Urinary-IncontinenceDo you struggle with sudden, unexpected loss of bladder control? Do you find yourself rushing to the restroom? Urinary incontinence in women often occurs as a result of age, childbirth, dramatic weight changes, or even neurological issues and can range from occasional leaks to sudden urine loss before making it to the bathroom. While embarrassing, it is important to understand that there is a solution and the dedicated urologists at Comprehensive Urology will help you find the treatment that works for you.

If you suffer from occasional or chronic urinary incontinence, do not wait to contact Comprehensive Urology in Beverly Hills today. Our experienced team can provide the custom treatment and care you deserve to regain control of your life. Call (310) 499-2756 today!

Types of Female Urinary Issues

Urinary incontinence can occur for a wide number of reasons, but typically occurs as one or combination of the following:

  • Stress Incontinence – Occurs when sudden pressure is placed on the bladder by the lower stomach muscles, such as when laughing, coughing, or jogging. The pelvic muscles may be weakened by childbirth or other condition, making urinary retention difficult.
  • Urge Incontinence – Feels like the sudden urge to urinate that may be so strong that it is difficult to reach the restroom in time before an accident occurs. This type can occur as a result of an overactive bladder or a urinary tract infection.
  • Functional Incontinence – Means that you are able to control your bladder, however, another physical issue may interfere with your ability to reach the restroom in time, such as arthritis or Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Overflow Incontinence – Occurs when the bladder becomes overfilled because it is difficult to fully empty your bladder. This condition is more common in men than women.

Treatments for Female Incontinence

Fortunately, there are numerous options available for treating any type of female urinary incontinence. At Comprehensive Urology, we understand that ever patient is unique and no treatment is a one-size-fits-all solution, therefore we provide personalized patient care to help each patient find the treatment or combination of treatments that suits her needs.

Treatments for female incontinence include:

  • Behavioral Modification – Regulating fluid intake and scheduling toilet trips can help prevent overflow or other accidents.
  • Medications – In many cases, medications can help relax bladder muscles and prevent the spasms that cause the sudden urge to urinate or leakage.
  • Botox – Botox injections have been found to be effective at relaxing the nerves and muscles responsible for stress or urge incontinence. The injections can provide several months of relief and can be repeated once the effects have worn off.
  • Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS) – By placing a small electrode in the tibial nerve of the leg, it is possible to regulate the nerve function that triggers overactive bladder and other urinary issues. The treatments are non-invasive and highly effective.
  • Interstim – A small device is surgically implanted in the lower back to stimulate the sacral nerves that control bladder and bowel function. The device helps patients regain control of their bladder function.
  • Mid-Urethral Sling – A small artificial mesh or tissue is placed around the urethra to help support the natural anatomical features, alleviating pressure on the bladder and urethra.

Stress Incontinence

stress-incontinenceAccording to the National Association for Incontinence, more than 25 million adult Americans suffer from some form of urinary incontinence and 75-80% of those are women. Urinary incontinence, a common urological condition, is the involuntary leakage of urine. Stress incontinence is a type of urinary incontinence that typically affects more women than men. Approximately one in three women experience stress incontinence. The condition can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life as it can disrupt normal day-to-day activities.

Why Does Stress Incontinence Occur?

The layers of muscles and tissues of the pelvic floor normally support the urethra, which is the tube that carries the urine out of the body. Without these muscles and tissues, the urethra would not be kept in position. The female body goes through many changes from aging and childbirth, in particular, weakening of the muscles that make up the pelvic floor. As a result, urine retention becomes more difficult and involuntary urine leakage may occur.

Stress incontinence is known to cause urine loss during periods of exertion or when pressure is added to the abdominal area. Leakage of urine during coughing, laughing or exercising is common for people with the condition.

