Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition suffered by many women. The urinary symptoms like a strong urge to urinate at inconvenient times can severely decrease your quality of life. Medication that relaxes the bladder can help alleviate overactive bladder symptoms and decrease urge incontinence episodes. It is often the first line of defense against an overactive bladder.
Nonetheless, many women discontinue medication use within a year. For some women, medications do not work. Others suffer from unpleasant side effects such as constipation, dry eyes, and dry mouth.
Refractory OAB occurs when bladder urgency or incontinence does not improve after taking one or two medications. Unfortunately, these individuals must continue rearranging their day around bathroom access because of worries about urges or leaks.
But there are alternatives.
Medication is only one component of the overactive bladder treatment equation. If you have tried medication and it is ineffective, there are alternatives, from injections to implants, to consider.
Botox is well-known for reducing the appearance of wrinkles on the skin. However, Botox injections can also be beneficial for the bladder. Injecting the drug directly into the bladder calms the bladder and prevents urgency and urinary leakage.
Injections are administered in the doctor’s office and are typically repeated two to three times per year.
2. Sacral nerve stimulator
Sacral nerve stimulator therapy employs a device that functions similarly to a pacemaker, but for the bladder. It helps regulate bladder function by stimulating the sacral nerve with a mild electrical current. Axonics and InterStim are examples of these devices.
Before implanting the device, there is a trial period. Doctors perform the test phase procedure in an operating room or medical office. The doctor will anesthetize a small region near the tailbone before inserting a thin, flexible needle. This needle will be linked to a wire near the sacral nerves. A temporary battery is used for a two-week test stimulation to determine its effectiveness.
If there is an improvement, the device is implanted beneath the skin of the lower back. It will not harm nerves and can be easily removed or turned off at any time. A remote control designated to the device gives the patient complete control.
3. Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS)
PTNS is a non-invasive neuromodulation treatment for OAB. By relaxing the bladder muscles, PTNS can reduce OAB symptoms. Urgent PC is one type of PTNS device.
During the PTNS procedure, the foot is elevated, and a thin needle electrode is positioned near the tibial nerve in the ankle. The sacral nerve receives mild electrical impulses via the tibial nerve. The sacral nerve plexus controls the function of the bladder.
During the procedure, patients typically describe a pulsing, tingling, or vibrating sensation around the leg or foot. The sensations are not uncomfortable.
PTNS can alter bladder function through a series of 12 weekly treatments, each lasting approximately 30 minutes. Your PTNS response will be evaluated. Additional treatments may be required over time to maintain the improvement of OAB symptoms.
You don’t have to live with OAB, especially if medications don’t work. Call 843-347-2450 today for an appointment!!