Recommendations

People have the right to be involved in discussions and make informed decisions about their care, as described in your care.

Making decisions using NICE guidelines explains how we use words to show the strength (or certainty) of our recommendations, and has information about prescribing medicines (including off-label use), professional guidelines, standards and laws (including on consent and mental capacity), and safeguarding.

1.1 Organisation of specialist services

Local multidisciplinary teams

1.1.1 Local multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) for women with primary stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder or primary prolapse should:

  • review the proposed treatment for all women offered invasive procedures for primary stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder or primary prolapse

  • review the proposed management for women with primary stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder or primary prolapse if input from a wider range of healthcare professionals is needed

  • work within an established clinical network that has access to a regional MDT[1]. [2019]

1.1.2 Local MDTs for women with primary stress urinary incontinence, overactive bladder or primary prolapse should include:

  • 2 consultants with expertise in managing urinary incontinence in women and/or pelvic organ prolapse

  • a urogynaecology, urology or continence specialist nurse

  • a pelvic floor specialist physiotherapist

    and may also include:

  • a member of the care of the elderly team

  • an occupational therapist

  • a colorectal surgeon. [2019]

1.1.3 Members of the local MDT (listed in recommendation 1.1.2) should attend all local MDT meetings. [2019]

Regional multidisciplinary teams

1.1.4 Regional MDTs that deal with complex pelvic floor dysfunction and mesh-related problems should review the proposed treatment for women if:

  • they are having repeat continence surgery

  • they are having repeat, same-site prolapse surgery

  • their preferred treatment option is not available in the referring hospital

  • they have coexisting bowel problems that may need additional colorectal intervention

  • vaginal mesh for prolapse is a treatment option for them

  • they have mesh complications or unexplained symptoms after mesh surgery for urinary incontinence or prolapse

  • they are considering surgery and may wish to have children in the future. [2019]

1.1.5 Regional MDTs that deal with complex pelvic floor dysfunction and mesh-related problems should include:

  • a subspecialist in urogynaecology

  • a urologist with expertise in female urology

  • a urogynaecology, urology or continence specialist nurse

  • a pelvic floor specialist physiotherapist

  • a radiologist with expertise in pelvic floor imaging

  • a colorectal surgeon with expertise in pelvic floor problems

  • a pain specialist with expertise in managing pelvic pain

    and may also include:

  • a healthcare professional trained in bowel biofeedback and trans-anal irrigation

  • a clinical psychologist

  • a member of the care of the elderly team

  • an occupational therapist

  • a surgeon skilled at operating in the obturator region

  • a plastic surgeon. [2019]

1.1.6 Regional MDTs that deal with complex pelvic floor dysfunction and mesh-related problems should have ready access to the following services:

  • psychology

  • psychosexual counselling

  • chronic pain management

  • bowel symptom management

  • neurology. [2019]

1.1.7 Members of the regional MDT (listed in recommendation 1.1.5) should attend regional MDT meetings when their specific expertise is needed. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on organisation of specialist services and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

1.2 Collecting data on surgery and surgical complications

1.2.1 Ask women having surgery for stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse, or who have experienced complications related to these types of surgery, for their consent to enter the data listed in recommendation 1.2.2 in a national registry. Give each woman a copy of her data. [2019]

1.2.2 Providers must ensure that the following data are recorded in a national registry of surgery for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women:

  • the woman's NHS number

  • hospital and consultant identifiers

  • date and details of the procedure

  • for procedures involving mesh, the mesh material, manufacturer, product unique identification code and type of sutures used

  • for procedures involving colposuspension, the type of sutures used

  • for procedures involving bulking agent, the bulking material, manufacturer and product unique identification code

  • date and details of any investigation for complications

  • date and details of any surgical or non-surgical intervention for complications. [2019]

1.2.3 The national registry of surgery for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women must ensure that follow‑up data are collected on key short- and long-term (at least 5 years) outcomes, including:

  • validated relevant outcome measures

  • adverse events including pain

  • suspected and confirmed mesh-related complications. [2019]

1.2.4 The national registry of surgery for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women should report annually and be quality assured. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on collecting data on surgery and surgical complications and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

1.3 Assessing urinary incontinence

History taking and physical examination

1.3.1 At the initial clinical assessment, categorise the woman's urinary incontinence as stress urinary incontinence, mixed urinary incontinence or urgency urinary incontinence/overactive bladder. Start initial treatment on this basis. In mixed urinary incontinence, direct treatment towards the predominant symptom. [2006]

1.3.2 If stress incontinence is the predominant symptom in mixed urinary incontinence, discuss with the woman the benefit of non-surgical management and medicines for overactive bladder before offering surgery. [2013, amended 2019]

1.3.3 During the clinical assessment seek to identify relevant predisposing and precipitating factors and other diagnoses that may require referral for additional investigation and treatment. [2006]

Assessing pelvic floor muscles

1.3.4 Undertake routine digital assessment to confirm pelvic floor muscle contraction before the use of supervised pelvic floor muscle training for the treatment of urinary incontinence. [2006, amended 2013]

Urine testing

1.3.5 Undertake a urine dipstick test in all women presenting with urinary incontinence to detect the presence of blood, glucose, protein, leucocytes and nitrites in the urine. [2006]

1.3.6 If women have symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTI) and their urine tests positive for both leucocytes and nitrites, send a midstream urine specimen for culture and analysis of antibiotic sensitivities. Prescribe an appropriate course of antibiotic treatment pending culture results. See the NICE guideline on urinary tract infection (lower): antimicrobial prescribing for more information. [2006, amended 2019]

1.3.7 If women have symptoms of UTI and their urine tests negative for either leucocytes or nitrites, send a midstream urine specimen for culture and analysis of antibiotic sensitivities. Consider the prescription of antibiotics pending culture results. [2006]

1.3.8 If women do not have symptoms of UTI, but their urine tests positive for both leucocytes and nitrites, do not offer antibiotics without the results of midstream urine culture. [2006]

1.3.9 If a woman does not have symptoms of UTI and her urine tests negative for either leucocytes or nitrites, do not send a urine sample for culture because she is unlikely to have UTI. [2006]

Assessing residual urine

1.3.10 Measure post-void residual volume by bladder scan or catheterisation in women with symptoms suggestive of voiding dysfunction or recurrent UTI. [2006]

1.3.11 Use a bladder scan in preference to catheterisation on the grounds of acceptability and lower incidence of adverse events. [2006]

Symptom scoring and quality-of-life assessment

1.3.12 Use a validated urinary incontinence-specific symptom and quality-of-life questionnaire when therapies are being evaluated. [2006, amended 2019]

