Stress Urinary Incontinence
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is a condition marked by the involuntary leakage of urine from a woman’s urethra during moments of physical stress. This disorder can be embarrassing and life-altering.
What Is Happening
Ordinarily, urine in a woman’s bladder is held in place by a sphincter or muscle that circles the urethra. Over time, especially after childbirth, the bladder sphincter may become weak and unable to function properly. As a result, urine may flow unintentionally when pressure is placed on the abdomen due to heavy lifting, coughing, or sexual intercourse. Women may even experience unwanted urination when standing up from a sitting position.
What Can Be Done
There are several options to treat SUI. Initial options include medication, behavior changes (controlling fluid intake, urinating more often, etc.) and training the muscles of the pelvic floor through Kegel exercises. Physicians may also try collagen injections to increase the thickness of the urethra. However, many women do not respond to these treatments and may require surgery. The most common surgical option involves the implantation of surgical mesh to support the urethra or bladder neck. This is called a bladder sling procedure because the placement of the mesh resembles a hammock or a sling.
What May Result
Surgical mesh has been used for the treatment of SUI since the 1990’s. Initially, surgeons used mesh that had been developed for the repair of hernias. When medical device companies recognized the demand, they began to produce products and kits specifically for use in urogynecological procedures.
As the use of vaginal mesh increased, so did the reports of complications. Women experienced pain, bleeding, and infection following their surgery. In a significant number of women, the mesh eroded through the vaginal tissue. This complication is referred to as vaginal mesh erosion or extrusion. Besides being painful, protruding mesh can damage other pelvic organs and cause bleeding or organ perforation. The only option if this erosion occurs is to remove the mesh, but this can be very difficult and may require multiple operations. Even if the mesh is successfully removed, some women may continue to experience pain.
What Should Be Done
Continued problems with the use of vaginal mesh for the treatment of SUI have raised concerns about the safety of vaginal mesh products. The FDA is considering regulatory changes to more closely monitor the use of vaginal mesh. Patients who have experienced complications following vaginal mesh may be entitled to compensation for their injuries including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you had complications after your SUI procedure, contact the Law Office of Richard Langerman today for a free consultation.