You laugh or cough or sneeze, and suddenly—oops! You’ve peed a little or a lot. Maybe you’re in the middle of any activity and your body tells you right then, you need to go pee now! Problem is, you don’t always make it to the bathroom.
That’s urinary incontinence. At its least destructive, it causes occasional embarrassing moments and the need to wear incontinence briefs (adult diapers). But at its worst, urinary incontinence can cause social isolation and anxiety, as the sufferer withdraws from public interaction.
ChristiMD can help you get back control. Through non-surgical and surgical treatment for urinary incontinence in Houston, TX, you can get back to doing the things you love without having to keep an eye on the location of the nearest restroom.
You can always contact us with your questions about urinary incontinence. You can talk openly and honestly with our team of caring professionals. And read on as Dr. Christi shares insights in how you can be on the go without always needing to go.
The Most Common Urinary Incontinence
There are two main types of urinary incontinence that affect women and men: stress urinary incontinence, and urge incontinence (also known as overactive bladder).
Stress Urinary Incontinence
This happens when you do things that create pressure in your abdomen—like laughing, coughing, exercising, and sneezing.
This common problem can limit your activities because the symptoms may get worse as time goes on. You end up needing thicker and thicker pads to absorb the leakage. It’s best to acknowledge stress urinary incontinence early, and treat the condition before it gets worse.
The second, very common bladder problem results in too many trips to the bathroom. It comes on as a strong urge to urinate—an almost panicky “gotta go” feeling—and you can’t make it to the bathroom in time. It’s not only sudden, but frequent.
All the types of urinary incontinence affect women twice as often as they do men. The reasons include pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, all events that can affect the bladder, urethra, and the muscles that support and control these organs.
Non-Surgical and Surgical Treatment for Urinary Incontinence in Houston
You don’t have to consider urinary incontinence as “just part of life.” Instead, it’s a treatable condition that can be managed—or even eliminated.
At ChristiMD Medical Group, you’ll schedule a consultation with Dr. Christi to discuss your condition, when and where it occurs most, and your medical history. You’ll probably have some tests done to rule out other medical possibilities, such as a UTI.
If your urinary incontinence isn’t caused by infection, certain medicines, or even caffeine (we know, right? Not my coffee!), Dr. Christi will explain your choices for treatment. Most frequently you’ll start with effective, non-surgical treatment. More severe cases may require surgical treatment as the first approach.
Let’s walk through the choices that can help you get your independence back.
Non-Surgical Treatment for Urinary Incontinence in Houston
These non-surgical bladder treatments are the first courses of action Dr. Christi may recommend, depending on the severity of your urinary incontinence.
A favorite among patients, staff, and patient partners (for reasons we’ll share in a moment), the
Emsella treatment provides a simple, easy, and effective way to strengthen your pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor consists of muscles spanning the bottom of your pelvis. They support your pelvic organs—uterus, bowels, and your bladder. When these muscles weaken, you lose control over urination.
When you come in for an Emsella treatment, you’ll sit in a specially designed chair for about 30 minutes. During that time, the Emsellla chair applies high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy through the seat to stimulate your pelvic floor.
These muscles contract much like doing Kegel exercises. However, during the Emsella treatment, your body performs 10,000 or more contractions, greatly improving the strength and control of your pelvic floor.
Emsella does have one side effect: it frequently improves your sex life too! Having stronger pelvic floor muscles with more gripping power heightens your sensations, and those of your partner, during intercourse.
Pelvic Floor Training
ChristiMD Medical Group is one of the only practices in Houston to offer pelvic floor training. As a first-line treatment option, pelvic floor training allows you a simple way to fix your urinary incontinence.
Pelvic floor training tones the pelvic floor muscles and retrains the bladder nerves. Each 20-minute session involves placement of a vaginal and a small rectal probe. The vaginal probe stimulates the pelvic floor muscles, and the rectal probe measures the progress of contraction strength.
Since the nerve endings to the pelvic floor and bladder are intermingled, pelvic floor training strengthens these vital control muscles and retrains the bladder nerves.
Along with the in-office treatment outlined above, Dr. Christi creates a Kegel exercise program specifically designed for you. This will support your positive results and help you maintain your re-found control.
Posterior Tibial Nerve Stimulation
Also known as PTNS, this surprising and effective treatment works by stimulating a nerve in your ankle.
Most people don’t know that the posterior tibial nerve, located just behind your ankle, mingles with the bladder nerve and affects urinary incontinence! For the PTNS treatment, Dr. Christi gently taps a very small needle—similar to a tiny acupuncture needle—into the area behind your ankle. It will reside next to the posterior tibial nerve, being near but not touching the nerve.
The needle connects to a neuro-stimulator, which will send tiny electric pulses into the nerve. The treatment lasts about 20 minutes as you rest with your foot propped up. The procedure is painless, though you may experience a buzzing feeling. At the end of treatment, the needle is removed and you can go on about your day.