Bladder diaries

1.3.13 Use bladder diaries in the initial assessment of women with urinary incontinence or overactive bladder. Encourage women to complete a minimum of 3 days of the diary covering variations in their usual activities, such as both working and leisure days. [2006]

Pad testing

1.3.14 Do not use pad tests in the routine assessment of women with urinary incontinence. [2006]

Urodynamic testing

1.3.15 Do not perform multichannel filling and voiding cystometry before primary surgery if stress urinary incontinence or stress-predominant mixed urinary incontinence is diagnosed based on a detailed clinical history and demonstrated stress urinary incontinence at examination. [2019]

1.3.16 After undertaking a detailed clinical history and examination, perform multichannel filling and voiding cystometry before surgery for stress urinary incontinence in women who have any of the following:

  • urge-predominant mixed urinary incontinence or urinary incontinence in which the type is unclear

  • symptoms suggestive of voiding dysfunction

  • anterior or apical prolapse

  • a history of previous surgery for stress urinary incontinence. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on urodynamic testing and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

Other tests of urethral competence

1.3.17 Do not use the Q‑tip, Bonney, Marshall and Fluid-Bridge tests in the assessment of women with urinary incontinence. [2006]

Cystoscopy

1.3.18 Do not use cystoscopy in the initial assessment of women with urinary incontinence alone. [2006]

Imaging

1.3.19 Do not use imaging (MRI, CT, X‑ray) for the routine assessment of women with urinary incontinence. Do not use ultrasound other than for the assessment of residual urine volume. [2006]

Indications for referral to a specialist service

1.3.20 In women with urinary incontinence, indications for consideration for referral to a specialist service include:

  • persisting bladder or urethral pain

  • palpable bladder on bimanual or abdominal examination after voiding

  • clinically benign pelvic masses

  • associated faecal incontinence

  • suspected neurological disease

  • symptoms of voiding difficulty

  • suspected urogenital fistulae

  • previous continence surgery

  • previous pelvic cancer surgery

  • previous pelvic radiation therapy. [2006]

1.3.21 Follow the recommendations on referral for urinary tract cancer in the NICE guideline on suspected cancer, for women with haematuria or recurrent or persistent unexplained UTI. [2006, amended 2019]

1.4 Non-surgical management of urinary incontinence

Lifestyle interventions

1.4.1 Recommend a trial of caffeine reduction to women with overactive bladder. [2006]

1.4.2 Consider advising women with urinary incontinence or overactive bladder and a high or low fluid intake to modify their fluid intake. [2006]

1.4.3 Advise women with urinary incontinence or overactive bladder who have a BMI greater than 30 to lose weight. [2006]

Physical therapies

Pelvic floor muscle training

1.4.4 Offer a trial of supervised pelvic floor muscle training of at least 3 months' duration as first-line treatment to women with stress or mixed urinary incontinence. [2019]

1.4.5 Pelvic floor muscle training programmes should comprise at least 8 contractions performed 3 times per day. [2006]

1.4.6 Do not use perineometry or pelvic floor electromyography as biofeedback as a routine part of pelvic floor muscle training. [2006]

1.4.7 Continue an exercise programme if pelvic floor muscle training is beneficial. [2006]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendation on pelvic floor muscle training and how it might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

Electrical stimulation

1.4.8 Do not routinely use electrical stimulation in the treatment of women with overactive bladder. [2006]

1.4.9 Do not routinely use electrical stimulation in combination with pelvic floor muscle training. [2006]

1.4.10 Electrical stimulation and/or biofeedback should be considered for women who cannot actively contract pelvic floor muscles to aid motivation and adherence to therapy. [2006]

Behavioural therapies

1.4.11 Offer bladder training lasting for a minimum of 6 weeks as first-line treatment to women with urgency or mixed urinary incontinence. [2006]

1.4.12 If women do not achieve satisfactory benefit from bladder training programmes, the combination of an overactive bladder medicine with bladder training should be considered if frequency is a troublesome symptom. [2006]

Neurostimulation

1.4.13 Do not offer transcutaneous sacral nerve stimulation (surface electrodes placed above the sacrum, often known as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation [TENS]) to treat overactive bladder in women. [2013]

1.4.14 Do not offer transcutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation for overactive bladder. [2013]

1.4.15 Do not offer percutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation (needles inserted close to the posterior tibial nerve) for overactive bladder unless:

Absorbent containment products, urinals and toileting aids

1.4.16 Do not offer absorbent containment products, hand-held urinals or toileting aids to treat urinary incontinence. Offer them only:

  • as a coping strategy pending definitive treatment

  • as an adjunct to ongoing therapy

  • for long-term management of urinary incontinence only after treatment options have been explored. [2019]

1.4.17 Offer a review at least once a year to women who are using absorbent containment products for long-term management of urinary incontinence. The review should cover:

  • routine assessment of continence

  • assessment of skin integrity

  • changes to symptoms, comorbidities, lifestyle, mobility, medication, BMI, and social and environmental factors

  • the suitability of alternative treatment options

  • the efficacy of the absorbent containment product the woman is currently using and the quantities used. [2019]

1.4.18 Reviews for women who are using absorbent containment products for long-term management of urinary incontinence should be carried out by either:

  • a registered healthcare professional who is trained in assessing continence and making referrals to specialist services or

  • a non-registered healthcare worker, under the supervision of a registered healthcare professional who is trained in assessing continence and making referrals to specialist services.

    See indications for referral to a specialist service in this guideline. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on absorbent containment products and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

Catheters

1.4.19 Bladder catheterisation (intermittent or indwelling urethral or suprapubic) should be considered for women in whom persistent urinary retention is causing incontinence, symptomatic infections or renal dysfunction, and in whom this cannot otherwise be corrected. Healthcare professionals should be aware, and explain to women, that the use of indwelling catheters in urgency urinary incontinence may not result in continence. [2006]

1.4.20 Offer intermittent urethral catheterisation to women with urinary retention who can be taught to self-catheterise or who have a carer who can perform the technique. [2006]

1.4.21 Give careful consideration to the impact of long-term indwelling urethral catheterisation. Discuss the practicalities, benefits and risks with the woman or, if appropriate, her carer. Indications for the use of long-term indwelling urethral catheters for women with urinary incontinence include:

  • chronic urinary retention in women who are unable to manage intermittent self-catheterisation

  • skin wounds, pressure ulcers or irritations that are being contaminated by urine

  • distress or disruption caused by bed and clothing changes

  • where a woman expresses a preference for this form of management. [2006]

1.4.22 Indwelling suprapubic catheters should be considered as an alternative to long-term urethral catheters. Be aware, and explain to women, that they may be associated with lower rates of symptomatic UTI, 'bypassing', and urethral complications than indwelling urethral catheters. [2006]

