Did you know that urinary incontinence is the leading cause for admission to nursing homes?
Weakened pelvic muscles cause the most common type of incontinence, which is stress incontinence. Pelvic muscles are not exercised regularly, which causes them to be naturally weak. Also, pelvic muscles can be weakened even more during childbirth.
One easy way to improve your continence is by doing pelvic floor muscle exercises. Your pelvic muscle stretches from your front pubic bone to your tailbone in the back. This muscle supports the bladder, large intestine and the uterus. Performing this exercise regularly helps strengthen the pelvic muscle and the urethra, the tube from which the urine flows, and can lead to decreased incontinence. Strengthening the urethra enables it to stay closed during stressful activities like aerobics or a tennis match.
Follow these simple instructions:
- Pretend you are trying to stop the flow of urine you are voiding.
- To practice, you can actually stop your urine stream while you are urinating. Do not do this often as it may cause harm
- Urge – leakage that occurs when there is a sudden, uncontrollable need to urinate;
- Overflow – occurs when the bladder is inefficiently emptied, leaving large amounts of urine in the bladder;
- Functional – the most common type of incontinence found in a nursing home setting or in disabled or demented patients.
Collagen injections can also help your incontinence. Collagen is a naturally occurring protein found in both humans and animals. When collagen is injected into the tissues around the urethra, it adds mass to the tissue to help the urethra close tightly and prevent urine leakage.
The collagen injection is typically an outpatient procedure. The doctor will insert a cystoscope (like a telescope) into your urethra to locate the areas where the collagen should be injected. A needle then comes out of the cystoscope and injects the collagen into these areas.
After the collagen injection, most patients do not have any incontinence, and others will have a significant reduction in urine leakage. Because the body will absorb some of the collagen, you may have to have more collagen injections after a few years. Before you have the procedure done, you should have the doctor inject a small amount of the collagen into your skin to determine if you have an allergic reaction to the collagen.
When a more permanent method of incontinence relief is needed, a transvaginal sling is created to support the bladder neck, urethra and sphincter to provide aid in urine leakage. The doctor takes a tool and inserts it into the vagina. Two anchors will be placed into the pubic bone with this tool. Then, the doctor makes a “sling” out of a biocompatible synthetic material like gortex or he may use some of your own tissue. The anchors secure the sling, and it supports the bladder, bladder neck, urethra and sphincter.
The sling procedure is a more permanent way to “cure” female incontinence. Recovery for this procedure is a little more complex than the collagen injection. The transvaginal sling procedure usually requires the insertion of a catheter for a limited amount of time, usually 24 hours, and you must refrain from lifting objects heavier than 10 pounds for a month. However, the long-term gain from the surgery is worth it.
Dr. Gordon M. Castleberry has performed more than (insert number) of these transvaginal sling procedures. Of these surgeries, XX percent of them were done on a same-day surgery basis.
Electrical stimulation or E-Stim therapy is mainly used to treat female urinary incontinence. It entails treating the patient by sending a mild electric current to nerves in the lower back or to the pelvic muscles that are involved in urination.
E-Stim therapy may be used to treat:
– Overactive bladder
– Stress incontinence
– Urge incontinence
– A combination of stress and urge incontinence