The muscles of the pelvic floor support the bladder and usually keep it open or closed as necessary. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) usually happens when these muscles become weak so that when there is sudden extra pressure on the bladder, it cannot stay closed and some urine leaks out. This leakage may happen during normal every day activities, frequently during coughing, sneezing, exercise or position change and may be triggered by pregnancy, child birth or the menopause. The amount of leakage can be small or large but frequently causes embarrassment and distress.
There are many treatments for stress urinary incontinence which do not involve surgery and not everyone requires an operation. Surgical procedures however aim to improve support for the muscles around the bladder entrance in order to help the outlet stay closed when it should and prevent leaking. The most common surgical techniques involve either the Burch Colposuspension or the use of tension-free vaginal tapes which are placed under the urethra like a sling or hammock. The majority of these are made from a polypropylene mesh. Because they have been so successful, they are now the treatment of choice for women having incontinence surgery in the UK.
For information about vaginal meshes used to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Vaginal mesh for pelvic organ prolapse