Products to prevent leakage

1.4.23 Do not use intravaginal and intraurethral devices for the routine management of urinary incontinence in women. Do not advise women to consider such devices other than for occasional use when necessary to prevent leakage, for example during physical exercise. [2006]

Complementary therapies

1.4.24 Do not recommend complementary therapies for the treatment of urinary incontinence or overactive bladder. [2006]

Medicines for overactive bladder

1.4.25 Before starting treatment with a medicine for overactive bladder, explain to the woman:

  • the likelihood of the medicine being successful

  • the common adverse effects associated with the medicine

  • that some adverse effects of anticholinergic medicines, such as dry mouth and constipation, may indicate that the medicine is starting to have an effect

  • that she may not see substantial benefits until she has been taking the medicine for at least 4 weeks and that her symptoms may continue to improve over time

  • that the long-term effects of anticholinergic medicines for overactive bladder on cognitive function are uncertain. [2019]

1.4.26 When offering anticholinergic medicines to treat overactive bladder, take account of the woman's:

  • coexisting conditions (such as poor bladder emptying, cognitive impairment or dementia)

  • current use of other medicines that affect total anticholinergic load

  • risk of adverse effects, including cognitive impairment. [2019]

1.4.27 For women who have a diagnosis of dementia and for whom anticholinergic medicines are an option, follow the recommendations on medicines that may cause cognitive impairment in the NICE guideline on dementia. [2019]

Choosing medicine

1.4.28 Do not offer women flavoxate, propantheline or imipramine to treat urinary incontinence or overactive bladder. [2013]

1.4.29 Do not offer oxybutynin (immediate release) to older women who may be at higher risk of a sudden deterioration in their physical or mental health. [2013, amended 2019]

1.4.30 Offer the anticholinergic medicine with the lowest acquisition cost to treat overactive bladder or mixed urinary incontinence in women. [2019]

1.4.31 If the first medicine for overactive bladder or mixed urinary incontinence is not effective or well-tolerated, offer another medicine with a low acquisition cost[3]. [2013]

1.4.32 Offer a transdermal overactive bladder treatment to women unable to tolerate oral medicines. [2013]

1.4.33 For guidance on mirabegron, see the NICE technology appraisal guidance on mirabegron for treating symptoms of overactive bladder. [2013]

1.4.34 The use of desmopressin may be considered specifically to reduce nocturia in women with urinary incontinence or overactive bladder who find it a troublesome symptom. Use particular caution in women with cystic fibrosis and avoid in those over 65 years with cardiovascular disease or hypertension. [2013]

1.4.35 Do not use duloxetine as a first-line treatment for women with predominant stress urinary incontinence. Do not routinely offer duloxetine as a second-line treatment for women with stress urinary incontinence, although it may be offered as second-line therapy if women prefer pharmacological to surgical treatment or are not suitable for surgical treatment. If duloxetine is prescribed, counsel women about its adverse effects. [2006]

1.4.36 Do not offer systemic hormone replacement therapy to treat urinary incontinence. [2006]

1.4.37 Offer intravaginal oestrogens to treat overactive bladder symptoms in postmenopausal women with vaginal atrophy. [2006]

Reviewing medicine

1.4.38 Offer a face-to-face or telephone review 4 weeks after starting a new medicine for overactive bladder. Ask the woman if she is satisfied with the treatment and:

  • if improvement is optimal, continue treatment

  • if there is no or suboptimal improvement, or intolerable adverse effects, change the dose or try an alternative medicine for overactive bladder (see recommendations 1.4.31 and 1.4.32), and review again 4 weeks later. [2013]

1.4.39 Offer a review before 4 weeks if the adverse events of a medicine for overactive bladder are intolerable. [2013]

1.4.40 Refer women who have tried taking medicine for overactive bladder, but for whom it has not been successful or tolerated, to secondary care to consider further treatment. [2013]

1.4.41 Offer a further face-to-face or telephone review if a medicine for overactive bladder or urinary incontinence stops working after an initial successful 4‑week review. [2013]

1.4.42 Offer a review in primary care to women who remain on long-term medicine for overactive bladder or urinary incontinence every 12 months, or every 6 months if they are aged over 75. [2013, amended 2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on medicines for overactive bladder and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

Invasive procedures for overactive bladder

1.4.43 For women with overactive bladder that has not responded to non-surgical management or treatment with medicine and who wish to discuss further treatment options:

  • offer urodynamic investigation to determine whether detrusor overactivity is causing her overactive bladder symptoms and

  • if detrusor overactivity is causing her overactive bladder symptoms, offer an invasive procedure in line with recommendations 1.4.44 to 1.4.56 or

  • if there is no detrusor overactivity, seek advice on further management from the local MDT in line with recommendation 1.4.45. [2013, amended 2019]

Botulinum toxin type A injection

1.4.44 After a local MDT review, offer bladder wall injection with botulinum toxin type A[4] to women with overactive bladder caused by detrusor overactivity that has not responded to non-surgical management, including pharmacological treatments. [2019]

1.4.45 Consider treatment with botulinum toxin type A[4] after a local MDT review for women with symptoms of overactive bladder in whom urodynamic investigation has not demonstrated detrusor overactivity, if the symptoms have not responded to non-surgical management and the woman does not wish to have other invasive treatments. [2019]

1.4.46 After a local MDT review, discuss the benefits and risks of treatment with botulinum toxin type A[4] with the woman and explain:

  • the likelihood of complete or partial symptom relief

  • the process of clean intermittent catheterisation, the risks, and how long it might need to be continued

  • the risk of adverse effects, including an increased risk of urinary tract infection

  • that there is not much evidence about how long the injections work for, how well they work in the long term and their long-term risks. [2019]

1.4.47 Start treatment with botulinum toxin type A[4] only if the woman is willing, in the event of developing significant voiding dysfunction:

  • to perform clean intermittent catheterisation on a regular basis for as long as needed or

  • to accept a temporary indwelling catheter if she is unable to perform clean intermittent catheterisation. [2013, amended 2019]

1.4.48 Use 100 units as the initial dose of botulinum toxin type A[4] to treat overactive bladder in women. [2019]

1.4.49 Offer a face-to-face or telephone review within 12 weeks of the first treatment with botulinum toxin type A[4] to assess the response to treatment and adverse effects, and:

  • if there is good symptom relief, tell the woman how to self-refer for prompt specialist review if symptoms return, and offer repeat treatment as necessary

  • if there is inadequate symptom relief, consider increasing subsequent doses of botulinum toxin type A to 200 units[5] and review within 12 weeks

  • if there was no effect, discuss with the local MDT. [2019]

