Overactive bladder, a condition affecting millions of Americans, is a problem with bladder-storage function that causes a sudden urge to urinate. The urge may be difficult to stop and may lead to the involuntary loss of urine, which is called incontinence.
It is estimated that there are over 33 million Americans experiencing symptoms of overactive bladder; but the actual number is likely much larger as many people living with overactive bladder don’t ask for help, possibly due to embarrassment or the mistaken assumption that there are no treatment options.
Treatments for overactive bladder do exist though and can sometimes be as simple as relatively small lifestyle/behavioral strategies. These strategies include adhering to a fluid consumption schedule, double voiding, and learning/employing bladder-holding techniques (aka Kegel exercises).
If lifestyle changes do not completely address the overactive bladder symptoms, there are a number of medication options available. These medications, taken orally or delivered gradually via a skin patch, relax the bladder and can relieve some symptoms of overactive bladder and reduce episodes of urge incontinence.
When lifestyle changes and prescription drugs don’t effectively treat the overactive bladder, or the side effects of the medication are too serious, your doctor may recommend more advanced therapies. These therapies include injections of Botox® into the bladder (to reduce contractions) and nerve stimulation (Neuromodulation Therapy).
There are two options for Neuromodulation therapy: a non-surgical approach, Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation, and a surgical approach, Sacral Neuromodulation.
- Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation treatment for overactive bladder entails the placement of a needle electrode near the ankle to send electrical pulses to the tibial nerve, which runs along the knee to the sacral nerves. The electrical pulses help block the nerve signals that aren’t working correctly. This in-office procedure takes about 30-minutes and may require up to 12 weekly treatments.
- Sacral Neuromodulation entails the implantation of a “bladder pacemaker” that delivers electrical impulses to the bladder to stop the signals that can cause overactive bladder.
No single treatment is right for everyone and only a trained urological specialist can properly diagnose and recommend treatment options for overactive bladder. Contact the Urology Group of Princeton to set up an appointment to discuss your symptoms with one of our board-certified urologists.