Treatment Options for Stress Incontinence

Stress incontinence can be an embarrassing condition that can give rise to many uncomfortable situations. Fortunately, both nonsurgical treatment and surgical treatment options are available and all have the ability to cure the condition successfully.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options

  • Pelvic Floor Exercises – Physical therapists that are specially trained in women’s health guide the patient through a series of exercises. The exercises are designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to prevent further involuntary leakage of urine.
  • Injectable Therapy – Also known as urethral bulking agents involve injecting medications, such as collagen, directly into the urethra. The purpose behind this method is to increase the bulk of the urethra, thus preventing involuntary leakage of urine. The injections can be performed in a medical office with local anesthesia.

Surgical Treatment

Stress Incontinence Los AngelesFor some women, surgery may be a better option vs. nonsurgical treatment. Fortunately, minimally invasive surgery for urinary incontinence is relatively simple and can offer long-term relief from the condition without the need for an overnight hospital stay. The most common surgical procedure performed is called trans-obturator tape (TOT) urethral sling procedure.  The urologist will place a synthetic ribbon-like mesh to create a support system under the urethra. This allows the urethra to be held in place during periods of exertion or pressure on the abdominal area, preventing urine leakage.

Since TOT is minimally invasive, patients can expect a relatively quick recovery. Most patients who undergo surgical treatment for stress incontinence are able to resume to work and normal activities anywhere from one to two weeks. Although some women may need a temporary catheter for one to two days after surgery, most return to normal urination immediately.

Urge Incontinence

urge-incontinenceUrinary incontinence affects approximately 200 million people worldwide. A common type of urinary incontinence is called urge incontinence and is characterized by a strong, sudden need to urinate. This condition is also known as overactive bladder, bladder spasms or irritable bladder.

What Triggers Urge Incontinence?

When the bladder is filled with urine from the kidneys, it normally stretches to allow urine. Typically, people feel the urge to urinate when the bladder is filled with a little less than 1 cup of urine. Most people can hold more than 2 cups of urine in the bladder.

The sphincter, which is the muscle that surrounds the opening of the bladder, along with the bladder wall muscle, is responsible for helping prevent the flow of urine. During urination, the bladder wall muscle squeezes to force urination out of the bladder. Meanwhile, the sphincter muscle relaxes to allow urine to flow through. The bladder and other parts of the urinary tract, along with the nerves controlling the urinary system, must work together in order to control normal urination.

In urge incontinence, the bladder contracts when it should not. As a result, urine leaks through the sphincter muscles. A bladder may contract uncontrollably from problems in the nervous system or irritation in the bladder.

Although direct causes are unclear, urge incontinence may occur as a result of:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Bladder inflammation
  • Bladder stones
  • Bladder infection
  • Obstruction of the bladder opening
  • Brain or nerve problems (such as multiple sclerosis or stroke)
  • Nervous system injury (such as spinal cord injury or stroke)
  • Enlarged prostate or BPH (in men)

When to Seek Treatment for Urge Incontinence

For some people, living with urge incontinence is merely an inconvenience that does not require a trip to a urologist. However, for others, the condition can have a negative impact on their quality of life and their ability to perform normal activities. If urge incontinence is hindering your day-to-day routines, seeking medical help is recommended. These are some signs that you may need immediate treatment from urge incontinence:

  • Pain in the pelvic region (lower stomach)
  • Frequent and urgent urination (during the day and night)
  • Painful, burning urination
  • Ongoing symptoms for several days

Relieving Symptoms of Urge Incontinence

Fortunately, there are many nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available. As mentioned above, since the urge incontinence is normally a chronic condition that does not have serious complications, choosing not to seek treatment will depend entirely on the person and whether or not the condition is impeding on their daily life. For those who are seeking relief, here is a list of self-administered and doctor assisted treatments:

At-Home Remedies

  • Dietary Changes – Reduces bladder irritation, and suggests limited alcohol intake, avoidance of spicy, acidic and sugary foods.
  • Weight Loss – Being overweight plays a factor in developing urge incontinence, so increasing physical activity will help.
  • Kegal Exercises – This is a preferred treatment option for urge incontinence and is designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which control urination.

