Your Bladder Is No Laughing Matter: November is Bladder Health Month
November 3, 2022
If you feel like you’re the only person in the world who “leaks” or is constantly running to the bathroom, it might be reassuring to know that nothing could be further from the truth. Bladder issues are common and knowledge is power, which is why November is dedicated to Bladder Health Month: A time to understand the symptoms and treatment options for conditions like an overactive bladder or stress urinary incontinence.
You might be experiencing an overactive bladder if you frequently have the urge to urinate. Symptoms of an overactive bladder can leave you rushing for the restroom at all hours of the day, including nighttime, making it extremely disruptive to your daily routine and wellbeing. Patients with an overactive bladder typically have to go more than seven times a day, and may leak urine if they’re unable to make it to the bathroom in time.
It’s no surprise that this can impact your quality of life, creating unnecessary stress. If you’ve always got to go, it can be difficult to get a good night’s rest. You might also find yourself missing out or skipping events for fear that you won’t be able to get to the restroom in time. Basically, your bladder becomes in control of you.
Another common bladder condition is Stress Urinary Incontinence, which is when you lose bladder control. This condition is usually brought about by weakened pelvic floor muscles, a common problem among women due to age and childbirth. Everyday actions like exercising or laughing can cause your bladder to leak, causing embarrassment and frustration.
If either of these urinary conditions sound familiar to you, you should know that there are treatment options available for you at Austin Urology Institute.
There are behavioral therapies that can reduce incontinence and frequency, including “timed voids” which is essentially a schedule that helps “train” your bladder. There are also pelvic muscles exercises (or Kegels) that can help strengthen your pelvic floor. Diet is another factor that can impact bladder control, with alcohol, artificial sweeteners and caffeine commonly disrupting your bladder.
There are also drug options, like vaginal estrogen, bladder Botox, antimuscarinics or beta-3 agonists that can help.
Austin Urology Institute offers Axonics neuromodulation, which is an option for patients who have exhausted behavioral and drug therapy. Neuromodulation is the electrical stimulation of the nerves that can reduce OAB and incontinence. You can think of it like a pacemaker! The procedure involves taking a small, removable implant and using it to test and stimulate the nerves surrounding your bladder. It can either help the bladder “quiet down” or “squeeze better.” Axonics is a minimally invasive procedure that reduces over 50% of symptoms in six months. Many patients will have symptom control for upwards of five years.
Another option that’s specifically geared for stress urinary incontinence is a mid-urethral sling (TVT). This is considered the gold standard of treatment for SUI, with a success rate of over 90%. Essentially, it involves inserting a sling made of permanent, synthetic material that provides lasting support for incontinence. The procedure takes under an hour and is performed in an outpatient setting.
Hopefully, by the end of reading this, you know that it’s not uncommon to have bladder issues and that there are plenty of treatment options for you right here in Austin, Texas. You can take control back. If you’re ready for a consultation or have any further questions, you can contact the Austin Urology Team at (512) 694-8888.
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