The need to find other methods in treating stress urinary incontinence (SUI) has become very crucial with the unabated increase in the number of women gravely injured after undergoing vaginal mesh surgeries for the repair of this condition. This has led to the development of new alternatives and a resurgence of treatment methods that have lost favor from doctors, caused by the emergence of surgical mesh devices.
Prevention of SUI and maximizing of conservative and non-invasive approaches are the emphases right now. A patient with SUI may avail of the following options:
Pelvic Floor Muscle Training
Recognized by medical experts as an effective method in managing stress urinary incontinence (SUI), pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT), along with lifestyle changes, has been considered as a first-line option for addressing this condition. Also called Kegel exercises, PFMT involves the strengthening of the urinary sphincter and the pelvic floor muscles, which controls the flow of urine.
Patients were reported to experience improvements in their conditions by as much as 70 percent, according to numerous studies. This form of treatment has become favored by both doctors and patients, since this approach has no side effects, non-invasive, and no costs involved.
Weighted vaginal cones may be used by women who may find it difficult to perform pelvic floor muscle training. Effectiveness of weighted vaginal cones are similar to that of pelvic floor muscle training, according to studies involving 1484 women.
The pelvic floor muscles are strengthened when involuntary contractions are caused by these weighted devices, which are shaped like cones and come in different sizes. The ease in inserting the device, which may be done without assistance from a doctor, is the main advantage of the method of treatment.
Another method of treatment for urinary incontinence which also involves the strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles is electrical stimulation. Already in existence in Europe and North America for the past three decades, this option has not gained much acceptance from medical practitioners. This may in part be due to the need for multiple treatments, which may take several months before progress may be experienced.
Electrical stimulation works by sending mild electrical current to the nerves in the back or pelvic floor muscles, through the electrodes inserted into the vagina or rectum. Through the stimulation, an effect similar to PFMT may result when the pelvic muscles contract.
Pelvic health specialists consider the vaginal pessary as an effective treatment option for SUI but are not widely used. According to the results of a recent study, satisfaction rate after one year of use was a high 76 percent. Reasons behind the low acceptance of these devices may include lack of knowledge and the discomfort perceived by the patients.
This device, which is usually made of silicone, works by pressing against the vaginal wall and the urethra once it is inserted into the vagina. The urethra is repositioned once pressure is exerted by the pessary resulting to reduced urine leakage or even the elimination of urinary incontinence.
Due to their effectiveness, limited side effects, low costs involved, and ease in application, SUI patients have been encouraged to maximize these conservative treatments. By being spared the need for surgical interventions such as vaginal mesh surgeries, which have been alleged to cause severe complications, women suffering from this very common disorder may also greatly benefit.
Vaginal mesh lawsuits have been filed by thousands of women who sustained serious injuries as a result of these complications. In a West Virginia court, claims against mesh manufacturers have exceeded the 40,000 mark, with AMS vaginal mesh lawsuits accounting for 12,253 as of the first week of December 2013.