1.4.50 If symptom relief has been adequate after injection of 100 units of botulinum toxin type A[4] but has lasted for less than 6 months, consider increasing subsequent doses of botulinum toxin type A to 200 units[5] and review within 12 weeks. [2019]

1.4.51 Do not offer botulinum toxin type B to women with overactive bladder. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on botulinum toxin type A injection and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

Percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation

1.4.52 Offer percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation to women after local or regional MDT review if their overactive bladder has not responded to non-surgical management including medicines and:

  • their symptoms have not responded to botulinum toxin type A or

  • they are not prepared to accept the risks of needing catheterisation associated with botulinum toxin type A. [2013, amended 2019]

1.4.53 Discuss the long-term implications of percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation with women including:

  • the need for test stimulation and probability of the test's success

  • the risk of failure

  • the long-term commitment

  • the need for surgical revision

  • the adverse effects. [2013]

1.4.54 Tell women how to self-refer for prompt specialist review if symptoms return following a percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation procedure. [2013]

Augmentation cystoplasty

1.4.55 Restrict augmentation cystoplasty for the management of idiopathic detrusor overactivity to women whose condition has not responded to non-surgical management and who are willing and able to self-catheterise. Preoperative counselling for the woman or her carer should include common and serious complications: bowel disturbance, metabolic acidosis, mucus production and/or retention in the bladder, UTI and urinary retention. Discuss the small risk of malignancy occurring in the augmented bladder. Provide life-long follow‑up. [2006, amended 2013]

Urinary diversion

1.4.56 Urinary diversion should be considered for a woman with overactive bladder only when non-surgical management has failed, and if botulinum toxin type A[2], percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation and augmentation cystoplasty are not appropriate or are unacceptable to her. Provide life-long follow‑up. [2006, amended 2013]

1.5 Surgical management of stress urinary incontinence

There is public concern about the use of mesh procedures. For all of the procedures recommended in this section, including mesh procedures, there is evidence of benefit but limited evidence on the long-term adverse effects. In particular, the true prevalence of long-term complications is unknown.

1.5.1 If a woman is thinking about a surgical procedure for stress urinary incontinence, use the NICE patient decision aid on surgery for stress urinary incontinence to promote informed preference and shared decision making. Discussion with the woman should include:

  • the benefits and risks of all surgical treatment options for stress urinary incontinence that NICE recommends, whether or not they are available locally

  • the uncertainties about the long-term adverse effects for all procedures, particularly those involving the implantation of mesh materials

  • differences between procedures in the type of anaesthesia, expected length of hospital stay, surgical incisions and expected recovery period

  • any social or psychological factors that may affect the woman's decision. [2013, amended 2019]

1.5.2 If non-surgical management for stress urinary incontinence has failed, and the woman wishes to think about a surgical procedure, offer her the choice of:

1.5.3 Consider intramural bulking agents to manage stress urinary incontinence if alternative surgical procedures are not suitable for or acceptable to the woman. Explain to the woman that:

  • these are permanent injectable materials

  • repeat injections may be needed to achieve effectiveness

  • limited evidence suggests that they are less effective than the surgical procedures listed in recommendation 1.5.2 and the effects wear off over time

  • there is limited evidence on long-term effectiveness and adverse events. [2019]

1.5.4 If an intramural bulking agent is injected, give the woman written information about the bulking agent, including its name, manufacturer, date of injection, and the injecting surgeon's name and contact details. [2019]

1.5.5 If the woman's chosen procedure for stress urinary incontinence is not available from the consulting surgeon, refer her to an alternative surgeon. [2019]

1.5.6 Providers must ensure that data on surgical procedures for stress urinary incontinence are recorded in a national registry, as outlined in the section on collecting data on surgery and surgical complications in this guideline. [2019]

Mid-urethral mesh sling procedures

1.5.7 When offering a retropubic mid-urethral mesh sling, advise the woman that it is a permanent implant and complete removal might not be possible. [2019]

1.5.8 If a retropubic mid-urethral mesh sling is inserted, give the woman written information about the implant, including its name, manufacturer, date of insertion, and the implanting surgeon's name and contact details. [2019]

1.5.9 When planning a retropubic mid-urethral mesh sling procedure, surgeons should:

  • use a device manufactured from type 1 macroporous polypropylene mesh

  • consider using a retropubic mid-urethral mesh sling coloured for high visibility, for ease of insertion and revision. [2013, amended 2019]

1.5.10 Do not offer a transobturator approach unless there are specific clinical circumstances (for example, previous pelvic procedures) in which the retropubic approach should be avoided. [2019]

1.5.11 Do not use the 'top‑down' retropubic mid-urethral mesh sling approach or single-incision sub-urethral short mesh sling insertion except as part of a clinical trial. [2019]

Artificial urinary sphincters

1.5.12 Do not offer women an artificial urinary sphincter to manage stress urinary incontinence unless previous surgery has failed. [2006, amended 2019]

1.5.13 For women who have had an artificial urinary sphincter inserted:

  • offer postoperative follow‑up and

  • ensure access to review if needed. [2006, amended 2019]

Procedures that should not be offered

1.5.14 Do not offer women the following procedures to treat stress urinary incontinence:

  • anterior colporrhaphy

  • needle suspension

  • paravaginal defect repair

  • porcine dermis sling

  • the Marshall–Marchetti–Krantz procedure. [2019]

Follow-up after surgery

1.5.15 Offer a follow‑up appointment within 6 months to all women who have had a surgical procedure to treat stress urinary incontinence. [2019]

1.5.16 For women who have had retropubic mid-urethral mesh sling surgery, the follow‑up appointment should include a vaginal examination to check for exposure or extrusion of the mesh sling. [2019]

1.5.17 Providers should ensure that women who have had surgery for stress urinary incontinence have access to further referral if they have recurrent symptoms or suspected complications. See also assessing complications associated with mesh surgery in this guideline. [2019]

1.5.18 For women whose primary surgical procedure for stress urinary incontinence has failed (including women whose symptoms have returned):

  • seek advice on assessment and management from a regional MDT that deals with complex pelvic floor dysfunction or

  • offer the woman advice about managing urinary symptoms if she does not wish to have another surgical procedure, and explain that she can ask for a referral if she changes her mind. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on surgical management of stress urinary incontinence and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

1.6 Assessing pelvic organ prolapse

1.6.1 For women presenting in primary care with symptoms or an incidental finding of vaginal prolapse:

  • take a history to include symptoms of prolapse, urinary, bowel and sexual function

  • do an examination to rule out a pelvic mass or other pathology and to document the presence of prolapse (see the sections on ovarian cancer and bladder cancer in the NICE guideline on suspected cancer)

