Vaginoplasty As Solution For Incontinence

Published: 19th January 2009
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Stress incontinence is an embarrassing problem that can occur at any age. Sometimes the urinary incontinence is a temporary condition which is caused by an excessive consumption of fluids, coffee or alcohol. Other causes could be the use of medications such as diuretics or antidepressants. Still others causes may be constipation or a urinary tract infection. All these should be temporary and treatable problems.

Permanent stress incontinence can be caused by childbirth, hormonal changes or a hysterectomy. Incontinence could also indicate a more serious problem such as cancer or other serious disorder and therefore anyone who develops incontinence must be seen by a physician. A temporary incontinence can be treated once the cause is found. One simply removes the cause whether it is a medication, infection or unusually large fluid consumption.

With stress urinary incontinence a person experiences leakage of urine when they are laughing, sneezing, coughing or just bearing down even during exercise. The incontinence can be due to weak bladder muscles, causing incomplete evacuation, or poor sphincter control allowing urine to leak into the urethra and out. This is usually very embarrassing expecially in a social setting. Many would rather stay home rather than go to public places and others are very nervous, always wanting to make sure that they are near a restroom. There is lots of anxiety associated with hiking or being on a bus where a restroom is not readily available. Some women have to wear pads to absorb the urine that escapes leading to a very low self-esteem and depression.

Often a surgical solution exists. Mild urinary incontinence can be fixed by passing a small tape around the urethra and bladder changing its angle. Sometimes a vaginal rejuvenation or vaginoplasty procedure will fix the problem by simply repairing the muscles between the vagina and the bladder strengthening vaginal walls. The vaginal walls could have lost their integrity from childbirth or menopause or both. When the vaginal walls weaken the bladder can move towards the vaginal from its normal position allowing the urethra to stretch thereby allowing leakage. With the bladder dropped out of position, when a woman laughs, sneezes or coughs pressure is put on the muscles of the abdomen causing the leakage of urine. This is called a bladder prolapse or cystocele.

A doctor can determine the position of the bladder during an examination and can evaluate whether a vaginoplasty can alleviate the problem. The surgery is one to two hours and will repair her bladder and the vagina area and resolve the incontinence issue. Although it requires up to six weeks of recovery and healing of the vaginal area before any sexual activity can occur, the vaginoplasty will do wonders to restore her freedom of activity, travel and social interaction. It restores self worth and a much needed positive outlook on life.

With a vaginoplasty procedure, not only urinary stress incontinence is fixed but the vagina is now tighter and more youthfull. This in turn leads to a healthier sexual relationship free of urinary leakage and increased sensation because of increased friction. It is nice to eliminate the embarrassment of incontinence and welcome confidence and hightened sexuality.


Dr. Helen Colen MD is a top plastic surgeon in New York. Visit her site at

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