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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A bladder sling procedure is surgery to treat urinary incontinence in women. The sling acts as a hammock to keep your urethra in place and hold it closed when your bladder is full. You may have vaginal bleeding or discharge for up to a week after your surgery. Use sanitary pads. Do not use tampons. You may also have some pelvic discomfort or trouble urinating.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- You have sudden trouble breathing.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your bleeding gets worse.
- You have yellow or foul-smelling discharge from your vagina.
- You cannot urinate, or you are urinating less than what is normal for you.
- You feel confused.
Call your doctor or surgeon if:
- You have a fever.
- You do not feel like you are able to empty your bladder completely when you urinate.
- You have pain or pressure in your vagina.
- You feel the need to urinate very suddenly.
- You have burning or stinging when you urinate.
- You have blood in your urine.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you have a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
You may need to put a catheter into your bladder after you urinate to empty any remaining urine. A catheter is a small rubber tube used to drain urine. Healthcare providers will teach you how to put the catheter in safely. This may be needed until you are completely emptying your bladder when you urinate.
You may have a Foley catheter for a short period of time. The Foley is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.
Do not lift heavy objects for 6 weeks after your procedure. Do not have sex for 4 to 6 weeks. Do not use a tampon for 4 weeks. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to work or your usual activities.
Do pelvic muscle exercises:
These are also called Kegel exercises. These exercises help strengthen your pelvic muscles and help prevent urine leakage. Tighten the muscles of your pelvis and hold them tight for 5 seconds. Then relax for 5 seconds. Gradually work up to tightening them for 10 seconds and relaxing for 10 seconds. Do this 3 times each day.
Keep a record:
Keep a record of when you urinate and if you leak any urine. Write down what you were doing when you leaked urine, such as coughing or sneezing. Bring the record to your follow-up visits.
Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink more water than usual to soften your bowel movements. Eat a variety of healthy foods, especially fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in fiber. You may need to use an over-the-counter bowel movement softener.
Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:
You may need a test to check how much urine remains in your bladder after you urinate. This will help show how the sling is working. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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