the purpose of stopping incontinence. Incisions are created in the stomach, as well as in the vagina in order to insert the tape. As soon as it is properly placed in the urethra, no stitching is required.
The surgery can take a minimum of 30 minutes. Local anesthesia is administered to the patient prior to TVT surgery. With local anesthesia, the patient is numb and is unable to feel pain, but is awake for following the doctor's instructions. For instance, the doctor may ask the patient to cough in order to determine the optimal placement in the urethra. This surgical procedure can also be performed in men who are experiencing stress incontinence.
As for recovery, the patient may need to stay overnight at the hospital, however this isn't always necessary. A catheter can temporarily be used to pass urine. On average, recovery time takes about a week or two. Restrictions which will last for about six weeks are imposed during recovery, and these include cessation of strenuous activities and sexual intercourse. The possible risks for this surgery, despite it being the safest, include perforation of the bladder.
Unlike other procedures, the use of a tape in holding the urethra is what makes it safer than other surgical treatments for stress incontinence. The urethra does not need to be cut or stitched. After the surgery, the patient will need to urinate in order to check if the bladder and the urethra are functioning correctly.