Surgical Options

  • Botox Injections – In small aliquots, botox can be injected to the muscle of the bladder wall in a systematic fashion.  This approach causes relaxation of the bladder spasming and can be very effective in treating patients with urge incontinence that do not respond to medical therapy. Botox injections into the bladder is relatively simple and effective treatment option.
  • Nerve Stimulators – A small device is inserted under the skin of the buttocks and hooked up to the sacral nerve. Light pulses are sent to the nerves of the bladder. The overactivity of the nerves to the bladder can be modulated with this approach with great effectiveness.  Use of a nerve stimulator can lead to significant improvement or even complete resolution of urge incontinence.

Mid-Urethral Sling

mid-urethral-slingUrinary incontinence may be considered a common health issue among women, especially after giving birth, but if you suffer from leakage or the sudden loss of urine, you do not have to accept it as a part of womanhood. There are numerous treatments available depending on the cause and the dedicated urologists at Comprehensive Urology can help you find the solution you need to regain control of your life. Our team believes in working with each patient to create a custom treatment plan that works for each patient’s specific needs and concerns.

If you experience stress incontinence, which means that certain activities or movements cause urine leakage, such as laughing, jogging, or coughing, a potential treatment option may be a mid-urethral sling, also known as a pubovaginal sling. To learn whether this option is right for you, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Call us today at (310) 499-2756 or make an appointment online.

What is a Mid-Urethral Sling? 

One of the most common surgical treatments for stress urinary incontinence in women is a mid-urethral sling, which is essentially a method of supporting the urethra to prevent unexpected urine leakage. The sling is typically made of synthetic mesh, but in some cases, tissue taken from the abdomen or thigh may be used. The sling may be placed at varying points along the urethra to help with urine retention, such as directly under the bladder neck where the urethra leaves the bladder.

What to Expect During a Urethral Sling Procedure

A urethral sling procedure is typically minimally invasive and takes no more than 30 minutes to an hour. After light anesthesia takes affect, the surgeon will make very small incisions in the vaginal area in order to place the sling around the urethra, before closing the incisions with bandages. A urethral sling procedure is highly effective and is performed as an outpatient procedure.

Many patients see immediate results after the procedure, although some may need to wait a few days to a few weeks for full results. Following the procedures, patients can typically return to normal activities within two to four weeks.

Possible Risks and Complications

It is important to note that a urethral sling may not be an ideal treatment for every woman, as with most surgical operations, there are possible risks and complications that may occur. It is crucial to work with a skilled urologist who has your best interests in mind and will carefully assess and explain the best treatment options for you. Potential risks following a mid-urethral sling operation include pain, inflammation, sling erosion, or difficulty urinating. 

If you or someone you care about is suffering from stress incontinence or other urinary issues, do not put off speaking with an experienced and compassionate urologist. At Comprehensive Urology, we take the time to understand each patient’s unique situation and work to find the least invasive and most effective treatment for their condition.

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Medications

incontinence-medicationIf you’ve experienced urinary incontinence, or difficulty controlling your bladder, on more than one occasion, resulting in accidents or embarrassing situations, it is possible to find relief with certain medications. The understanding and highly trained urologists at Comprehensive Urology in Beverly Hills have extensive experience treating female urinary incontinence. Every patient is unique and our team strives to find the best treatment option for every patient’s individual needs and circumstances. To learn about effective medications for female incontinence, call our office at (310) 499-2756 today!

Which Medications Treat Female Urinary Issues?

There are numerous medications on the market designed to treat urinary incontinence, but it is important to discuss your options with a reliable urologist first to determine which medication is best for your condition. The type of medication will depend on the cause and type of urinary condition that you experience, as well as your overall health.

The most common medications for urge incontinence in women are anticholinergic or anti-spasmodic medications, which help prevent spasms of the bladder muscles as well improve bladder capacity. These medications include Tolterodine, Oxybutynin, Propantheline, Flavoxate hydrochloride, or Dicyclomine Hydrochloride. 

