Local News

Procedure Helps Women Regain Control Of Bladder, Lives

Posted January 6, 2005 6:52 a.m. EST

— There are some health problems people have trouble talking about. One of them is bladder control.

Incontinence affects women, 2 to 1 over men. Exercise can help some women and medications can help others. When nothing seems to work, there is a simple surgical procedure that can help women regain control.

Janet Price said the problem kept her from enjoying life.

"I was at the point where I was wearing pads for incontinence because I never knew when I was going to have a problem," she said.

Almost anything would cause her to wet herself.

"If I laughed, if I coughed, if did any kind of exercise or danced," she said.

Price had stress urinary incontinence. Child bearing, hormonal changes or age can weaken or damage pelvic muscles and tissue, causing a fallen bladder. Any stress on the muscles can cause a leak.

"It inhibits them from exercising, from going to certain social activities, such as church," said Dr. Joseph Khoury, a Rex Hospital urologist.

Khoury helped Price with a urethral support sling.

Through an incision above the pubic bone, Khoury inserted a long needle. On the other end he attached a tape sling. The sling loosely supports the weakened muscle and tissue around the urethra.

"We've done these in women who are 30 years old and ladies who are in their early 90s. They've all, for the most part, had significant success with it," Khoury said.

After an overnight stay at the hospital and another day to recover, Price's problem vanished. Now she has advice for other women with the same problem.

"Don't wait. Do it now because there's no reason to [wait]. You can get your life back," Price said.

The urethral support sling has a 90 percent success rate in women over a 10- to 15-year period.