Doctors may suggest surgery to improve bladder control if other treatments have failed. Surgery helps stress urinary incontinence and it has proven to be very effective. The best surgical procedures improve or cure the incontinence associated with coughing, laughing, sneezing, and exercise in about 85% of women. When mixed incontinence or a component of urge incontinence is also present, the surgical success rate for complete bladder control is reduced because these procedures are not designed to treat the urge incontinence component.

    Surgical management of urinary incontinence should only be considered after several criteria have been met:

    • Incontinence symptoms are bothersome.
    • Stress incontinence has been confirmed by your doctor during bladder testing.
    • Non-surgical treatments have failed to provide relief of symptoms.
    • The benefits of surgery are expected to be greater than the possible risks.


    Original publication date: May 2008; Content Updated: June 2013

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