  • discuss the woman's treatment preferences with her, and refer if needed. [2019]

1.6.2 For women referred to secondary care for an unrelated condition who have incidental symptoms or an incidental finding of vaginal prolapse, consider referral to a clinician with expertise in prolapse. [2019]

1.6.3 For women who are referred for specialist evaluation of vaginal prolapse, perform an examination to:

  • assess and record the presence and degree of prolapse of the anterior, central and posterior vaginal compartments of the pelvic floor, using the POP‑Q (Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification) system

  • assess the activity of the pelvic floor muscles

  • assess for vaginal atrophy

  • rule out a pelvic mass or other pathology. [2019]

1.6.4 For women with pelvic organ prolapse, consider using a validated pelvic floor symptom questionnaire to aid assessment and decision making. [2019]

1.6.5 Do not routinely perform imaging to document the presence of vaginal prolapse if a prolapse is detected by physical examination. [2019]

1.6.6 If the woman has symptoms of prolapse that are not explained by findings from a physical examination, consider repeating the examination with the woman standing or squatting, or at a different time. [2019]

1.6.7 Consider investigating the following symptoms in women with pelvic organ prolapse:

  • urinary symptoms that are bothersome and for which surgical intervention is an option

  • symptoms of obstructed defaecation or faecal incontinence (the NICE guideline on faecal incontinence in adults has recommendations on baseline assessment of faecal incontinence)

  • pain

  • symptoms that are not explained by examination findings. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on assessing pelvic organ prolapse and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

1.7 Non-surgical management of pelvic organ prolapse

1.7.1 Discuss management options with women who have pelvic organ prolapse, including no treatment, non-surgical treatment and surgical options, taking into account:

  • the woman's preferences

  • site of prolapse

  • lifestyle factors

  • comorbidities, including cognitive or physical impairments

  • age

  • desire for childbearing

  • previous abdominal or pelvic floor surgery

  • benefits and risks of individual procedures. [2019]

Lifestyle modification

1.7.2 Consider giving advice on lifestyle to women with pelvic organ prolapse, including information on:

  • losing weight, if the woman has a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2

  • minimising heavy lifting

  • preventing or treating constipation. [2019]

Topical oestrogen

1.7.3 Consider vaginal oestrogen for women with pelvic organ prolapse and signs of vaginal atrophy. For recommendations on managing urogenital atrophy, see managing short-term menopausal symptoms in the NICE guideline on menopause. [2019]

1.7.4 Consider an oestrogen-releasing ring for women with pelvic organ prolapse and signs of vaginal atrophy who have cognitive or physical impairments that might make vaginal oestrogen pessaries or creams difficult to use. [2019]

Pelvic floor muscle training

1.7.5 Consider a programme of supervised pelvic floor muscle training for at least 16 weeks as a first option for women with symptomatic POP‑Q (Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification) stage 1 or stage 2 pelvic organ prolapse. If the programme is beneficial, advise women to continue pelvic floor muscle training afterwards. [2019]

Pessaries

1.7.6 Consider a vaginal pessary for women with symptomatic pelvic organ prolapse, alone or in conjunction with supervised pelvic floor muscle training. [2019]

1.7.7 Refer women who have chosen a pessary to a urogynaecology service if pessary care is not available locally. [2019]

1.7.8 Before starting pessary treatment:

  • consider treating vaginal atrophy with topical oestrogen

  • explain that more than 1 pessary fitting may be needed to find a suitable pessary

  • discuss the effect of different types of pessary on sexual intercourse

  • describe complications including vaginal discharge, bleeding, difficulty removing pessary and pessary expulsion

  • explain that the pessary should be removed at least once every 6 months to prevent serious pessary complications. [2019]

1.7.9 Offer women using pessaries an appointment in a pessary clinic every 6 months if they are at risk of complications, for example because of a physical or cognitive impairment that might make it difficult for them to manage their ongoing pessary care. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on non-surgical management of pelvic organ prolapse and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

1.8 Surgical management of pelvic organ prolapse

There is public concern about the use of mesh procedures. For all of the procedures recommended in this section, including mesh procedures, there is some evidence of benefit, but limited evidence on long-term effectiveness and adverse effects. In particular, the true prevalence of long-term complications is unknown.

1.8.1 Offer surgery for pelvic organ prolapse to women whose symptoms have not improved with or who have declined non-surgical treatment. [2019]

1.8.2 If a woman is thinking about a surgical procedure for pelvic organ prolapse, use a decision aid (use the NICE patient decision aids on surgery for uterine prolapse and surgery for vaginal vault prolapse where they apply) to promote informed preference and shared decision making. Discussion with the woman should include:

  • the different treatment options for pelvic organ prolapse, including no treatment or continued non-surgical management

  • the benefits and risks of each surgical procedure, including changes in urinary, bowel and sexual function

  • the risk of recurrent prolapse

  • the uncertainties about the long-term adverse effects for all procedures, particularly those involving the implantation of mesh materials

  • differences between procedures in the type of anaesthesia, expected length of hospital stay, surgical incisions and expected recovery period

  • the role of intraoperative prolapse assessment in deciding the most appropriate surgical procedure. [2019]

1.8.3 Do not offer surgery to prevent incontinence in women having surgery for prolapse who do not have incontinence. [2019]

1.8.4 Explain to women considering surgery for anterior or apical prolapse who do not have incontinence that there is a risk of developing postoperative urinary incontinence and further treatment may be needed. [2019]

1.8.5 If the woman's chosen procedure for pelvic organ prolapse is not available from the consulting surgeon, refer her to an alternative surgeon. [2019]

1.8.6 If mesh is to be used in prolapse surgery:

  • explain to the woman about the type of mesh that will be used and whether or not it is permanent

  • ensure that details of the procedure and its subsequent short- and long-term outcomes are recorded in a national registry (see collecting data on surgery and surgical complications in this guideline)

  • give the woman written information about the implant, including its name, manufacturer, date of insertion, and the implanting surgeon's name and contact details. [2019]

1.8.7 Providers must ensure that data on surgical procedures for pelvic organ prolapse are recorded in a national registry, as outlined in the section on collecting data on surgery and surgical complications in this guideline. [2019]

Surgery for uterine prolapse

1.8.8 Discuss the options for treatment (see recommendation 1.8.2), including non-surgical options, hysterectomy and surgery that will preserve the uterus, with women who have uterine prolapse. [2019]

1.8.9 For women considering surgery for uterine prolapse:

  • discuss the possible complications and the lack of long-term evidence on the effectiveness of the procedures

  • use the NICE patient decision aid on surgery for uterine prolapse to discuss the benefits and risks of treatment, including non-surgical options. [2019]

1.8.10 For women with uterine prolapse who have no preference about preserving their uterus, offer a choice of:

1.8.11 For women with uterine prolapse who wish to preserve their uterus, offer a choice of:

  • vaginal sacrospinous hysteropexy with sutures or

  • Manchester repair, unless the woman may wish to have children in the future.

