Urethral Sling

A urethral sling is a treatment option for women who suffer from urinary incontinence caused by stress. Stress incontinence occurs because tissues and muscles supporting the bladder and the muscles that control urine release have weakened.

When urine fills the bladder, it expands. The short tube that carries urine out of the body – the urethra – normally stays closed as the bladder enlarges. If the sphincter is weakened, anything that exerts pressure on the pelvic and abdominal muscles — lifting, sneezing, coughing, bending, laughing hard, or having sexual intercourse — can use urine leakage.

Doctor Sherry Thomas is a renowned urogynecologist who has spent years dedicated to helping women. She focuses on issues related to women’s health, treating specific conditions that afflict her female patients. Contact Dr. Sherry’s office today or stop by our Agoura Hills location to schedule your consultation.

In women, one of the main causes of stress incontinence is childbirth. Nerve or tissue damage may occur during the birth of a child, and symptoms of stress incontinence may commence shortly after birth or many years later. Following are contributing factors which may increase symptoms:

  • Obesity
  • High-impact activities
  • Excessive use of alcohol and caffeine
  • Chronic coughing and sneezing
  • Smoking (which causes coughing)

A urethral sling is, literally, a sling placed around the urethra. It is attached to wall of the abdomen and hoists the urethra back to its proper position. This treatment alleviates urine leakage. There are different types of slings made of ligament, muscle, or tendon taken from the woman and others are made of synthetic material.

When a woman is diagnosed with stress incontinence, talking to a urogynecologist about treatment is the next step. Doctor Sherry may discuss a urethral sling, a common treatment for stress incontinence, with the patient. Preparation for the surgery is individualized. Patients may need to lose weight, stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol or caffeine, or do Kegel exercises prior to surgery.

Kegel exercises are initiated by identifying the pelvic floor muscles. The ability to stop urinating midstream means the correct muscle has been contracted. The next step is to empty the bladder and lie on the back, alternating contraction and relaxation of the muscles. The physician advises the patient on the number of repetitions and the time between each set.

Potential candidates for the urethral sling may have a history of previous surgeries that did not work, complications of obesity that created a failed surgery risk, or sphincter problems. The success rate for sling surgeries is 8 out of 10 women.