One of the newest medications for treating urinary incontinence in women is Botox injections. When injected into the bladder muscles, this neuromodulator relaxes the bladder muscles and reduces the spasms that cause leakage or the sudden urge to urinate. Botox can provide up to three months of relief from incontinence and is often prescribed when other medications fail.

Women who suffer from stress incontinence, which occurs when actions or activities put pressure on the bladder and cause leakage, may not be eligible for medications. Stress incontinence may be improved with physical exercises, such as Kegel exercises. In some cases

Additional Treatment Options

In many cases, medications may be prescribed for urinary incontinence in addition to a number of conservative treatment options, such as:

  • Lifestyle Modification – Weight loss, scheduling fluid intake, and avoiding caffeine or alcoholic drinks can reduce incontinence issues.
  • Exercise – Kegel exercises, which help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, can provide better bladder control.
  • Bladder Training – Scheduling when you go to the restroom and then gradually increasing the amount of time between restroom visits can retrain your bladder into retaining fluid for longer periods.

Every patient can successfully manage urinary incontinence and significantly reduce the number of accidents with the careful treatment of the incontinence experts at Comprehensive Urology. 

When urinary incontinence becomes even an occasional accident, do not wait to schedule an appointment with a skilled urologist. Female urinary issues can be successfully treated with the expert care of the experienced urologists at Comprehensive Urology. Botox and other medications can be highly effective for many women who suffer from overactive bladders or urge incontinence. To find the best solution for your specific needs or to get a second opinion, please schedule an initial consultation with our Los Angeles urologists by calling (310) 499-2756.

Vaginal Atrophy

Los Angeles Vaginal Atrophy TreatmentVaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis is the painful inflammation of the vagina as a result of the tissues becoming thin and shrinking, causing decreased lubrication, soreness, and itchiness. The condition is most often caused by a decrease in estrogen, such as after menopause or while breastfeeding. In addition to being irritating, vaginal atrophy can significantly increase a woman’s risk of chronic vaginal infections, as well as urinary tract infections.

The condition affects up to 40 percent of postmenopausal women, according to the American Association of Family Physicians, and yet, many of these women do not seek treatment. If you or a loved one is suffering from vaginal atrophy, there are numerous treatment options available to alleviate the symptoms of atrophic vaginitis, significantly improve quality of life, and prevent additional urologic conditions. At Comprehensive Urology, our team of skilled urologists can provide the evaluation and care you or your loved one needs and deserves.

What Causes Atrophic Vaginitis?

The main cause of atrophic vaginitis is a decline in the reproductive hormone estrogen, which results in the vaginal tissues becoming thin, fragile, dry, and less elastic. Women frequently experience hormonal fluctuations throughout their lives, but the most common periods in which estrogen levels drop low enough to cause vaginal atrophy include:

  • Following chemotherapy sessions
  • Following hormone replacement therapy for breast cancer treatment
  • While breastfeeding
  • During the post-partum period
  • After the removal of ovaries
  • Following pelvic radiation therapy

Additional risk factors associated with vaginal atrophy include smoking cigarettes or taking certain medications to decrease estrogen levels or treat endometriosis, breast cancer, fibroids, or infertility, such as Danocrine, Lupron, or Synarel. Women who have never given birth vaginally are also at a higher risk of developing vaginal atrophy.

Possible conditions that may be confused for atrophic vaginitis include allergic reactions to spermicides, lubricants, perfumes, or panty liners, as well as irritation caused by tight-fitting clothing or perineal pads. Other similar conditions include the fungal infection candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis, or trichomoniasis.

If you suspect that you may have atrophic vaginitis, or a similar issue, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with the experienced and compassionate urologists at Comprehensive Urology.

