If you suffer from leaking bladder accidents when you cough or laugh or sneeze, or if you have the urge of going to the bathroom all the time, you are not alone. Millions of people across all ages, both genders and all races are affected by this common problem that is termed urinary incontinence (UI), a loss of bladder control. The good news is that the underlying medical condition causing urinary incontinence is almost always treatable and today it is possible to get affordable treatment overseas through medical tourism.

Though urinary incontinence can be classified into several types, its three main types are: stress, urge and overflow.
Stress incontinence occurs during certain activities like coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise, and is most commonly caused by weak pelvic floor muscles.

Urge incontinence or overactive incontinence involves a sudden urge to urinate followed by instant bladder contraction and involuntary loss of urine, and occurs regardless of the amount of urine that is in the bladder.

Overflow incontinence is the constant dribbling of urine usually associated with urinating frequently and in small amounts, and may be caused by weak bladder muscles or a blocked urethra.

Depending on the cause, type and severity of urinary incontinence as well as your lifestyle, treatment approaches available to you may include weight loss, exercises, medications, bladder retraining (timed voiding), biofeedback, electrical stimulation, and if all else fails, then surgery.

Medical tourism is the act of traveling from one city to another within your country (domestic medical tourism) or to another country by crossing international borders (overseas medical tourism) to obtain medical care that is either not available or not affordable at your local provider. The popularity of medical tourism is largely due to the availability of high quality care at a highly discounted price.

Healthcare providers participating in medical tourism boast of modern facilities with state-of-the-art equipments and technologies, and surgeons who are trained or educated in the US or Europe – all this at a cost that’s 60% to 90% cheaper compared to typical US hospital rates.

Several procedures are offered abroad for the surgical treatment of all types of incontinence – stress, urge, overflow, mixed, etc.

For curing stress incontinence in women, sling procedures such as Tension-free transvaginal (TVT) sling, Transobturator tape (TOT) sling and Mini-sling procedure are available overseas. Another type of procedure for stress incontinence treatment offered abroad is bladder neck suspension procedure which includes Marshall-Marchetti-Krantz procedure (MMK procedure) or a variant of it called Burch procedure.

To treat severe urge incontinence, procedures offered overseas include augmentation cystoplasty or a newer procedure called sacral nerve stimulation.

For the treatment of urinary incontinence in men, some of the procedures available abroad include artificial urinary sphincter, male sling, and urinary diversion.

Some of the most popular countries that patients from the United States travel to for urinary incontinence procedures are Mexico, India, Singapore and Thailand.

Apart from the considerably lower cost of surgery, Mexico is preferred for another obvious reason – its close proximity to the United States. This means shorter travel times and more convenience for the medical tourist.

Singapore‘s high quality of care along with the large concentration of internationally accredited hospitals in the country play a major role in its demand in the medical tourism market for incontinence surgery. Furthermore, English being the official language of the country makes communication with your international provider easy.

But, if you want the best value for your money then India is the answer. The medical tourism hotspot offers prices on procedures that are unbeatable. For instance, a TVT or a TOT procedure, inclusive of the hospital charges and the doctor’s fees, costs approximately USD2,500*.

Also note that urinary incontinence surgery abroad typically involves a 2-3 day stay at the hospital followed by a 3-6 day of recuperation or rehab at a nearby hotel before returning home.

So, if an incontinence surgery is what your local doctor has recommended and treatment abroad is what you wish to seek, then get your local doctor’s report along with any and all reports of diagnostic tests and then call upon a reputed medical tourism company such as Healthbase for a consultation with an overseas incontinence specialist of your choice.

*Note: The price mentioned is for rough planning purposes only. The actual price charged may vary based on your specific medical condition, the provider chosen, currency fluctuations or for any other reason. Transportation, hotel accommodation and food are not included in the price.

Related links



Anatomy of the human spine
Have you ever wondered what makes your back and neck bend, stretch and even rotate so swiftly and smoothly? These movements are possible due to the spinal column or vertebral column in your body which extends from the skull to the pelvis and is made up of 33 individual bones termed vertebrae. The vertebral column is not actually a column but is sort of a spiral spring in the form of the letter S.

The following figure illustrates the human spinal column:

Human Vertebral Column or Spinal Column

Human Vertebral Column or Spinal Column

Between each vertebra are strong connective tissues which hold one vertebra to the next, and acts as a cushion between the vertebrae. The disc allows for movements of the vertebrae and lets you bend and rotate your neck and back. The type and degree of motion varies between the different levels of the spine: cervical (neck), thoracic (chest) or lumbar (low back).

The cervical spine is a highly mobile region that permits movement in all directions. The thoracic spine is much more rigid due to the presence of ribs and is designed to protect the heart and lungs. The lumbar spine allows mostly forward and backward bending movements (flexion and extension).



Spinal osteoarthritis

Back pain

Back pain

Spinal arthritis or osteoarthritis of the spine is a common cause of back pain. It is the mechanical breakdown of the cartilage between the vertebral joints in the back portion of the spine leading to mechanically induced pain. The joints become inflamed and pain may be felt when performing even the simplest of activities like standing, sitting or walking. Over time, bone spurs – small irregular growths on the bone, also called osteophytes – typicaly form on the vertebral joints and around the spinal vertebrae which may become so large as to cause irritation or entrapment of nerves passing through spinal structures and result in spinal stenosis (diminished room for the nerves to pass).

Classification of spinal osteoarthritis

– Lower back (lumbar spine) osteoarthritis or lumbosacral arthritis, which produces stiffness and pain in the lower spine and sacroiliac joint (between the spine and the pelvis)

– Neck (cervical spine) osteoarthritis or cervical spondylosis, which causes stiffness and pain in the upper spine, neck, shoulders, arms and head.

Causes of spinal osteoarthritis

The most common causes are repetitive trauma to the spine from repetitive strains caused by accidents, surgery, sports injuries and poor posture. Other risk factors include aging, gender (more common in post-menopausal women), excess body weight, genetics, and associated diseases (like infections, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)



Surgical treatment of spinal arthritis

For spinal arthritis, the only effective surgical treatment is spine fusion surgery, to stop motion at the painful joint. In fusion, one or more of the vertebrae of the spine are united (fused together) using bone grafts so that motion no longer occurs between them.

Interbody Spine Fusion System

Interbody Spine Fusion System

Uses of spinal fusion surgery

Spinal fusion surgery is used to treat:

– a fractured (broken) vertebra e.g. spondylolisthesis

– deformity e.g. scoliosis or kyphosis (spinal curves or slippages)

– pain from painful motion

– instability

– some cervical disc herniations (fusion together with discectomy)

– weak or unstable spine caused by infections or tumors

For more information about spine fusion surgery, check out medical tourism for spine fusion surgery through Healthbase.

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