    Also include the option of sacro-hysteropexy with mesh (abdominal or laparoscopic) in this choice but see recommendation 1.8.6 for specific guidance on the use of mesh in prolapse surgery. [2019]

1.8.12 If a synthetic polypropylene mesh is inserted, the details of the procedure and its subsequent short- and long-term outcomes must be collected in a national registry (see collecting data on surgery and surgical complications in this guideline). [2019]

1.8.13 Ensure the proposed treatment is reviewed by a regional MDT (see recommendation 1.1.4) if the woman wishes to have children in the future. [2019]

Surgery for vault prolapse

1.8.14 Discuss the options for treatment (see recommendation 1.8.2), including non-surgical and surgical options, with women who have vault prolapse. [2019]

1.8.15 For women considering surgery for vault prolapse:

  • discuss the possible complications and the lack of long-term evidence on the effectiveness of the procedures

  • use the NICE patient decision aid on surgery for vaginal vault prolapse to discuss the benefits and risks of treatment, including non-surgical options. [2019]

1.8.16 Offer women with vault prolapse a choice of:

  • vaginal sacrospinous fixation with sutures or

  • sacrocolpopexy (abdominal or laparoscopic) with mesh.

    See recommendation 1.8.6 for specific guidance on the use of mesh in prolapse surgery. [2019]

1.8.17 If a synthetic polypropylene mesh is inserted, the details of the procedure and its subsequent short- and long-term outcomes must be collected in a national registry (see collecting data on surgery and surgical complications in this guideline). [2019]

Colpocleisis for vault or uterine prolapse

1.8.18 Consider colpocleisis for women with vault or uterine prolapse who do not intend to have penetrative vaginal sex and who have a physical condition that may put them at increased risk of operative and postoperative complications. [2019]

Surgery for anterior prolapse

1.8.19 Discuss the options for treatment (see recommendation 1.8.2), including non-surgical and surgical options, with women who have anterior prolapse. [2019]

1.8.20 Offer anterior repair without mesh to women with anterior vaginal wall prolapse. [2019]

1.8.21 Consider synthetic polypropylene or biological mesh insertion for women with recurrent anterior vaginal wall prolapse only after:

  • regional MDT review and

  • discussion with the woman about the risks of mesh insertion (see recommendation 1.8.2)

    and if:

  • apical support is adequate or

  • an abdominal approach is contraindicated.

    See recommendation 1.8.6 for specific guidance on the use of mesh in prolapse surgery. [2019]

1.8.22 If a synthetic polypropylene or biological mesh is inserted, the details of the procedure and its subsequent short- and long-term outcomes must be collected in a national registry (see collecting data on surgery and surgical complications in this guideline). [2019]

Surgery for posterior prolapse

1.8.23 Offer posterior vaginal repair without mesh to women with a posterior vaginal wall prolapse. [2019]

Follow-up after surgery

1.8.24 Offer women a review 6 months after surgery for pelvic organ prolapse. Ensure that the review includes a vaginal examination and, if mesh was used, check for mesh exposure. [2019]

1.8.25 Providers should ensure that women who have had surgery for pelvic organ prolapse have access to further referral if they have recurrent symptoms or suspected complications. See also assessing complications associated with mesh surgery in this guideline. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on surgical management of pelvic organ prolapse and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

1.9 Surgery for women with both stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse

1.9.1 Consider concurrent surgery for stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women with anterior and/or apical prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. [2019]

1.9.2 When considering concurrent surgery for stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, discuss the options for treatment (see recommendations 1.5.1 and 1.8.2) and explain to the woman:

  • that there is uncertainty about whether the combined procedure is effective for treating stress urinary incontinence beyond 1 year, and that stress urinary incontinence might persist despite surgery

  • the risk of complications related to having surgery for stress urinary incontinence at the same time as prolapse surgery compared with the risk of complications related to having sequential surgery. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on surgery for women with both stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

1.10 Assessing complications associated with mesh surgery

1.10.1 For women who report new-onset symptoms after having mesh surgery for urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse, evaluate whether the symptoms might be caused by a mesh-related complication. These symptoms could include:

  • pain or sensory change in the back, abdomen, vagina, pelvis, leg, groin or perineum that is:

    • either unprovoked, or provoked by movement or sexual activity and

    • either generalised, or in the distribution of a specific nerve, such as the obturator nerve

  • vaginal problems including discharge, bleeding, painful sexual intercourse, or penile trauma or pain in sexual partners

  • urinary problems including recurrent infection, incontinence, retention, or difficulty or pain during voiding

  • bowel problems including difficulty or pain on defaecation, faecal incontinence, rectal bleeding or passage of mucus

  • symptoms of infection, either alone or in combination with any of the symptoms outlined above. [2019]

1.10.2 Refer women with a suspected mesh-related complication to a urogynaecologist, urologist or colorectal surgeon for specialist assessment. [2019]

1.10.3 For women who are referred for specialist evaluation of a suspected mesh complication:

  • take a history of all past surgical procedures for prolapse or incontinence using mesh, including the dates, type of mesh and site of mesh placement and the relationship of the symptoms to the surgical procedure(s)

  • consider using a validated pelvic floor symptom questionnaire and a pain questionnaire to aid assessment and decision making

  • perform a vaginal examination to:

    • assess whether mesh is palpable, exposed or extruded

    • localise pain and its anatomical relationship to mesh

  • consider performing a rectal examination, if indicated, to assess for the presence of mesh perforation or fistula

  • consider performing a neurological assessment to assess the distribution of pain, if present, sensory alteration or muscle weakness. [2019]

1.10.4 For women with a confirmed mesh-related complication or unexplained symptoms after a mesh procedure:

  • refer to a consultant at a regional centre specialising in the diagnosis and management of mesh-related complications or

  • if the woman has a vaginal exposure of mesh that is smaller than 1 cm2 and no other symptoms, follow recommendations 1.11.3 and 1.11.4 in this guideline. [2019]

1.10.5 The responsible consultant should develop an individualised investigation plan for each woman with suspected or confirmed mesh-related complications, involving other members of the regional MDT if needed, and use table 1 in this guideline to inform decisions on possible investigations. [2019]

1.10.6 The responsible consultant must ensure that details of any confirmed mesh-related complications are:

Table 1 Investigations for assessing suspected mesh-related complications

Individualised investigation plans may include, but are not limited to, 1 or more of these investigations.

