When The Bathroom Beckons: Coping With Incontinence

Imagine a common health problem, one affecting more than 10 million people, that hardly anyone feels comfortable talking about. That’s the situation with urinary incontinence (UI). The condition affects an estimated 35 percent of women, and 22 percent of men 65 years or older. It is important to know that you don't have to suffer in silence. Learn your options.

Having urinary incontinence simply means that you can’t always control your bladder. Symptoms can range from mild leaking to total emptying of the bladder. Causes can include urinary tract infections, weak bladder muscles, enlarged prostate and nerve damage. Urinary incontinence is less prominent in men than women.

The one thing many people with UI have in common is the wish to cover the problem up, hiding it even from their physicians. This is definitely not the wise course, since most cases of UI can be treated and controlled, and sometimes cured. 

The two most common types of incontinence are stress incontinence and urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder. Talk to your doctor if you experience any symptoms. Treatment is available.

Share the Knowledge 
It’s up to you to take the first step and bring up the subject of UI with your doctor. Then you can get down to the business of diagnosing the cause of your problem and the kind of treatment that will be effective.

Today, there are more treatments available for UI than ever before. There are ways to actually exercise your way to better bladder control, a growing number of medications that affect the behavior of bladder muscles, and sometimes surgery is a good option. Gwinnett Medical Center offers various treatment options for incontinence including Neuromodulation Therapy or InterStim Therapy. 

InterStim® Therapy is a proven neuromodulation therapy that targets communication problems between the brain and the nerves that control the bladder to improve bladder function.

The InterStim system uses an external device during a trial assessment period and an internal device for long-term therapy. You and your doctor may decide to try InterStim Therapy by going through a trial assessment period. Based on the outcome of the trial assessment, you and your doctor will determine which next step is right for you.

First Visit Checklist 
Your doctor will need information about your recent medical history to make a diagnosis. Be prepared to talk about: 
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medicines you take. 
  • When you started having bladder problems. 
  • Any recent operation, injury, or illness. 
  • Details about situations or times when you lose bladder control. 
  • Honest descriptions of bladder sensations when using the toilet. (For example, do you feel pain or a burning sensation? Does your bladder feel full even though you’ve relieved yourself?) 


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