Is Surgery for Incontinence Right for Your Elderly Loved One?

For many seniors suffering from incontinence, when other treatments have failed, they begin to consider surgical treatments. This happens generally when symptoms of stress incontinence, or overactive bladder, do not respond to conservative treatment. When urinary incontinence markedly disrupts the life of your elderly loved one, urinary incontinence surgery may be an option.
Urinary Incontinence surgery maybe an option
It becomes crucial for caregivers to understand the causes, issues and treatments, for incontinence. This way they can become an integral part of determining whether surgical intervention should be considered.

It should be noted that urinary incontinence surgery, is usually considered only if more-conservative strategies are not helping. It is important to understand that urinary incontinence surgery, is more invasive, and has a higher risk of complications, than do other therapies. However, it can also provide a long-term solution, in severe cases. Most options for urinary incontinence surgery are used to treat stress incontinence. However it should be noted that low-risk surgical alternatives, are also available for other bladder problems, including severe urge incontinence, which is also called overactive bladder and non-obstructive urinary retention.

There are several things that should be considered, before moving on to surgical intervention, to treat incontinence. The first step before choosing urinary incontinence surgery is to get an accurate diagnosis. This is because different types of incontinence require different surgical approaches. Your senior’s doctor may refer him or her to an incontinence specialist, such as an urologist or uro-gynecologist, for further diagnostic testing.

It needs to be understood by both the senior and their caregiver that incontinence surgery can only correct the problem it is designed to treat and, in some cases it will not cure the incontinence. For example: if your elderly loved one has mixed incontinence, surgery for stress incontinence won't help with the urge incontinence. Your elderly loved one may need medications, and physical therapy, after surgery to treat the urge incontinence. It is important to remember that incontinence is caused by weak or damaged, nerves and muscles, and surgery can only compensate for the damage. It will not be able to repair the damaged nerves and muscles.

It also becomes crucial for both the caregiver and the senior, to know and understand the risks of surgery. There are both general surgical risks and risks that are specific to this type of surgery. In addition, it should be noted that surgery of any kind carries certain risks, as the age of the patient goes up. These should be discussed with your loved one’s doctor, when weighing the risks and benefits. And just like any other surgical procedure, stress urinary incontinence surgery, comes with risks, and potential complications. For example, the surgery itself can give rise to different urinary, and genital problems, such as:
  • Difficulty urinating and incomplete emptying of the bladder (known as urinary retention), although this is usually only temporary
  • Development of an overactive bladder, which could include urge incontinence
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Difficult or painful intercourse
It is crucial to talk with your elderly loved one’s doctor to understand the risks, and benefits of the different types of surgery.

Sometimes determining whether incontinence surgery is right, for the senior in your life, can take a bit of time. During this time the incontinence will still need to be managed. It can be overwhelming and frustrating for caregivers. The ladies at Caregiver Partnership can help you determine what products are right for your needs , and give you valuable information about the process of managing incontinence. They understand the needs of caregivers in this process, and their helpful ladies will work with you in selecting products that can make this process easier.
The Incontinence Product Finder helps you easily find what you need from over 500 choices

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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