Symptoms of Vaginal Atrophy

Thinning of the vaginal walls and tissues can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Dryness
  • Burning sensations
  • Itchiness
  • Frequent urination
  • Redness
  • Stress incontinence
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pain or discomfort during intercourse
  • Unusual bleeding or spotting

Other physical symptoms include loss of public hair, decreased elasticity, dryness of labia, fusion of the labia minora, turgor of the skin (dehydration), vulvar lesions, or pelvic organ prolapse.

Treating Vaginal Atrophy

Prior to treatment, the urologists at Comprehensive Urology will determine the exact cause of the symptoms, such as a decrease in estrogen, an infection, or allergic reaction. One of the most common and effective treatments for atrophic vaginitis is hormone replacement therapy which can be administered either topically or orally.

Topical estrogen is available via a vaginal ring, cream, or tablet. Each of these topical treatments can be inserted into the upper part of the vagina where it can be absorbed into the tissue and prevent too much of the hormone from becoming absorbed into the bloodstream. These transvaginal delivery methods are often prescribed as they have a lower risk of endometrial cancer. The dosages are and length of topical estrogen replacement therapy will depend on the patient as well as the method.

Oral estrogen replacement therapy
can relieve the symptoms of vaginal atrophy and menopause, however, prolonged use of this method has been found to increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer or heart attack when combined with the hormone progestin.

Mild cases of vaginal atrophy may be successfully treated with over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers or water-based lubricants. Water-soluble lubricants are particularly helpful during sexual intercourse. Women should avoid products with petroleum jelly or other oils as they may increase the risk of infection, damage diaphragms, or dissolve latex condoms.

Regular exercise and sexual activity
are recommended as well to help increase blood flow, elasticity, and natural moisture, as well as reduce symptoms such as dryness or burning.

Every patient is unique and the compassionate, experienced team at Comprehensive Urology strive to find the most effective, personalized treatment plan to suit each patient’s needs and goals. For the best possible outcome, please do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with us.

Is it Possible to Prevent Vaginal Atrophy?

While atrophic vaginitis is common among post-menopausal women, it is not necessarily a foregone conclusion. There are certain steps that women can take to help prevent the condition from occurring after menopause or during other periods of decreased estrogen production. In addition to medication and hormone therapy, many women can prevent or significantly reduce the symptoms of vaginal atrophy with the following lifestyle habits:

  • Avoid smoking, which can reduce estrogen, impair blood circulation, and cause dryness
  • Regular sexual activity helps improve blood flow and overall function
  • Kegel exercises can also improve blood flow and encourage lubrication
  • Regular use of a pH balanced feminine moisturizer

To learn more about what treatments are right for your vaginal atrophy, contact us today.

Percutaneous Tibial Nerve Stimulation (PTNS)

percutaneous-tibialIf you have been living with an overactive bladder, there are numerous treatment options available to help you regain control once more. When conservative methods, such as physical therapy, activity modification, and medications fail, a therapy treatment known as percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) may be the answer. This form of neuromodulation is administered much like acupuncture and does not require surgery.

What is PTNS?

Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation uses mild electrical pulses to stimulate the nerves in the sacral plexus from the posterior tibial nerve, which is located in the ankle. The tibial nerve travels up the leg to the sacral plexus, which is responsible for regulating the bladder and pelvic floor muscles. Neuromodulation can effectively strengthen and normalize nerve function.

In order to stimulate the nerve, a small needle-thin electrode is inserted in the ankle and connected to a battery stimulator that delivers mild pulses for at least 30 minutes. Most patients describe the sensation of the treatment as tingling or pulsing. In many cases, the electrical impulse also stimulates an involuntary toe flex or extension of the foot.

How Many Sessions Will I Need?

Patients initially undergo a series of 12 treatment sessions that are scheduled every seven days. If your body responds well to the sessions, you may need only one session a month to help maintain your results. Patients typically see results within five to seven weeks of regular treatment. The majority of individuals who respond to PTNS see significant improvement in nerve function after the initial 12 sessions.

