New Treatments For Incontinence
While traditional treatments such as kegel exercises, bladder training and the use of anticholinergic medicines can still be very effective for helping to manage incontinence issues, there are some exciting new developments and therapies in the treatment of bladder leakage and incontinence.
The two most common types of incontinence are known as urgeand stress incontinence. Urge where you feel the urgent need to go to the toilet followed by an involuntary leakage of urine and stress incontinence where you have some bladder leakage while exercising, sneezing, laughing or coughing.
If you’ve tried traditional incontinence therapies with limited success it might be time to talk to your doctor or health professional about whether one of the following treatments might be appropriate for you.
Botox is especially effective in patients with an overactive bladder as it works on the bladder nerves to relax the bladder. This in turn reduces bladder contractions and the feeling of needing to go to the toilet very suddenly. The bladder wall is injected with a number of tiny injections which gently paralyse the muscles in the bladder. Additional treatments are given when this treatment wears off, usually somewhere between 6 and 12 months.
A recently introduced new drug available to treat urinary incontinence or overactive bladder is mirabegron which rather than preventing bladder contractions, relaxes the bladder muscles instead and increases bladder capacity. While mirabegron may take up to 8 weeks to improve symptoms of incontinence, it’s as effective as anticholinergic drugs without many of the side effects.
The oxytrol patch is used for treating an overactive bladder in women, while this has been used for many years in tablet form, this patch was developed to release the medicine directly through the skin and has only just been verified as being available under the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) as recently as November 1, 2018. Many patients using the patch report that the side effects of this medication are less severe than when they took it in tablet form.
Sometimes with severe stress incontinence there has been no other option but to carry out surgery. Until recently, the mid-urethral sling operation was performed successfully in women to reduce symptoms of bladder leakage. However a new generation of single-incision slings has been developed, shorter in length, requiring a smaller incision with less risk of damaging the bladder and causing post operative pain. A similar type surgery can also be performed on men. A small sling is inserted to support the urethra to relieve symptoms of stress incontinence.
Help And Support
There are many ways you can find help and support. The National Continence Helpline (1800 33 0066) is a free service staffed by continence nurse advisors who can offer you, a family member or your carer support and advice.
The Continence Foundation of Australia offers lots of really helpful information on continence as well. And remember, we are on hand to help you too.