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Prevea Health

Bladder Control Problems


Frequent bathroom breaks slowing you down?

Millions of women around the world suffer in silence with bladder-control problems. Did you know 4 out of 10 women older than 60 have socially debilitating incontinence? Women often consider the subject taboo because they’re embarrassed about it or think treatment is not possible. Over time, untreated incontinence can cause women to become depressed, gain weight and develop low self-esteem, which can lead to other health issues.

So, what causes bladder-control problems?

The bladder, urethra, sacral nerves and pelvic floor muscles work together to support the urinary tract. As women age, muscles weaken and can lead to two common types of incontinence: stress incontinence and overactive bladder.

Stress incontinence occurs when added stress is suddenly placed on the bladder, such as when coughing, sneezing or exercising.
  • The first line of treatment includes some simple non-surgical approaches that often work well.
    • Retrain your bladder muscles through exercise. Kegel exercises work to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. To do a Kegel, squeeze the muscles you would use to stop urinating, hold for three seconds and repeat.
    • Physical therapy with a trained specialist can sometimes help more than just doing exercises on your own.
  • Sometimes surgery offers a cure for this problem as well.

Overactive bladder occurs when women feel a sudden urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. Some simple life changes can improve your urinary frequency or leakage.
  • Change your diet. Eliminate caffeine, spicy foods or drinking liquids late in the evening.
  • Practice timed voiding. Emptying your bladder based on the clock and not your urges can help you establish more control over your bladder.
  • Take medication. Medications known as anticholinergics can treat overactive bladder by relaxing the bladder.

Conservative approaches don’t always work to treat overactive bladder. In the case of overactive bladder, we now have many options that are more effective than medications for treating a strong need to urinate with leaking or wetting accidents (urge urinary incontinence), a strong need to urinate right away (urgency) and urinating often (frequency).
  • InterStim Therapy is a minimally invasive nerve-stimulation procedure that has yielded long-term improvement or even a cure. Sacral neuromodulation, or InterStim Therapy, has been used to treat more than 150,000 patients worldwide and has been available in the United States since 1997.
  • BOTOX® is a prescription medicine that is injected into the bladder muscle and used to treat overactive bladder symptoms, such as urgency, frequency and urge incontinence when another type of medicine (anticholinergic) does not work well enough or cannot be taken.
  • Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS) is a low-risk, non-surgical treatment. PTNS works by indirectly providing electrical stimulation to the nerves responsible for bladder and pelvic floor function. This electrical stimulation helps to relax the bladder muscle to treat urgency and frequency.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Prevea Women’s Health Care today.