Fri | Dec 8, 2023

Treating urinary incontinence

Published:Wednesday | September 6, 2023 | 12:07 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer

URINARY INCONTINENCE is the loss of bladder control. The two most common types of urinary incontinence that affect women are stress incontinence and urge incontinence, also called overactive bladder.

Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of ageing, and it can be treated.

According to Dr Charles Rockhead, gynaecologist and founding doctor at Amadeo Medical Group, urine is made by the kidneys and stored in the bladder and the bladder muscles tighten when you need to urinate. “When the bladder muscles tighten, urine is forced out of your bladder through a tube called the urethra. At the same time, sphincter muscles around the urethra relax to let the urine out of your body,” Dr Rockhead said.

Incontinence, he said, can happen when the bladder muscles suddenly tighten and the sphincter muscles are not strong enough to pinch the urethra shut. “This causes a sudden, strong urge to urinate that you may not be able to control. Pressure caused by laughing, sneezing, or exercising can cause you to leak urine,” Dr Rockhead said.

Urinary incontinence may also happen, he said, if there is a problem with the nerves that control the bladder muscles and urethra. Urinary incontinence can mean you leak a small amount of urine or release a lot of urine all at once.

Urinary incontinence affects twice as many women as men. This is because reproductive health events unique to women, like pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, affect the bladder, urethra, and other muscles that support these organs.

“As many as four in 10 women get urinary incontinence during pregnancy. During pregnancy, as your unborn baby grows, he or she pushes down on your bladder, urethra, and pelvic floor muscles. Over time, this pressure may weaken the pelvic floor muscles and lead to leaks or problems passing urine,” Dr Rockhead said.

Problems during labour and childbirth, especially vaginal birth, can weaken pelvic floor muscles and damage the nerves that control the bladder.

“Most problems with bladder control that happen as a result of labour and delivery go away after the muscles have had some time to heal. However, there are cases in which the problem still persists,” Dr Rockhead said.

Urinary incontinence can happen to women at any age, but it is more common in older women. This is probably because of hormonal changes during menopause. More than four in 10 women 65 and older have urinary incontinence.

Initially, some simple measures can help improve symptoms of urinary incontinence. These may include lifestyle changes such as losing weight and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol, pelvic floor exercises where you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing the bladder, training where you learn ways to wait longer between needing to urinate and passing urine.

Dr Rockhead also recommends the EMSELLA technology treatment, a breakthrough treatment for incontinence and confidence. This unique technology revolutionises women’s intimate health and wellness by providing those suffering from incontinence with a completely non-invasive option.

“EMSELLA utilises electromagnetic energy to deliver thousands of supramaximal pelvic floor muscle contractions in a single session. These contractions re-educate the muscles of incontinent patients. These stronger pelvic floor muscles restore continence and the confidence to enjoy normal daily activities without fear of losing bladder control,” Dr Rockhead said.

During each 30-minute session you sit comfortably on the Emsella chair while it generates thousands of supramaximal pelvic floor muscle contractions. Each session is equivalent to doing 11,000 pelvic floor exercises but without the hard work.

“The procedure is non-invasive, and you remain fully clothed throughout. No drugs are required and the most you will feel is a slight tingling during the treatment. With no recovery time needed, you can leave immediately after each session and resume normal daily activity,” Dr Rockhead said.

The majority of people need a course of six sessions over a period of three weeks to see optimum results, with most people seeing and feeling results after just two or three treatment sessions. However, you are advised not to stop your course of treatment even after you are seeing results, as you will have to restart the course in its entirety.

“Most people see and feel results after just two or three treatment sessions. Mild signs and sensations may be noticeable after your first session, but it will take several sessions before you begin to observe the full effect on your symptoms,” Dr Rockhead said.

Treatment sessions are approximately 30 minutes long, and the procedure is not at all painful. You can either bring a friend or family member along to chat to during the treatment or read a book or magazine if you would prefer.

During treatment, some patients feel the tensing and relaxing of the pelvic floor muscles which has been described as a similar feeling to doing Kegel exercises.

The Emsella treatment is offered in Jamaica by Dr Rockhead and his team at Amadeo Medical Group. For more information you can contact: 876-618-0552; 876-361-2355 or 876-428-5504.