Bladder control is dependent on two basic aspects; muscle control and nerve control. Overactive Bladder (OAB) is a problem with the storage function and unexpected nerve impulses that cause a sudden urge to urinate. When the bladder receives these inappropriate signals, it can lead to urinary urgency, spasms, and involuntary loss of urine. Sometimes the loss is small dribbles, and sometimes it is a complete loss of control of the bladder resulting in the patient becoming completely soaked with urine. This can become embarrassing, causing patients to isolate themselves from friends, work, and social engagements. Thankfully, there are many treatment options available.
Treatment is tailored to the individual’s symptoms. Often, lifestyle modifications can improve bladder control. For instance, timed voiding, limited caffeine intake, fluid monitoring, and bladder holding techniques or Kegel exercises are a few treatments. If you are still struggling with symptom control, then a trial of medications that work directly on the spasm of the bladder are often helpful. There are many types of overactive bladder (OAB) medications available. Choosing the right one depends on other medical conditions that you may have or other medications that you may be on.
There are some patients who either cannot tolerate OAB medications or they are not effective enough to improve their symptoms. In those particular instances, there are other treatment options available. These options include Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy to strengthen the muscles that help to control the bladder. Pelvic Floor Therapy also includes a vaginal stimulation to help reset better communication between the bladder and the central nervous system. Another option is Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation or PTNS. This involves using a small electrode at the inner ankle to slowly stimulate the tibial nerve. This nerve branches from the sacral nerve which controls the bladder. There is also Sacral Neuromodulation Therapy and Botox bladder injections, all of which are successful in improving bladder control, urgency, and frequency.
At Northern Indiana Center for Pelvic Health & Gynecology, we specialize in treating pelvic floor dysfunction and incontinence. The loss of urine or urinary incontinence is not normal. It is not necessarily “just part of getting older.” Please talk to your doctor or call to schedule an appointment today to discuss your symptoms with one of our practitioners. There is relief of your symptoms available. Let us help you get back to being you!