It’s a problem that affects 50 million otherwise healthy Americans, according to the Caring Center for Women, most of them women -- overactive bladder; people rushing to the bathroom more than a dozen times a day, often not making it in time.
And it can be embarrassing.
And the medications, exercises and behavioral changes for it frequently fail, according to the Caring Center for Women -- but there’s a new technology that can help.
Dr. Teresa Irwin, a urogynecologist and president of the Caring Center for Women in New Braunfels, shares how this new tech is improving her patients’ lives.
Dr. Irwin, what is life like for these patients?
“It really affects the quality of life and it really is of varying degrees,” Irwin said. “Mostly you see patients that are really bothered at this point, and it’s affecting their quality of life, from interfering with family and friends, to relationships to their work environments, as well. A lot of them can’t even go to the movies because they’re going to be involved in so many times -- or once they’re out and about, they’re constantly scoping out where all the restrooms are at, and others are just simply embarrassed that they smell of urine.”
With this new technology you’re using to help these patients, what’s the procedure called?
“It’s called sacral neuromodulation and it involves where I place a rechargeable device,” Irwin said. “And basically it’s like a pacemaker. But the bladder and what it does, it corrects the signals from the brain to the bladder so that the bladder is actually following the brain commands and it’s minimally invasive, done as an outpatient procedure. And it’s designed to last 15 years and it’s even MRI-compatible.”
What kind of impact does this therapy have on your patients’ lives?
“It’s a quality-of-life-changer,” Irwin said. “Patients can now resume their normal relationships. It can work without having so many bathroom breaks and interruptions to their day. And they’re not so worried about smelling like urine. And even better, they save lots of money from not having to purchase diapers and pads.”
How long does the device last?
“It lasts 15 years,” Irwin said. “So, that’s a much improvement from prior devices. This message is for all of your viewers, and that is an overactive bladder, is a disease of aging. In other words, it gets worse as we get older.”
To learn more about the Caring Center for Women watch the segment above or tap here.