Who is Eligible for PTNS?

PTNS has been approved for patients who suffer from an overactive bladder and experience urge incontinence and leakage. Unfortunately, PTNS is not recommended for patients who have implantable defibrillators or pacemakers, which may interfere with tibial nerve stimulation. It is also not recommended for patients who suffer from nerve damage or excessive bleeding, as well as those who are pregnant or trying to becoming pregnant during the treatment sessions.

Every patient has unique needs and concerns. The expert urologists at Comprehensive Urology take the time to understand each patient’s condition and goals in order to work toward an effective solution. In many cases, a combination of exercise, diet adjustments, bladder retraining, and PTNS can provide the relief a patient needs, however, it is important to work with an experienced urologist to find the best option for your unique health needs.

Female Incontinence BOTOX

Los Angeles Female Incontinence BotoxBotox is well-known for its use in cosmetic treatments for smoothing out wrinkles and fine lines, but it is also highly effective at treating a wide range of medical conditions, including urinary incontinence. Many women who suffer from bladder leakage as a result of overactive bladder muscles are able to regain control once again thanks to the temporary muscle relaxing effects of Botulinum A toxin.

When administered by a board-certified urologist, Botox can help women overcome the embarrassment, inconvenience, and health risks of urinary incontinence with just a series of injections. The team at Comprehensive Urology are highly trained and experienced at treating urinary issues with the latest and most effective treatments available and strive to help each and every patient find the control, independence, and confidence they deserve once again.

How Does Botox treat Female Incontinence?

Botox is a neuromodulator, which means that it can safely block nerve communication between the bladder and the bladder muscles (detrusor muscle)  for a series of months without damaging the nerve tissue. When used to block nerve signals to the detrusor muscle, Botox can effectively eliminate bladder spasms that may cause urinary leakage or the sudden urge to urinate without any warning.

Overactive bladder or bladder spasticity often occurs in older women, or women who may have suffered nerve damage as a result of childbirth or trauma. Botox can provide six to eight months of relief and may be re-injected once the effects have worn off and have proven to be successful. An additional benefit of detrusor muscle Botox injections is that patients typically experience an increase in bladder capacity once the muscles no longer spasm or contract involuntarily.

What is the Bladder Botox Procedure?

Botox bladder treatments can be safely performed as an outpatient procedure in which the urologist will insert a catheter through the urethra to reach the bladder. A local anesthetic will be flushed into the bladder to help prevent discomfort. A cytoscope is then passed through the catheter into the bladder where several injections are strategically placed into the detrusor muscle to effectively decrease muscle contractions. Patients may not experience the benefits of Botox injections until at least a week after the treatment and full results may take up to two weeks.

As an outpatient procedure, patients can typically return home the same day as the injections and may return to normal activities. It is not uncommon for women to notice blood in their urine a day or two after the injections, however, the side effect should disappear on its own.

What are the Risks of Botox for Bladder Issues?

Botox is clinically proven to be effective at treating the symptoms of overactive bladder and other urinary conditions, however, as with any medical procedures, there is a degree of risk. Fortunately, the side effects of bladder Botox are rare and relatively minor, but may include:

  • Difficulty completely emptying bladder
  • Urinary retention
  • Use of catheter during the first few weeks to fully empty bladder
  • Increased risk of infection

While the risks are rare, it is important to only undergo treatment for bladder issues from a highly experienced urologist who is experienced at treating urological issues, particularly those involving pelvic muscles.

Am I Eligible for Bladder Botox?

