Approximately 25 million American adults experience loss of bladder or bowel control, but they often don’t have to. According to the National Association for Continence, 80 percent of those affected by urinary incontinence can be cured or significantly helped. For some people, this involuntary release of urine can affect their quality of life. Women are twice as likely as men to experience incontinence; approximately 10 percent of people over the age of 65 have this potentially embarrassing problem.
Incontinence is a symptom, not a disease. On a temporary basis, it can be caused by vaginal infections, constipation, or certain medications. “Persistent urinary incontinence may be caused by weakness of the bladder or the muscles supporting it, overactive bladder muscles, or urinary tract blockage,” explains Tamyra Comeaux, MD, OB/GYN on the medical staff at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital.
Once the cause of urinary incontinence has been identified, treatment options usually fall into three main categories: behavioral techniques, which require making certain lifestyle changes; medications; and medical devices or surgery. More than 200 variations of surgical procedures can be performed to treat causes of urinary incontinence.
One advanced treatment is InterStim Therapy, which is effective urinary control via sacral nerve stimulation. “For patients that don’t benefit from conventional treatment techniques and medications, InterStim Therapy may be an option,” adds Dr. Comeaux. “A potential patient first undergoes a minimally invasive test, either in the office or in the hospital, to see if the therapy might work for them. If the test is successful and the patient has an improvement in their symptoms, they receive a long term device to help control their symptoms.”
Urinary incontinence should not be suffered in silence. Hiding incontinence can lead to rashes, sores, and skin or urinary tract infections. Talk to your doctor about testing and treatment options available for urinary incontinence. Call 800-681-2733 or visit www.CyFairHospital.com/Physician to find a specialist to care for your needs.