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Is surgery an option for severe overactive bladder?

For severe overactive bladder there are surgical options, such as InterStim (sacral nerve stimulation), that a urogynecologist or urologist may suggest. Also, if a condition like cystocele is contributing to overactive bladder symptoms, surgical repair of that condition could be beneficial. Usually multiple medical treatments are tried prior to surgery.

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Several surgical options are available if you are not responding to other treatments or for certain other reasons. One procedure increases the size of the bladder and reportedly has a 90 percent success rate. Others use a sling to support the bladder. Remember that surgery may not be a cure for certain causes of overactive bladder. Surgery also comes with some risks, including:  

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Pelvic prolapse
  • Difficulty urinating or urine stoppage before emptying bladder (usually temporary)
  • Difficulty or pain during sex

You and your doctor should weigh the risks and benefits before deciding to have surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.