What are possible complications of surgery for stress incontinence?

Three distressing but uncommon problems may occur after any type of surgery for stress incontinence (leaking when coughing or jumping), although the risks vary with the different procedures:
  • You might develop symptoms of overactive bladder (frequent urination and urges to urinate), even if you were never troubled by them before (7%-15% of patients experience this).
  • Although it's not common, you might undo the benefits of the surgery by lifting or other strenuous activity, even after the healing period is over.
  • You might go from incontinence to having difficulty urinating temporarily, in rare cases requiring a catheter to empty your bladder.
  • The sling material (which supports the urethra hammock-style) may erode through the vaginal wall. This problem can be repaired relatively easily -- sometimes in the office under local anesthesia.

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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.