Investigation

Type of mesh

Indications

Benefits and risks

Examination under anaesthesia

All types of mesh.

Pain or suspected:

  • vaginal or rectal exposure or extrusion

  • sinus tract, urinary or bowel fistula.

Benefits

Allows diagnosis when not revealed by awake examination or when an awake, examination is not tolerated.

Risks

Anaesthetic risk.

Cystourethroscopy

All types of mesh.

Suspected:

  • urethral perforation

  • bladder perforation

  • fistula

  • calculus on suture or mesh material.

Benefits

  • Allows diagnosis by direct visualisation.

  • Aids management planning.

Risks

Anaesthetic risk and risk of urinary tract infection.

Sigmoidoscopy

Abdominally, laparoscopically or vaginally placed mesh for pelvic organ prolapse.

Suspected bowel perforation by mesh.

Benefits

  • Allows diagnosis by direct visualisation.

  • Aids management planning.

Risks

  • Anaesthetic risk if carried out under anaesthesia.

  • Risk of bowel perforation.

Laparoscopy

Abdominally or laparoscopically placed mesh for pelvic organ prolapse.

  • Pain.

  • Suspected bowel entrapment around mesh.

  • Suspected adhesions secondary to mesh placement.

Benefits

  • Allows diagnosis by direct visualisation.

  • Aids management planning.

Risks

  • Anaesthetic risk.

  • Risks of laparoscopy, including bowel injury.

MRI, protocolled and reported by a clinician with experience in interpreting mesh complications

All types of mesh.

  • Suspected mesh infection.

  • Anatomical mapping of suspected fistula.

  • Anatomical mapping and mesh localisation to guide further surgery.

  • Back pain following abdominal mesh placement with mesh attachment to sacral promontory.

  • Identification of discitis or osteomyelitis.

Benefits

  • Shows implanted material and complications nearby.

  • Shows location of mesh in relation to the vaginal wall and sacrum.

Risks

Generally regarded as safe, with a low risk of short- and long-term harms. Risk of contrast media injection.

Ultrasound scan (transperineal, transvaginal or translabial, or 3D), performed and reported by a clinician with experience in interpreting mesh complications

Vaginally placed mesh to treat incontinence.

  • Pain.

  • Voiding dysfunction.

  • Suspected infection.

  • Suspected urethral mesh perforation.

  • Anatomical mapping to guide excision surgery.

Benefits

  • Shows implanted material and local complications.

  • Identifies mid-urethral slings.

  • Shows location of mesh in relation to the vaginal wall and urethra.

Risks

Discomfort.

CT

All types of mesh, although CT is not commonly used to show implanted material.

Suspected:

  • urinary tract injury

  • bowel injury

  • bowel obstruction.

Benefits

May be useful in assessing for urinary fistulae or bowel injury.

Risks

Potential radiation-related harms and risk of contrast media injection.

Fluoroscopic studies (cystography or contrast enema)*

All types of mesh.

Suspected urinary or bowel fistula.

Benefits

Aids management planning.

Risks

Potential radiation-related harms.

Urinary flow studies and post-void residual volume assessment or cystometry

All types of mesh.

  • Voiding dysfunction.

  • Urinary incontinence.

Benefits

Aids management planning.

Risks

Urinary tract infection and radiation risks if fluoroscopy is used.

Neurophysiology, including nerve conduction studies

All types of mesh.

Suspected nerve injury.

Benefits

Allows diagnosis of impaired nerve function.

Risks

Nerve conduction studies are difficult to perform and can induce more pain.

* Perform with water-soluble contrast media. Fluoroscopic studies and CT may be used according to local preference and expertise.

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on assessing complications associated with mesh surgery and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

1.11 Managing complications associated with mesh surgery

General considerations before removing mesh

1.11.1 If a woman who has had a mesh procedure to treat urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse is thinking about having the mesh removed, discuss the decision with her and with a regional MDT. [2019]

1.11.2 When discussing surgery to remove mesh, explain to the woman that:

  • there is limited evidence on the benefits of partial or complete removal compared with no mesh removal

  • surgery to remove mesh can have significant complications including organ injury, worsening pain, and urinary, bowel and sexual dysfunction

  • it is not certain that removing the mesh will relieve symptoms

  • it might not be possible to remove all of the mesh

  • removing only part of the mesh might be just as effective at improving symptoms as removing all of it

  • urinary incontinence or prolapse can recur after the mesh has been removed. [2019]

Managing vaginal complications

1.11.3 Discuss non-surgical treatment with topical oestrogen cream with women who have a single area of vaginal mesh exposure that is smaller than 1 cm2. [2019]

1.11.4 Offer a follow‑up appointment within 3 months to women with vaginal mesh exposure who choose treatment with topical oestrogen cream. [2019]

1.11.5 Consider partial or complete surgical removal of the vaginal portion of mesh for women:

  • who do not wish to have treatment with topical oestrogen or

  • if the area of vaginal mesh sling exposure is 1 cm2 or larger or

  • if there is vaginal mesh extrusion or

  • if there has been no response to non-surgical treatment after a period of 3 months. [2019]

1.11.6 Offer imaging and further treatment to women who have signs of infection in addition to vaginal mesh exposure or extrusion. [2019]

1.11.7 Discuss with women who have vaginal complications after mesh sling surgery for stress urinary incontinence that:

  • complete removal of the vaginal portion of mesh sling is associated with a greater risk of recurrence of stress urinary incontinence than partial removal

  • partial removal is associated with a higher rate of further mesh sling extrusion

  • complete removal might not be possible. [2019]

1.11.8 Explain to women who have vaginal complications after vaginally placed mesh for pelvic organ prolapse that:

  • complete removal might not be possible

  • complete removal has a higher risk of urinary tract or bowel injury than partial removal

  • there may be a risk of recurrent prolapse. [2019]

1.11.9 Explain to women who have vaginal complications after abdominally placed mesh for pelvic organ prolapse that:

  • removal is associated with a risk of urinary tract and bowel injury

  • there is a risk of recurrent prolapse

  • they might need abdominal surgery to remove the mesh

  • complete removal might not be possible. [2019]

1.11.10 For women who have pain or painful sexual intercourse suspected to be related to previous mesh surgery:

  • if specialist assessment indicates a mesh-related complication, seek advice from a regional MDT

  • if assessment and investigation do not show a mesh abnormality such as vaginal extrusion or exposure, or an infection, consider non-surgical treatments such as pain management, vaginal oestrogen, dilators, counselling (including psychosexual counselling) and physiotherapy

  • if pain does not respond to initial management, seek advice from a regional MDT. [2019]

Managing urinary complications

1.11.11 Refer women who have mesh perforating the lower urinary tract to a centre for mesh complications for further assessment or management. [2019]

