Bladder and bowel accidents are certainly no fun for anyone—and both are symptoms of incontinence—but when are they an indication of a more serious problem? How can a person know if their incontinence symptoms are serious? The primary answer is that they become serious when they affect you and your quality of life. The truth is, incontinence is not something that a person has to accept.
When Is Incontinence Considered a Serious Problem?
Incontinence is usually the result of a weakening of the muscles and nerve signaling of the pelvic floor, and it gets worse over time. Incontinence can sometimes be related to other serious medical conditions, such as bladder tumors or diabetes, so it is important to discuss any symptoms you might be experiencing with your doctor. In most cases, a urinalysis helps a doctor point you in the right direction and determine if further treatment or investigations are required. But the most important determining factor in whether incontinence has become a serious problem is you and your quality of life.
Treating the bowel or bladder leakage should be the top priority when it is impairing a person’s quality of life. Waking up in the night multiple times with overactive bladder can lead to loss of sleep, and decreased function and energy during the day. Accidents lead to embarrassment and curtailing important social participation. Buying diapers and constantly changing them is expensive and cumbersome. None of these are things that a person should continue living with because treatment has become simpler, safer, and far more effective than in years past.
Signs & Symptoms to Look For
There are people who consider their incontinence to be a minor inconvenience, and they prefer to just put up with it. I am thinking of patients I have seen over the years who have a small amount of stress incontinence with jumping, laughing, or coughing, but not to the extent that it interferes with their life. Over the years, however, that same person might slowly begin to find they are having to change their daily activities and wear a pad. At that point, most people would consider it a serious enough problem to warrant treatment, particularly when the treatments available are so effective.
If you or your loved one is staying home more and limiting social activities, using pads and diapers, and always needs to carry a change of underwear and clothes, then incontinence is clearly a serious problem warranting treatment. The treatment starts with a simple medical evaluation and urinalysis. Exercise therapy programs and medications may offer some improvement. Coaching about fluid intake and medication may also help. The cornerstone treatment at The Continence Center here in Reno, Nevada, involves a noninvasive, pacemaking technology known as sacral neuromodulation. This involves the insertion of a small pacemaker that restores the sphincters and pelvic floor function, much like a cardiac pacemaker restores the normal heartbeat. With a success rate above 90%, people with incontinence can return to normal activities and stop relying on pads and diapers. We have a lengthy list of very happy patients who have benefited greatly from incontinence treatment. If you’d like to be one of them, contact the Nevada Surgical team today to learn more.