Because the abdominal area is one of the main focus points of the figure, there are many benefits to getting a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty. When exercise and healthy eating alone doesn’t effectively tone and shape the area, tummy tuck surgery can help. It can create a slender figure, eliminate a muffin top and rolls, eliminate loose skin from pregnancy or weight loss, and tighten stretched muscles.
Therefore, tummy tuck surgery may be right for you if you’re post-pregnancy, have recently lost weight and have excess skin, or just want a slimmer silhouette.
If these advantages of tummy tuck surgery weren’t enough, there’s also one lesser-known side medical benefit: improvements in stress urinary incontinence.
What is stress urinary incontinence (SUI)?
Stress urinary incontinence is a bladder control problem that is characterized by uncontrollable, unintentional urine leakage triggered by abdominal pressure, such as exercise, standing up, having sexual intercourse, lifting heavy objects, laughing, coughing, or sneezing. Though patients may not experience incontinence each time these activities occur, these pressure-increasing activities may make them more vulnerable to leakage, especially when the bladder is full.
SUI occurs when the pelvic muscles and tissues supporting the bladder, and those that regulate urine release, weaken. Pelvic surgery, childbirth, age, obesity, excess consumption of alcohol or caffeine, long-term high-impact activities, hormonal deficiencies, and illnesses that cause chronic sneezing and coughing can all cause stress urinary incontinence.
SUI is more common in women than men, particularly for women who have had a child, either through vaginal delivery or C-section. It affects approximately 15% of women.
Stress urinary incontinence can lead to social isolation, embarrassment and distress, and a reduction in exercise and leisure activities.
How a tummy tuck can help improve urinary incontinence
Though urinary incontinence treatments do exist, including tension-free vaginal mesh tape that offers support to a sagging urethra in order to help it remain closed, Kegel exercises, and medications, the effectiveness of each treatment option varies. Studies have suggested, however, that abdominoplasty can be therapeutic for some individuals with this bladder control problem.
Tummy tuck surgery removes excess fat and/or skin and tightens abdominal wall muscles.Though the reasons why tummy tuck surgery can improve SUI aren’t exactly known, some theories do exist. They state that by tightening abdominal skin and muscles, it can create enough pull on the urethra to relieve, or reduce, stress urinary incontinence. During surgery, the soft tissue supporting the bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor may also be tightened. This can help place pressure and tension against the passage from the bladder to the urethra, allowing it to stay closed and preventing uncontrollable urine leakage from occurring.
Who can benefit most?
Stress urinary incontinence has seen to improve in as many as two-thirds of tummy tuck patients. The results, however, are more evident in female patients who have delivered a child vaginally or undergone a cesarean section. Though the studies show significant advancement in SUI treatment, more research is required to learn additional information about the varying degrees of success in improving stress urinary incontinence in patients having undergone tummy tuck surgery.
Though tummy tuck surgery shouldn’t be considered an alternative to urinary incontinence treatment, it could help you feel more comfortable laughing when your friends tell jokes or sneezing or coughing in public by reducing the chances that urine will leak out as you do.
To learn more about the many benefits of tummy tuck surgery, schedule a consultation with Monarch Plastic Surgery Center. Call (816) 436-3262 for our North Kansas City location and (913) 663-3838 for our Leawood and Lansing offices.