Procedure for Incontinence in Women May Lose Effectiveness With Time

In 7-year study, failure rate for pelvic organ prolapse surgery gradually increased

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Women who had the dual procedure were less likely to have urinary incontinence than women who just had pelvic organ prolapse surgery.

Brubaker said there are other surgical techniques available now that don't involve mesh. However, the different surgeries haven't been studied in head-to-head trials, so it's difficult to know which might be best. There are also nonsurgical options. And, Brubaker said that if a woman is overweight, losing even a small amount of weight can help relieve some symptoms.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Cheryl Iglesia wrote that, as with face lifts or hernia surgery, "operations for pelvic organ prolapse also may be vulnerable to the normal wear and tear of aging and activities of daily living. Although imperfect, surgery for pelvic organ prolapse is generally safe and effective, and relief of bulge symptoms is associated with high patient satisfaction."

Iglesia is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and urology at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and the director of urogynecology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.

Her advice to women experiencing pelvic organ prolapse? "Go to a surgeon who you can have a legitimate conversation with about treatment options. Talk about what happens if you don't do anything. Talk about nonsurgical options. Talk about the different types of surgeries and their risks. Look for someone with a high experience rate with more than one procedure. Don't go to a one-trick pony," she said. "Find out if mesh will be used, and if you'll have an anti-incontinence operation done at the same time."

More information

Learn more about pelvic organ prolapse from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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