Offering Hope for Women with Incontinence

April 03, 2014

Over the past 10 years, many advancements have been made in the treatment of incontinence, offering solutions to women who suffer from the condition.

Urinary incontinence affects 15 percent to 50 percent of women of all ages. It can severely affect a woman’s quality of life, preventing her from enjoying activities with family and friends.

“When patients come to my office, my goal is to get them completely dry,” says Jennifer Mehdizadeh, M.D., a urologist at Providence Tarzana Medical Center.

At her office, Dr. Mehdizadeh can conduct a comprehensive evaluation, including diagnostic tests to determine the etiology of the incontinence, as there are many forms of urinary leakage, including stress, urge, overflow, functional and mixed incontinence. Each requires a different kind of treatment, some simple exercises and diet modification or simple in-office or outpatient procedures.

For women who do not improve with these conservative procedures, other minimally invasive surgical options are available including a “suburethral sling,” which is a mesh hammock placed under the urethra near the bladder neck to add support and help close the sphincter muscles before reaching the toilet.

Dr. Mehdizadeh is able to provide other options including neuromodulation that can help get bladder urgency under control. The two methods for modifying bladder nerve activity and reducing urgency are via the sacral nerves near the tailbone or the tibial nerve in the ankle. The sacral stimulator involves the placement of a small lead into the tailbone attached to a battery placed in the buttocks which can be programmed to optimize stimulation. The tibial nerve stimulator involves weekly offi ce visits for six to 12 weeks, during which the bladder nerves are stimulated via the nerves in the ankle.

“The neuromodulation treatments have drastically improved the lives of many patients who thought they had no other options. Patients should seek out specialists like me who are specially trained to provide these treatments when conservative therapies have failed,” says Dr. Mehdizadeh. “There are more options available today than ever before, so there’s no reason for women to endure incontinence as a way of life.”