If a relative, or worse, a doctor, has told you that loss of bladder control or bowel control is simply a normal part of life or a normal part of aging, it’s time to examine the facts. Loss of bladder and bowel control is not normal. And today, there is a much better understanding of the science and the reasons why a person may lose control of the bowels or bladder. What’s more, there are excellent therapies to restore bladder and bowel control. In fact, in most cases, bladder leakage and bowel leakage can be resolved completely, even in elderly individuals, without surgery and without chronic daily medication.
Why Bladder or Bowel Leakage Isn’t Normal
First, let’s explain why bladder or bowel leakage is not normal, and why you should not put up with it. There are millions of people who live into advanced age – even past 100 years old – with normal bowel and bladder control. So, it’s entirely possible that this portion of the complex and amazing human body can continue to last and work well for over 100 years. The problem is that there are certain conditions in life that damage the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor, causing loss of bowel and bladder control. One of these is simple aging, although for most people aging alone is not enough to cause bladder or bowel leakage. A second common factor is pregnancy, and the associated childbirth process. The developing baby descends in the pelvis and places pressure on the tissues, damaging the nerves that conduct normal signaling to the pelvic floor muscles. During delivery there is tearing of the muscle tissues and more stretching and damaging of the nerves. All of this leads to an increased risk of incontinence.
For both men and women, there are numerous additional factors including radiation, pelvic and colorectal surgical interventions, spinal cord injuries, medical conditions affecting the nerves, and a host of other factors that can impair the successful function of the nerves and muscles that make up the pelvic floor.
For many people the problem is frustrating, embarrassing, and a big reason why outings become less frequent and social interactions are curtailed. A person begins wearing liners and then pads and eventually diapers, with clean ups and changes of clothing becoming a part of daily life. But it does not have to be that way.
A Resolution for Incontinence
Once the leakage has started to occur, it’s time to take steps to evaluate and treat it so the control can be restored. Usually, a simple office evaluation with a specialist is a good start, and the initial strategy involves checking the urine with urinalysis, potentially a colonoscopy if one has not been done, and beginning a program of pelvic floor exercises.
At the Continence Center at Sasse Surgical in Reno, the cornerstone therapy involves restoring the normal nerve and muscular function of the pelvic floor with an exercise program combined with a minimally invasive technology that modulates the nerve signaling using a tiny pacemaker-like device. This strategy produces over 90% success in completely restoring bowel and bladder continence while avoiding surgery, mesh, slings, and daily medications.
If you’d like to learn more about whether this approach to resolving incontinence is an option for you, contact the incontinence team at Sasse Surgical today.