Procedure Helps Restore Urinary Continence in Women

A bladder-supporting technique proves effective in major trial

WEDNESDAY, April 12, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A bladder-supporting procedure may help restore continence to women with lack of urinary control after prolapse, researchers report.

Prolapse is a condition in which the vagina and nearby organs lose support and fall out of position. Surgery to correct this problem often results in urinary stress incontinence, which refers to small urine leaks when a woman coughs, laughs or does exercise.

However, researchers at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., say a procedure called Burch colposuspension after prolapse surgery greatly lessens the likelihood of urinary stress incontinence.

The findings were to be published in the April 13 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study included 322 women at nine centers across the United States.

"We found that without the Burch procedure, one in every four women developed some stress incontinence that they considered bothersome. We were able to reduce this to one in every 20 women by adding the four stitches of the Burch procedure," principal investigator Dr. Linda Brubaker, director of the division of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at Loyola, said in a prepared statement.

"This is the first time we've ever had a large, randomized trial that shows that we can prevent the development of stress incontinence," Brubaker said.

An estimated one in 11 women will need surgery for either pelvic organ prolapse or for urinary incontinence by the time they reach age 80.

More information

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has more about pelvic support problems.

SOURCE: Loyola University, news release, April 12, 2006
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