Gynecologic Health

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about prevention and wellness for women.

Are there non-surgical treatment options for urinary incontinence?

Premier Health’s Dr. Jerome Yaklic discusses non-surgical options to treat urinary incontinence. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

   

There are a variety of non-surgical treatment options for urinary incontinence. The least invasive treatments include:

  • Behavioral modifications
  • Physical therapy
  • Pelvic muscle (Kegels) exercises
  • Medications

However, if patients do not find these treatments effective, there are still a number of therapies available. The Office on Women’s Health identifies electrical nerve stimulation (also called neuromodulation), devices (such as a pessary) and catheterization as non-surgical treatment options.

Nerve stimulation is often an effective treatment for urge incontinence and overactive bladder (OAB) when other therapies have not worked. This treatment entails gentle electrical pulses delivered to the sacral nerves to interfere with errant signals between the brain and the bladder believed to cause the sudden urges and bladder muscle spasms. Premier Health specialists prefer two electrical stimulation systems:

  • Bladder Control Therapy This method uses an implantable device similar to a pacemaker to continuously send gentle electrical pulses to the sacral nerves to relieve the symptoms of urinary incontinence. Your doctor will determine if you are a good candidate for bladder control therapy by conducting an evaluation using a portable stimulator and recording your symptoms.
  • Uroplasty Urgent® PC The Urgent PC system is an in-office treatment. During an office visit, your doctor inserts a small electrode into your ankle. The hand-held stimulator delivers gentle electrical pulses that travel up to the sacral nerves. Effective treatment requires 12 weekly treatments followed by monthly treatments for maintenance. Each treatment lasts about 30 minutes.

Premier Health specialists also use devices that allow patients to effectively perform pelvic floor exercises at home and get biofeedback from their exercise sessions. For patients with stress, urge or mixed incontinence, doctors may prescribe In-Tone, a medical device that helps strengthen the Kegels in the pelvic floor and the detrusor muscle that comprises the bladder wall.

Premier Health specialists may also recommend an outpatient procedure that uses the body’s natural healing process to bulk up and strengthen tissues in the pelvic area. The Lyrette procedure entails inserting a small catheter into your urethra and inflating a small balloon at the base of the bladder. Radiofrequency energy is emitted for about 10 minutes to gently damage the lining of the urethra and bladder neck. As your body heals, it produces more collagen, resulting in thicker, stronger walls of the urethra and bladder neck, which helps to control urine leakage.

For patients who cannot respond well or tolerate these non-surgical options, catheterization may be considered for urinary incontinence management. While catheterization does not treat urinary incontinence, it does provide relief from leakage and sudden urges. The Urology Care Foundation describes two types of indwelling catheters that may be used:

  • Suprapubic catheters
  • Foley catheters

While catheters may provide people with more freedom from symptoms of urinary incontinence, they should not be considered a permanent solution. Surgery may still be recommended for long-term treatment.

For more information about non-surgical options that may give you relief from urinary incontinence, talk to your doctor.

Learn more:

Source: Rashmi Bolinjkar, MD, Upper Valley Womens Center; Jeremy Crouch, MD, Womens Health Specialists and Midwives of Dayton; Heather Hilkowitz, MD, Hilltop Obstetrics and Gynecology; Amanda Fox, CNP, Dulan and Moore Dulan Family Wellness Center; Kathryn Lorenz, MD, Hyatt Family Care; William Rush, MD, Lifestages Samaritan Centers for Women; Jerome Yaklic, MD, Wright State Physicians Obstetrics and Gynecology; Mansi Amin, DO, SureCare Medical Center; Amy Renshaw, MD, Center for Womens Health and Wellness; J. Scott Bembry, Premier OB/GYN; L. William Rettig, III, MD,Lifestages Centers for Women; Elyse Weber, PA, Lifestages Centers for Women; Rhonda Washington, MD, Center for Womens Health and Wellness; Stacy Hudepohl, CNM, Center for Womens Health and Wellness; Larry Holland, DO, Premier Womens Center

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