1.11.12 For women with urinary symptoms after mesh surgery for stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse who are considering mesh removal surgery, explain that:

  • urinary symptoms might not improve and new symptoms might occur after complete or partial removal of the mesh

  • stress urinary incontinence might recur after mesh removal, and the risk of this happening is higher with complete than with partial mesh removal

  • complete removal of the mesh might not be possible

  • further treatment might be needed for mesh complications, or recurrent or persistent urinary symptoms

  • there is a risk of adverse events such as urinary tract fistula. [2019]

1.11.13 Discuss division of mesh sling with women who have voiding difficulty after mesh sling surgery. [2019]

1.11.14 Refer women considering excision of mesh sling for persistent voiding dysfunction to a centre specialising in the diagnosis and management of mesh-related complications for assessment and management. [2019]

1.11.15 For women considering surgery to alleviate voiding symptoms caused by mesh surgery, explain that:

  • the risk of recurrent stress urinary incontinence is higher after mesh excision than mesh division

  • further surgery might be needed. [2019]

Managing bowel symptoms

1.11.16 For women who present with functional bowel disorders after mesh surgery for pelvic organ prolapse, follow the recommendations in the NICE guideline on faecal incontinence in adults for women with faecal incontinence or locally agreed protocols for women with obstructed defecation. [2019]

1.11.17 For women with bowel complications that are directly related to mesh placement, such as erosion, stricture or fistula, discuss treatment with a regional MDT that has expertise in complex pelvic floor dysfunction and mesh-related problems. Use this discussion to formulate an individualised treatment plan with the woman. [2019]

1.11.18 Explain to women with bowel complications directly related to mesh placement that:

  • complete removal might not be possible

  • bowel symptoms might persist or recur after mesh removal

  • they might need a temporary or permanent stoma after mesh removal. [2019]

To find out why the committee made the 2019 recommendations on managing complications associated with mesh surgery and how they might affect practice, see rationale and impact.

Terms used in this guideline

This section defines some of the terms that are used in this guideline. For other definitions, see the NICE glossary.

Anticholinergic medicine

A type of medicine used to treat overactive bladder. It reduces the activity of the bladder muscle by blocking chemical messengers to the nerves that control muscle movements.

Augmentation cystoplasty

A procedure to treat overactive bladder. The bladder is made larger by adding a piece of tissue from the intestines to the bladder wall.

Autologous rectus fascial sling

A type of sling used to treat stress urinary incontinence. It is made out of tissue from the woman's abdomen. The sling supports the tube that carries urine out of the body (the urethra).

Botulinum toxin type A

A treatment used for overactive bladder. It is injected into the wall of the bladder.

Colpocleisis

An operation to treat pelvic organ prolapse by closing the vagina.

Colposuspension

A type of surgery used to treat stress urinary incontinence. The neck of the bladder is lifted up and stitched in this position.

Detrusor overactivity

Involuntary bladder contractions seen during a cystometry test. They can be the cause of overactive bladder symptoms.

Intramural bulking agents

Materials used to treat stress urinary incontinence. They are injected into the sides of the tube that carries urine out of the body (the urethra). This helps it remain closed so that urine is less likely to leak out.

Manchester repair

An operation used to treat uterine prolapse. The neck of the womb (the cervix) is shortened. It involves shortening the cervix (neck of the womb) and supporting the womb in its natural position.

Mesh procedure

An operation to insert plastic mesh to support tissues. Mesh procedures are used to treat stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse in women.

Percutaneous sacral nerve stimulation

A procedure used to treat overactive bladder. A device is implanted in the back to stimulate the nerves at the base of the spine. These nerves affect the bladder and surrounding muscles.

Percutaneous posterior tibial nerve stimulation

A procedure used to treat overactive bladder. A mild electric current is passed through a fine needle to stimulate a nerve in the leg. This nerve controls bladder function.

Retropubic mid-urethral mesh sling

A type of sling used to treat stress urinary incontinence. A strip of plastic is placed behind the tube that carries urine out of the body (the urethra) to support it in a sling.

Sacrocolpopexy

A type of surgery used to treat vaginal vault prolapse. Plastic mesh is used to attach the vagina to a bone at the bottom of the spine.

Sacro-hysteropexy

An operation to treat uterine prolapse. Plastic mesh is used to attach the womb (the uterus) to a bone at the bottom of the spine.

Urinary diversion

A type of surgery used to treat stress urinary incontinence. It causes urine to flow through an opening in the abdomen into an external bag, instead of into the bladder.

Vaginal sacrospinous fixation

A type of surgery used to treat vaginal vault or uterine prolapse. The top of the vagina is stitched to a ligament in the pelvis. It is done through a cut on the inside of the vagina.

Vaginal sacrospinous hysteropexy

An operation used to treat uterine prolapse. The cervix is stitched to a ligament in the pelvis. It is done through a cut on the inside of the vagina.



[2] At the time of publication (April 2019), most botulinum toxin type A preparations did not have a UK marketing authorisation for this indication. Evidence was only available for the licensed botulinum toxin type A preparation (BOTOX, Allergan).

[3] This could be any medicine with the lowest acquisition cost from any of the medicines reviewed in 2013. The evidence review considered the following medicines: darifenacin, fesoterodine, oxybutynin (immediate release), oxybutynin (extended release), oxybutynin (transdermal), oxybutynin (topical gel), propiverine, propiverine (extended release), solifenacin, tolterodine (immediate release), tolterodine (extended release), trospium and trospium (extended release). See chapter 6 of the 2013 full guideline.

[4] At the time of publication (April 2019), only 1 preparation of botulinum toxin type A (BOTOX, Allergan) has a UK marketing authorisation for overactive bladder. The licensed dose is 100 units. Note that units of botulinum toxin type A are not interchangeable between preparations. If prescribing outside the marketing authorisation, the prescriber should follow relevant professional guidance, taking full responsibility for the decision. Informed consent should be obtained and documented. See the General Medical Council's Prescribing guidance: prescribing unlicensed medicines for further information.

[5] At the time of publication (April 2019), 1 preparation of botulinum toxin type A (BOTOX, Allergan) has a UK marketing authorisation for use at a dose of 200 units, for treating neurogenic detrusor overactivity with urinary incontinence due to subcervical spinal cord injury (traumatic or non-traumatic) or multiple sclerosis. Note that units of botulinum toxin type A are not interchangeable between preparations. If prescribing outside the marketing authorisation, the prescriber should follow relevant professional guidance, taking full responsibility for the decision. Informed consent should be obtained and documented. See the General Medical Council's Prescribing guidance: prescribing unlicensed medicines for further information.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)