Doc Talk: Dealing with female incontinence

CBS 21

It’s a problem women don’t want to talk about -- female incontinence.

The loss of control over the bladder is more common in women than in men.

One of the surgical procedures to fix incontinence is pretty controversial.

Female incontinence is not to be confused with an overactive bladder. It happens when you leak unexpectedly during exercise or when sneezing.

The issue usually comes after childbirth, according to Holy Spirit urogynecologist Matt Aungst.

“It’s most common in women, partly for anatomical issues. Women have a shorter urethra than men,” Aungst said.

In the 1990s, most women fixed the issue with a surgical procedure that put in a mesh sling.

But in 2008, the FDA issued a public health notification that mesh slings had potential complications. Many then back off of those procudures.

There are alternatives, one of them being a fascial sling.

“We have to harvest a small piece of tissue from their abdominal wall to make the sling out of tissue,” Aungst said.

The whole procedure takes an hour and a half, requiring about four weeks of recovery.

Dr. Aungst says it’s worth it.

“Overall, getting these problems improved can help a lot of women be healthier, more active, more socially engaged,” Aungst said.

Female incontinence is most common in women in their forties and older.

If you notice you’re having problems controlling your bladder, talk to your doctor.

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