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Bladder Sling Procedures


  • A bladder sling procedure is done to treat women who have urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence occurs when urine leaks out of your bladder. Your bladder is an organ at the bottom of your abdomen (stomach) where urine is stored. Urine leaves your bladder through a tube called your urethra. Strong muscles around your urethra keep urine from leaking out. If these muscles weaken, you may have trouble controlling your urine flow. Urine leakage occurs most often when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or lift objects.
    Picture of the urinary system
  • A bladder sling procedure may be done through a cut in your vagina only. The procedure may also need to be done through a cut in your abdomen and vagina. A strip of body tissue is used as a sling to hold your urethra in place and make it stronger. Part of the thick covering of your abdominal muscles may be used for your sling. Your sling also may be made from a strip of your vaginal tissue, donor (another person) body tissue, or man-made. The sling helps keep your urethra closed even when your bladder is full. Having a bladder sling procedure may help you control your urination. The bladder sling procedure may decrease or resolve your urinary incontinence.


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Follow-up visit:

  • Ask your caregiver when to return for a follow-up visit. Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit.
  • Keep a diary of when you urinate, and if you leak any urine. Make sure you write down what you were doing when you leaked urine such as coughing or sneezing. Bring the diary to your follow-up visit with your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you do not think your bladder is emptying completely when you urinate. You may need to have a post-void residual test done. This test is done to check how much urine is in your bladder after you urinate.

Self catheterization:

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. Caregivers will teach you how to put the catheter in safely. This may be needed until you have less than about three ounces of urine left in your bladder.


Taking short walks many times per day will help decrease your risk for blood clots. You will need to avoid activities that require hard work for 5 to 6 weeks after your procedure. This includes lifting heavy objects and doing things that make you very tired. Ask your caregiver when you can return to work or your usual activities.

Eat healthy foods:

Choose healthy foods from all the food groups every day. Include whole-grain bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including dark green and orange vegetables. Include dairy products such as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Choose protein sources, such as lean beef and chicken, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Ask how many servings of fats, oils, and sweets you should have each day, and if you need to be on a special diet.

Having sex:

You will need to avoid sexual intercourse (sex) for at least 3 to 4 weeks after your procedure. Ask your caregiver when you can have sex again.

Stop smoking:

If you smoke, it may take longer for your wounds to heal. Smoking also harms the heart, lungs, and the blood. You are more likely to have a heart attack, lung disease, and cancer if you smoke. You will help yourself and those around you by not smoking. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to stop smoking.


  • You have a fever (high body temperature).
  • You do not feel like you are able to empty your bladder completely when urinating.
  • You feel the need to urinate very suddenly.
  • You have pain when urinating.
  • You have a new skin rash.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure, medicine, or care.


  • You are bleeding from your vagina and it is not time for your monthly period.
  • Your abdominal wound is bleeding, and will not stop.
  • You have yellow or foul smelling discharge from your vagina or abdominal wound.
  • You cannot urinate, or you are urinating less than what is normal for you.
  • You have sudden trouble breathing.
  • You feel confused.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.