Saturday, February 27, 2010


Conservative management of Stress Urinary Incontinence

1. An involuntary loss of urine during coughing, or physical exertion
2. Evident as leakage of urine on increased abdominal pressure without change in detrusor pressure (VLPP) during filling phase on UDS(SPECIALISED PRESSURE MANOMETRY)
It is a common and distressing problem, which may have a profound impact on quality of life. Urinary incontinence almost always results from an underlying treatable medical condition but is under-reported to medical practitioners.

Usual cause of stress urinary incontinence
1. Vaginal delivery--multiple vaginal births(unattended deliveries common in ESPECIALLY in villages)
2. Aging
3. Estrogen deficiency(Some woman leak one week before menstrual period.The lowered estrogen levels that particular time may lead to lower muscular pressure around the urethra, increasing chances of leakage. The incidence of stress incontinence increases following menopause, similarly because of lowered estrogen levels)
4. Neurological disease(especially diabetes)
5. In female high-level athletes, effort incontinence occurs in all sports involving abrupt repeated increases in intra-abdominal pressure that may exceed perineal floor resistance

As In India; multiple vaginal births are a common scenario and there is cultural taboo so incontinence is very high in prevalence but majority of household women suffer from it silently.Many of them avoid mingling in social occasions for fear of leakage preferring to remain aloof.The urine leakage is equally annoying to their sex partners which may severely affect sex life and adversely affect married life.There are certain myths in society about stress urinary leakage:
1. Urinary incontinence/prolapse is a natural part of aging
2. Nothing can be done about it
3. Surgery is the only solution(phobia for doctors;thinking that they will invariably suggest surgery for the disease)

Reported prevalence rates range from 4.5% to 53%
Our Hopsital Statistics shows:
1. 50 Patients of stress/mixed incontinence / 6 months
2. 10 Undergo UDS/ 6months
3. 3-4 Undergo surgical intervention

Can we do something to remove doctor phobia especially in Indian society?
Can Nurse led continence service of any use?

A study was conducted by Matharu et al in 2004 where women aged ≥40 yrs with LUTS (n= 2421) were randomly allocated to a nurse-led continence service.Out of them , 450 underwent urodynamic study.The results showed women with OAB, 79.1% were correctly allocated anticholinergics & 64.8% were allocated pelvic floor training protocol(PFT).Of all women with urodynamic SUI, 88.8% were allocated PFT.This shows that nurse led continence service fairly treat women and this type of service can be initiated by Government of India to avoid urine leakage misery.

Management of tress urinary incontinence:
Continence and micturition involve a balance between urethral closure and detrusor muscle activity. Urethral pressure normally exceeds bladder pressure, resulting in urine remaining in the bladder. The proximal urethra and bladder are both within the pelvis. Intraabdominal pressure increases (from coughing and sneezing) are transmitted to both urethra and bladder equally, leaving the pressure differential unchanged, resulting in continence. Normal voiding is the result of changes in both of these pressure factors:urethral pressure falls and bladder pressure rises. SUI is due essentially to insufficient strength of the pelvic floor muscles. It is the loss of small amounts of urine associated with coughing, laughing, sneezing, exercising or other movements that increase intra-abdominal pressure and thus increase pressure on the bladder. The urethra is supported by fascia of the pelvic floor. If this support is insufficient, the urethra can move downward at times of increased abdominal pressure, allowing urine to pass.
So the basic aim of the treatment is Aim: To improve urethral resistance.These are the conservative measures:

1.Weight loss
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on January 29, 2009, demonstrated that weight loss in overweight women reduced stress incontinence. The study included women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 25 and at least 10 episodes of urinary incontinence per week. The results demonstrated that with exercise and restricted diet they had a 70% or greater reduction in overall incontinence episodes.So weigth loss should be the first thing a woman ahould follow for reduction in incontinence.
2. Absorbent products
Absorbent products include, undergarments, protective underwear, briefs, diapers and underpads.There are some assist devices used like vaginal pessaries,femsoft catheter as physical barrier for prevention of urinary leakage.
4. Exercises
One of the most common treatment recommendations includes exercising the muscles of the pelvis. Kegel exercises to strengthen or retrain pelvic floor muscles and sphincter muscles can reduce stress leakage.
Role of pelvic floor training:
The Cochrane Incontinence Group Specialized Trials Register included One arm comprised PFT, the other either no treatment, placebo, sham treatment. A total 13 trials involving 714 women were included.They concluded that PFT be included in first-line conservative management programs.Basically suffering woman should Identify the pubococcygeus muscle first with the help of urologist and then Exercise the muscle (10 s contraction followed by 10 s relaxation) 30 to 80 times /day.This Increases muscle support of the pelvic viscera &increased closing force on the urethra and the benefits may be seen in 2 to 6 weeks.
An alternative or adjunct to PME is exercises the pelvic muscles by holding small weights inside the vagina for up to 15 minutes bid.Successiely the weights can be increased I ncreasing the capacity of the pubococcygeus muscle contraction.Success rate up to 70% to 80%. A recent Cochrane Review shows no advantage to combining PFT with biofeedback over the use of well-done PFT alone.Atleast 3 months of pelvic floor exercises are necessary.
Biofeedback uses measuring devices to help the patient become aware of his or her body's functioning. By using electronic devices or diaries to track when the bladder and urethral muscles contract, the patient can gain control over these muscles. Biofeedback can be used with pelvic muscle exercises
There was a trial
1. 76 women underwent a 3-month exercise program & followed for 1 year.
2. 30% of subjects were cured &17% were improved.
3. Subjects with severe incontinence did not benefit from the therapy

Medications can reduce many types of leakage. Drugs with a-adrenergic activity to increase bladder outlet resistance.For Example ..phenylpropanolamine 25-75 mg bid &imipramine10-25 mg qd-tid.These medicines have been taken off from the U.S. market because of concerns about hemorrhagic strokes in young women.A new nedicine has been tried in SUI:duloxetene :called drug which kills three birds in one stone. It is Combined serotonin and nor-epinephrine re-uptake inhibitor.Its actions are :
o Increases tone of external urethral sphincter
o In an integrated analysis of 4 randomised controlled trials, it significantly decreased incontinence episode frequency by 51.5%
A study by Drutz et al revealed In a subgroup of women with severe SUI awaiting surgery, duloxetine was found to be effective.Incontinence decreased by 46% or their Incontinence Quality of Life (I-QOL) score improved by 6.3 points.

Vaginal oestrogens:
Vaginal oestrogens are used in SUI especially in aging population.The basis behind is
• Common embryonic origin of bladder urethra & vagina
• High concentration of estrogen receptors in pelvic tissues
• General collagen deficiency state (falconer et al., 1994)
• Urethral coaptation affected by loss of estrogen

The oestrogen cream can improve the mucosal integrity and suppleness of the urethra and the vagina thereby take care of the urethral coaptation.These medicines can produce harmful side effects if used for long periods. There is an increased risk of cancers of the breast and endometrium (lining of the uterus). A patient should talk to a doctor about the risks and benefits of long-term use of medications.
When should doctor send the patient for surgery?(Vague indicators)
1. Severe SUI(≥ 2 PADS /DAY)
2. Duration of symptoms> 5 years
3. VLPP≤80 cm H2O-Urdynamic parameters
Apart from that:
1. Pt with significant associated prolapse that may be corrected at the same time
2. High levels of physical stress owing to lifestyle or occupation-models,athletes,stage performers
a) SUI needs to be treated with conservative measures initially: simple, inexpensive and without complications
b) No need of UDS prior to conservative measures
c) Duloxetine helpful in noncompliant pt.


  1. There's a procedure called o-shot that can treat stress incontinence and has been very effective. This uses blood derived growth factors to give healthier vaginal tissue by stimulating uni-potent stem cells. Watch the procedure at

    Charles Runels, MD

  2. There's a new and safer way to achieve the same results as Coaptite. Using blood-derived growth factors to treat stress incontinence avoids the risk of granuloma formation.

    You can find out more by going to the following website: