Don’t Make Me Wet My Pants
If you’re afraid of watching a funny movie, dreading the next sneeze or continually skipping your favorite Pilates class, there’s a chance a medical condition is to blame.
Hold on tight because we’re not sharing your mother’s timid version of female anatomy but the newest medical advancements to help women keep from peeing their pants.
Almost a quarter of all women over the age of 18 experience some form of urinary incontinence. Dr. Charles Butrick, M.D., says you can blame it on the quartet of hormones, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Butrick is a board-certified physician in female medicine and reconstructive surgery who specializes in pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain and incontinence. Gone are the days when women just have to accept and suffer through urinary issues, he says. There’s now cutting-edge medicine that’s helping women take back control of their bladder.
Stress urinary incontinence is defined as the loss of urine with coughing, laughing, sneezing or physical activity such as exercise. Butrick says one of the newest options for this condition is the use of an office-based laser. It was originally designed to tighten the vagina for cosmetic reasons and to improve sexual intercourse. Along the way, though, doctors found the procedure corrected stress incontinence in approximately 80 percent of patients with mild incontinence. This office-based procedure requires absolutely no downtime or recovery.
Urge incontinence is the loss of urine as result of a sudden urge to urinate. In the simplest terms, the nerves are misfiring and affecting the bladder, so you pee with zero warning. Butrick says an office procedure called neuromodulation is being used to stimulate those nerves to work more effectively using a small type of battery. (The technology was developed by the same company that invented the cochlear implants for hearing-impaired patients.) “This has been an area of special interest of mine,” Butrick says, “and therefore I was one of the first doctors in the country to start using sacral nerve stimulation for the treatment of urge incontinence, urinary retention and urinary frequency.”
Overactive bladder? Botox seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Besides being used for cosmetic purposes and the treatment of migraines, it now can help with overactive bladders. Doctors inject Botox into the bladder muscle, which helps block the nerve signals that trigger overactive bladder.