You sneeze or cough, then feel a little leak. Your friend tells a joke or your child does something hilarious and you start laughing — and feel a little leak. Or, perhaps you find yourself crossing your legs tightly before clearing your throat or preparing to cough. All of these are unwanted side effects of a weak bladder, or rather weakness in the muscles that control the bladder. Many women suffer from this uncomfortable consequence as a result of either childbirth, or aging in general. However, over the last several years, researchers have found an unexpected link between tummy tucks and bladder control.
Urinary leakage associated with normal, everyday coughing, sneezing, exercise, or laughter is called stress urinary incontinence, and is a common problem in women who have delivered children vaginally. The process of pregnancy and childbirth may result in fulfillment and the spreading of love and joy, but it also takes a toll on the body. In addition to stretching your skin, pregnancy can also stretch the abdominal muscles, particularly those around the bladder. Skin and abdominal muscles can eventually bounce back for most women, while others are faced with loose skin, weak abdominal muscles, and stress urinary incontinence
Tummy tucks have long been used to remove or tighten excess skin and repair or tighten abdominal muscles. More recently, some studies have even shown that a tummy tuck can help relieve or reduce stress urinary incontinence in as many as two-thirds of patients. The results are most evident in women who delivered their children vaginally. In addition to tightening abdominal muscles and loose skin across the abdomen, a tummy tuck can also help tighten the soft tissues that support the pelvic floor, bladder, and urethra. As a result, tension and pressure is placed against the passage from the bladder to the urethra, helping to keep it closed and prevent leakage.
Common treatments for urinary leakage range from Kegel exercises, to taking medications, to wearing pads, and sometimes, even surgery. Each treatment has its pros and cons and a range of effectiveness. Most women who have given birth are familiar with Kegel exercises, but few are able to do them effectively. Incontinence undergarments and pads may feel bulky and uncomfortable, even embarrassing. Surgery is invasive and involves placing a mesh support around the urethra or under the bladder, which isn’t always effective and has its own set of risks. A tummy tuck isn’t a substitute for stress urinary incontinence treatments; however, the effects of a tummy tuck on the bladder and urethra is a nice side benefit for many patients.
To learn more about the many benefits of a tummy tuck, and to see if you are good candidate, please contact Monarch Plastic Surgery to schedule a free consultation. Please call us today at (913) 663-3838 for our Leawood and Lansing offices and (816) 436-3262 for our North Kansas City location.