It may take a few weeks to see improvement, but almost every patient notices a big difference in the number of trips to the bathroom and urine leakage.
Surgical Treatment for Urinary Incontinence in Houston
For more severe cases of urinary incontinence, or when non-surgical methods fail to achieve the best improvement, surgical treatment for urinary incontinence may be your best choice.
The insertion of a “sling” helps support the urethral tube, for better urinary control—especially when under stress. The most common type of sling is tension-free vaginal tape (TVT). For over 2 decades, the TVT sling has proven to be the gold standard for sling surgery.
Done on an outpatient basis, the TVT sling requires a very small incision inside the vagina. Dr. Christi attaches a mesh tape around the pubic bones underneath the urethra, which provides the missing support. The sling is made from the same material used in heart surgery sutures.
Research has repeatedly proven that TVT is safe and effective.
The other type of sling done at ChristiMD Medical Group is a pubovaginal sling. Placed similarly to TVT, the pubovaginal sling also requires an additional incision in the lower abdomen area.
This pubovaginal sling material can be made from your own tissue or from calf skin. Patients go home the same day after surgery and get back to most regular activities immediately.
Interstim is designed for women with an overactive bladder. Interstim consists of a silver-dollar-sized intermittent pulse generator implanted in the lower back area. The device has a thin lead wire which sits next to the 3rd sacral nerve root.
You control the interstim device by a remote control. When turned on, it performs as a neuromodulator, retraining the signals traveling back and forth along the bladder nerve.
Though technologically advanced, interstim has proven effective for over 20 years, permanently curing overactive bladder symptoms.
Bulkamid is a long-lasting urethral bulking agent that adds volume to the urethral wall. This provides a tighter “seal,” preventing urine from leaking out of the bladder, and providing improved control of urine flow.
After administering local anesthetic to numb the treatment area, Dr. Christi will use a small scope to inject Bulkamid into the wall of the urethra. The Bulkamid injectable solution consists of 97.5% water and 2.5% polyacrylamide.
Your Bulkamid injections greatly diminish or eradicate the symptoms of stress urinary incontinence, with 92% of patients cured or significantly improved. The results last up to 7 years.
Botox was the first drug to use botulinum toxin for therapeutic purposes, due to its ability to relax muscles near the injection site.
About 20 years ago, researchers began to use Botox for quadriplegics who had spastic bladders. The impressive results led them to next try bladder Botox for people with overactive bladder. The results proved to be life changing.
Dr. Christi has used Botox for overactive bladder treatment for over 10 years. For the procedure you can choose to take Valium, and then we numb the bladder for 30 minutes. Or if you prefer, we can deliver general anesthetic.
Once you’re prepared, Dr. Christi gently inserts a scope into the urethral tube, and the Botox is injected. The procedure itself takes less than 5 minutes!
About ten days after the treatment, you should see a reduction in your urgency to urinate, and a better ability to reach the bathroom in time. Full effects of bladder botox as a treatment for urinary incontinence in Houston arrive within 12 weeks after treatment.
eCoin tibial stimulation works on a similar basis as PTNS, but instead of coming into the office for your treatment therapy, you take it with you! With eCoin, you will train your body to significantly reduce constant, daily sudden urges to urinate.
During the minimally-invasive outpatient surgery, Dr. Christi applies local anesthetic to the implant location near your ankle or lower leg. Making a very small incision, she implants the nickel-sized eCoin tibial simulator near your tibial nerve.
Similar to a pacemaker, the eCoin device stimulates the nerve, which connects to the bladder. Studies have proven that eCoin greatly reduces the frequency of urgent urinary incontinence attacks.
The eCoin battery lasts on average around 3 years. It may be more or less, depending on the therapy plan. Each stimulation treatment lasts for 30 minutes, delivered on a fixed schedule set by you and Dr. Christi.
Part of the convenience of the eCoin tibial stimulator device, is that it treats urinary incontinence with no wires, no recharging, and no need for anyone to manage the device.
There is hope for your urinary incontinence, whether you prefer surgical or non-surgical treatments.
If your bladder leakage is mild to moderate, you probably don’t need surgery. That means you could find relief in non-surgical choices for urinary incontinence in Houston, TX.
Women whose urinary incontinence has not improved enough from other treatments, or whose condition is in the high-moderate to severe range, could benefit from surgical treatment solutions.
Either way, a treatment for urinary incontinence in Houston exists to help you regain control of your bladder, and rebuild the confidence you need to enjoy the activities of your everyday life!
First Step: Contact ChristiMD Medical Group.
Dr. Christi is a leader in the field of comprehensive Female Urology and Urogynecology, having performed thousands of operations. She has also helped thousands of other patients with non-surgical treatments for urinary incontinence.
She’s also one of the first urologists in the country to receive board subspecialty certification in both Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. Schedule a consultation with her today and start talking about options!
ChristiMD Medical Group in Houston, TX, offers expert medical and surgical care for women and men with exceptional results.