Botox injections are FDA approved for patients who have had little to no success treating urinary incontinence with traditional or conservative treatments. Behavioral interventions or oral medications are typically the first line of treatment. Botox may be an ideal treatment option for patients who:

  • Are comfortable with self-catheterization (which may be necessary for a short period)
  • Experience bladder leakage as a result of involuntary muscle spasms
  • Urinate eight or more time a day, two or more times a night
  • Have had no success with non-medical treatments, such as kegels, bladder training, or fluid management
  • Have suffered a neurological condition that impacts bladder control, such as multiple sclerosis

If you or someone you care about may be a candidate for Botox, the results are typically dramatic and may result in improved urinary function even after the effect of the injections have worn off. The American Urological Association has even reported that patients may experience up to a 50 percent drop in daily urinary incontinence incidents.

Who is Not Eligible for Botox for Incontinence?

Botox bladder injections are not recommended for patients who suffer from certain neuromuscular disease, such as myasthenia gravis, or are currently undergoing treatments that block neuromuscular junction, which may result in widespread or prolonged muscle weakness. The injections are also not beneficial for patients who suffer from stress incontinence, such as urinary leakage when sneezing or coughing, or cannot empty their bladder on their own. Patients who are currently suffering from a urinary track infection will have to wait until the infection has fully cleared before undergoing the Botox procedure.

InterStim System for Women

Stage-1-HRIf you struggle with controlling your bladder on a daily basis and lifestyle adjustments or medication haven’t been effective, you may find the relief you need with the InterStim system for women. InterStim is a medical device used for sacral nerve stimulation, which allows you to control your bladder function more effectively. The InterStim system has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because it has helped millions of patients across the world. 

To learn more about InterStim and whether it is an ideal treatment option for you, please do not hesitate to contact the skilled, compassionate urologists at Comprehensive Urology. Our team understand how difficult and frustrating urinary incontinence can be and we are dedicated to helping each and every patient find the best solution available. Call us at (310) 499-2756 or make an appointment online.

What is InterStim?

The InterStim Therapy system is essentially a small electrical device that stimulates the sacral nerves in the lower back that control bladder function. The device is implanted just above the tail bone where it can send very mild electrical pulses to the sacral nerves using an external stimulation device, allowing the patient control over when to urinate. The InterStim can provide the following benefits:

  • Reducing or eliminating the need for catheters
  • Limiting urgency-frequency episodes
  • Alleviating sensations of suddenly needing to urinate
  • Improving nerve communication between the bladder and brain

Am I a Good Candidate for InterStim?

Sacral nerve stimulation may be an effective treatment option if you suffer from an overactive bladder, urinary retention issues, urge incontinence, or urgency-frequency. The InterStim system is not recommended for patients diagnosed with stress incontinence or urinary obstructions. However, it is crucial to discuss your options with an experienced urology who can thoroughly examine your specific situation and determine a personalized treatment plan.

How is the InterStim Implanted?

The InterStim device can be safely implanted during a minimally invasive surgical procedure. First, a temporary electrode or lead is implanted in the lower back or abdomen with an external wire that exits the body and attaches to a test stimulator. The temporary system is used to test how well your body responds to the neurostimulation. You will have up to a week to test the system before moving forward with the long-term lead and neurostimulator. 

If the test is a success, the external wire will be removed and the neurostimulator will be placed under the skin and attached to the electrode, which will be operated by a handheld device that can control the level of stimulation. Most patients describe using the InterStim system as feeling like a tingling or vibrating sensation. When the device is turned on, it sends electrical signals to the nerves that control bladder function, allowing the patient to trigger urination when ready.

It can be frustrating and limiting to live with female urinary incontinence, however, there are many treatment options available that can be customized to suit each individual’s needs. You can gain control and independence once again with the help of the skilled physicians at Comprehensive Urology in Los Angeles. To learn more about the InterStim neurostimulator system and whether it is the best treatment option for your condition, please schedule a consultation today!

Professional Advice from a Los Angeles Urologist

Whether you are considering nonsurgical or surgical treatment to cure stress incontinence, it is best to consult with an experienced incontinence doctor. The team of board-certified urologists at Comprehensive Urology will carefully examine your present condition and help you decide with method is best for you. Schedule an appointment by calling (310) 499-2756.

Next, read about Male Incontinence.

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